We are pleased to welcome the Cleveland Council on World Affairs’ Global Ambassadors 2023-2024 Cohort.
CCWA’s Global Ambassadors program invites emerging leaders in Northeast Ohio on a transformative journey to think more globally and to develop a broader vision for the future of our city. The program combines CCWA’s interactive global leadership course (LEADS) with an international study tour to Finland and Spain to explore business, social, and policy issues that resonate with Northeast Ohio’s emerging professional leaders.
We are pleased to introduce the inaugural cohort: Bishara Addison, Patrycja Ajdukiewicz, Anibelky Almanzar, Michael Bustamante, Elizabeth Cusma, Samira Malone, Annie Pease, and Jonathan Steirer.
Bishara Addison is the Director of Workforce Innovation at the Fund for Our Economic Future, leading talent development initiatives in support of the Fund’s agenda to achieve equitable economic growth. Bishara’s work focuses on convening and aligning regional and national partners to support innovative solutions related to labor market participation and job quality. As a part of her role, she also serves as the Northeast Ohio site director for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. Before joining the Fund in 2021, Bishara managed the policy and advocacy agenda for Towards Employment, was an executive fellow and project manager for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and was engaged in a statewide advocacy effort to shape policies around collateral sanctions before that. In 2022, Bishara was appointed to complete the term as State Representative for Ohio House District 9 when it became vacant, and through this role, she worked to raise awareness and engage stakeholders on maternal health, education, workforce development, and economic development issues outside of her time at the Fund. She is currently appointed to the Adult Drug and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County, serves as a member of the Cleveland Foundation’s African American Philanthropy Committee, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency Community Advisory Council and the Cuyahoga County Executive Transition Team. Bishara earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from The George Washington University in 2010 and a master’s in policy management from Georgetown University in 2020 through the National Urban Fellowship.
Patrycja (Patty) Ajdukiewicz serves as Senior Director of Small Business Services & Capital at JumpStart. Patty leads the small business services team, including internal and external resources, that provide services, capital, and connections to JumpStart’s small business clients. This includes advisory assistance, mentoring, small business capital support, and access to critical programming and resources to support entrepreneurs along their journey. Prior to joining JumpStart, Patty was a Development Finance Analyst at City of Cleveland’s Economic Development Department, where she oversaw the development of the small business retail incubator in Glenville. Beforehand, as a relationship manager at the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), she coached small business entrepreneurs seeking funding to expand or start their businesses that resulted in $1.5M in micro-loans to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Patty is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional and has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Cleveland State University.
Dr. Anibelky Almanzar is an internal medicine resident at Case Western Reserve University/MetroHealth Hospital. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, she moved to New York City at the age of 17 and subsequently completed her BA in biology at the City University of New York/Hunter College. As a first-generation student and immigrant, she has been an advocate for the Hispanic community serving as mentor for multiple non-profit organizations. Her medical education at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) concentrated on serving the urban, underserved communities of Cleveland. During her time at NEOMED, she won multiple scholarships and awards including Diversity Leader and Community Builder awards for her consistent efforts in improving the access to care and overall health of the Spanish-speaking population. She also served as the Latino Medical Student Association NEOMED chapter co-president, where she led numerous medical Spanish workshops for students and faculty. In addition to her medical degree, Anibelky completed a master’s degree in medical ethics and humanities at NEOMED and her thesis concentrated on the ethical, clinical, and cultural implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Latino community. Anibelky is very passionate about medical education, diversity, equity, and inclusion and hopes to dedicate her career to improving these areas in healthcare.
