Our Story

Workplace equity is for every industry. Join the movement.

Chinenye (“ChiChi”) Nkemere and Bethany Studenic are two very different women. ChiChi’s parents immigrated to the United States from Nigeria and built an impressive life in suburban Cleveland. Bethany is the second oldest of eight children from rural Northeast Ohio, with roots dating back to the 1700s.

Bethany and ChiChi met while working their dream jobs, but the experience was marred by pervasive workplace inequity.  Through this firsthand experience, they learned three key lessons:
 

  • The “open secret” of workplace harassment and trauma is a rarely researched problem, with a pernicious effect on the American workforce;

  • There is no singular organization to turn to when one has experienced workplace trauma;

  • There is a lack of interventions for employers and organizations aiming to proactively prevent and counteract structural workplace inequity and abuse.

Enlightened Solutions was created to support individuals navigate exclusionary systems in the workplace. Our success has led us to expand operations to include cutting-edge research and client-based inclusion-forward strategic planning for organizations.

Through a solutions-focused, combined qualitative and quantitative feedback model, we provide real-world and tailored answers for organizations and individuals alike interested in combating workplace inequity.  

Meet Our Staff

Enlightened Solutions implements a flattened hierarchy organizational structure.  We are proudly co-led by co-founders and democratize all decisions through this process. 

 

Successful employee investment begins through decentralized decision-making, creating a culture of resiliency, flexibility and intersectional participation.  We bring this customized and wide lens approach to each individual, each client and throughout our research.

012921_EnlightenedSolutions-83.jpg

Bethany Studenic

Co-Founder

Managing Director

Bethany holds her Bachelors in Social Work, Masters in Social Administration, and is a recently barred Juris Doctor. Bethany has over 10 years in community change experience, serving in a leadership role of highly visible social and research-based advocacy movements.

 

In addition, Bethany has worked with a variety of diverse populations through direct experience, including survivors of domestic violence and families experiencing poverty. She is an accomplished fundraiser, government relations professional, community strategist, former lobbyist, researcher and policy analysis expert.

012921_EnlightenedSolutions-49.jpg

Chinenye Nkemere

Co-Founder

Director of Strategy

Chinenye (ChiChi) is a strategic thinker. She has over 10 years of experience in community engagement, asset building and advocacy. She holds a Bachelors in Political Science and African Studies and African American Studies from The Ohio State University, with a focus on race and electoral politics.

 

She continued advocacy work as a Teach for America educator in Houston, Texas serving Title 1 middle school students and their families. In addition, ChiChi broadened her professional experience, consulting in the sphere of public safety. She remains dedicated to progressive and radically inclusive equity in all spaces and for all peoples.

IMG_4969.jpg

Larisa DaSilva

Project Manager

Larisa is a content producer who works on building strong relationships between organizations and their intended audiences. She received a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations, as well as a double minor in Graphic Design and Spanish from DePaul University.

 

As the proud daughter of first-generation immigrants, Larisa understands the value of equity in all spaces; she works to inspire genuine change and support for underrepresented communities through visual and creative communication. Her professional background is specialized in brand strategy, social media, identity design, photography, web design, and illustration. 

SDH Headshot1.jpg

Serena Draper Hendershot

Director of Stark County

Serena is the current Outreach Director of The Martin Center/3rd Street Community Church where she provides resources for vulnerable populations in Stark County. She graduated from Walsh University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science & History, and has been serving in the Ohio Army National Guard since 2015 as a Human Resource Specialist.

 

Serena is skilled working with survivors of sexual and emotional abuse and is a vibrant advocate for workforce development and racial justice in Ohio. 

selfie 2(k.mair).jpg

Kiliyah Mair

Communications & Data Analyst

Kiliyah Mair is a Junior at Baldwin Wallace University, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Diversity Studies. Kiliyah enjoys engaging in complex conversations regarding race and equity in public and private spaces. She deeply emphasizes the importance of language and strives to help people become more conscious of how influential their words can be.

 

Kiliyah aspires to pursue a career in Clinical Health Psychology to spread awareness about the long-term impact implicit biases and discrimination can have on the human body while simultaneously advocating for patients who feel unheard and unprotected.

012921_EnlightenedSolutions-213.jpg

Tait Manning

Research Asscociate

Tait is a high school senior who initially joined Enlightened Solutions through the Future Connections program at University Circle Inc. She enjoys reading, writing, computer coding and playing music. Tait is also is passionate about social justice and is considering studying Journalism, Communications, Sociology, Urban Studies, African American Studies (or a combination of all!) in the fall at an HBCU.

Tait's assisted on various projects in Summer 2020, including asset mapping of environmental justice organizations, and providing key insight to the 2020 Presidential Debate held in Cleveland, Ohio.

012921_EnlightenedSolutions-57.jpg

Akilah Porter

Board of Directors
Member

Akilah has more than a decade of experience in communications, specifically in marketing and journalism. She holds her Bachelor's Degree in Educational Studies from Kent State University.  Akilah is passionate about using her research, interviewing, innovative and interpersonal skills to establish and sustain an enlightened community.

012921_EnlightenedSolutions-307.jpg

Brittany Senger

Board of Directors

Treasurer

Brittany holds her Bachelor’s in Social Work and her Master’s in Social Administration and Social Work. Brittany is currently a Project Manager in Multi-Family Development for a local Community Development organization. Brittany is an adept writer, researcher, clinician, nonprofit administrator, and advocate.

012921_EnlightenedSolutions-354.jpg

Kathleen Brennan

Board of Directors

President

Kathleen is currently a Program Officer for Education at the Cleveland Foundation. Katie holds her Bachelor’s in Sociology and Master’s in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice. Katie is continuing advocate for social justice. She has worked on policing and legal issues, education, mentoring, and community issues.

Meet Our Board
012921_EnlightenedSolutions-326.jpg

Maryann Mathai

Board of Directors
Member

Maryann is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in private practice specializing in trauma-focused therapy. She holds her Bachelors in Psychology and Master’s in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness. She is passionate about the mental health of marginalized populations and has served as an advocate, counselor, and coordinator of clinical services at nonprofits across NY. She is dedicated to holding space for open conversations & destigmatizing mental health. 

012921_EnlightenedSolutions-331.jpg

Robert Studenic

Board of Directors

Secretary

Robert has over a decade of experience in software development. Robert holds his Bachelor’s in Computer Science and is focused on advancing technology by creating robust and easy to use applications for users. Robert is thrilled to lend his skills, gathered and honed in the private sector, to Enlightened Solutions in pursuit of more equitable workplaces.

DSC_0122.jpg

Sara Carnicom

Board of Directors

Vice President

Sara is a Research Analyst with a large higher education provider. Sara graduated from the University of Akron, first with her Bachelor's in Psychology and then with her Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Sara is an accomplished researcher and data analyst, leader of program evaluation, and designer of best practices.

Are you a non-traditional Board candidate? Are you interested in joining our Board? Contact us.