Michael Bustamante is a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategist, international public speaker, and social entrepreneur in the travel and tourism space. Michael has more than a decade of progressive experience working at non-profit and community-based organizations, government offices, and higher education institutions. Presently, he serves as the Director of Diversity and Strategic Initiatives in the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Engagement at Case Western Reserve University. Beyond his professional endeavors, a few of his international experiences include presenting at a Harvard World Model United Nations Conference in The Netherlands, studying intercultural communication in Costa Rica, and securing a Saudi Arabian Exchange Fellowship sponsored by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. A first-generation university graduate, Michael possesses a master’s degree in Cross-Cultural Studies and a Master of Public Administration degree from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. He holds certificates in mediation, women’s studies, international studies, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Elizabeth Cusma has been interested in migration and the social impacts of global movement from the youngest age. She was deeply influenced by her mother's role as a mediator and her father's role as a defense attorney. Protecting the interests of the most vulnerable, holding institutions and elected officials accountable, and explaining exploitative economic systems was common dinner table fodder. From Model UN, to Mock Trial, and taking every language class possible, Elizabeth continued this line of study at university and obtained a BA in Arabic language and literature, and an MA in immigration policy. Professionally this resulted in Elizabeth working as an immigration paralegal for two years, the program manager for 3 years at Global Cleveland, and now as Site Director at US Together, a mutual assistance immigrant support organization. Elizabeth has lived and worked across the US and in Morocco and Spain, and is currently exploring the new world of the block chain based internet known as web3. She is a dual Italian-American citizen with two amazing boys and a brilliant husband.
Samira Malone is the Executive Director of The Cleveland Tree Coalition, a collaborative of public, private, and community stakeholders partnered with the City of Cleveland to create a healthy, vibrant, sustainable, and equitable urban forest. Samira works to raise awareness of the critical need for a robust tree canopy in Cleveland and to generate financial support for the work of the Coalition. Her urban planner and environmental leader practice is rooted in racial and environmental restorative justice and holistic community development. Samira has her Master's degree in urban planning and development and her Bachelor's in urban and regional planning from Cleveland State University. She is also a proud graduate of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. In addition to her role as Executive Director, she serves as the elected chairwoman for the City of Cleveland Urban Forestry Commission (UFC). The purpose of UFC is to advise the Mayor and City Council on policies and regulations that will increase our neighborhoods' tree canopy and vibrancy. Samira takes pride in being a lifelong Cleveland resident and is active in numerous community organizations. She loves traveling, spending time in the Cleveland Metro Parks, exercising, and visiting with family and friends when she has free time.
Annie Pease (B.A. Political Science, M.R.P. City & Regional Planning) joined Cuyahoga County's administration in March 2023 as Senior Advisor on Transportation and Mobility. Her responsibilities include advising County leadership on transportation policy and guiding the County’s implementation of complete and green streets projects, a County-wide trail system, transit oriented development, and last mile connections to job centers. Prior to her role with Cuyahoga County, she worked for the City of Cleveland on the implementation of bikeway, trail and other transformational infrastructure projects. Annie had an integral role in the design and implementation of Cleveland's 2022 Complete & Green Streets ordinance as well as in Mayor Bibb's lakefront initiative, focused on creating a more accessible waterfront. Prior to her role with the City of Cleveland, Annie was the Director of Transportation at University Circle Incorporated, a non-profit neighborhood development corporation in Cleveland, Ohio. Her duties included leading district-wide Transportation Demand Management for 50,000 employees in University Circle focused on improved transportation communications, fundraising for active transportation projects and advocacy for improved road safety. Outside of work, Annie is a certified bicycle instructor through the League of American Bicyclists and leads confident urban cycling classes. She is a founding member of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Radical Adventure Riders (RAR), a bicycle group that centers gender inclusivity. Annie came to Cleveland after completing her Masters degree in City & Regional Planning from Cornell University and three years of community development work with the U.S. Peace Corps in Central Asia. She and her husband live with their young daughter in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood.
Jonathan Steirer serves as the Managing Director of the SDLE Research Center at Case Western Reserve University and the Program Manager for the ThinkEnergy Fellows, the Great Lake Energy Institute's premier student energy entrepreneurship program. Jonathan serves as the Vice President on the Board of Directors of Northwest Neighborhoods and is a member of Global Shapers Cleveland where he previously served as the Curator. Jonathan is a resident of the Cudell neighborhood of Cleveland with a keen interest in fair and equitable housing, youth climate organizing, and transportation solutions with an emphasis on biking, shared mobility, and public transit.