Our Board of Directors

Get to know the board a little better! We asked each of them a few questions and compiled the list below…

PS: Use the links below to navigate through the page if you’re looking for a specific person!

Ben Ko
General Manager, Kaleidoscope

Where do you come from? 

I grew up in Fairfield and tried to get out of southwest Ohio my whole life until I moved to Clifton to attend the University of Cincinnati and fell in love with the urban core. I now live in Walnut Hills and work downtown as a biomedical engineer at Kaleidoscope, a product development firm, where I lead design teams that create surgical procedures and medical devices for life-improving or -saving therapies. I consider myself incredibly lucky in that I truly love the medical device design work I get to do every day.

Why did you say “yes” to being on this board? What about DI’s work taps into your passion?

Kaleidoscope and Design Impact share office space, coffee addictions, and creative inspiration. I joined Kaleidoscope five years ago, and a strong factor in the decision was that its owners so fully share and invest in Design Impact’s mission of driving social change. I learned more and more about the passionate DI group, and I jumped at the opportunity to invest my own time to promote them, problem solve with them, and contribute to the community we all strive to improve.

What do you hope to bring to this board?

I share DI’s background in design process and my experience working through clients’ challenges translates into a different perspective on how to attack problems. I understand a consultancy’s lifeblood: balancing billable work with internal initiatives, all while maintaining the pipeline, and I hopes to have some hard-learned lessons to share. I strive to face any challenge with optimism, seeking to elevate rather than isolate team members.

Dawna Leggett
Owner, True Rest Float Spa

Where do you come from? 

I come from the American midwest. I was born in South Bend, Indiana and raised in a small suburb of Chicago, IL.

Why did you say “yes” to being on this board? What about DI’s work taps into your passion?

I said yes because I’m passionate about the social mobility of those more vulnerable in American society.  I support efforts to make the American Dream accessible to everyone.  My commitment shows in the fact that I’ve done research to this end in the social sector for over a decade and have used participatory research methodologies that elevate the voices and will of marginalized groups in my practice. I was also an employee at DI for three years and believe that DI shares and has shaped my philosophy.

What do you hope to bring to this board?

I hope to bring an emphasis on participatory design practices and a concern for balance, health, and wellness within the DI organization.  I am starting a business in the health and wellness industry this year and so I imagine my leadership in that industry will carry over to my board membership.

Kathie Maynard
Associate Dean for Education Innovations & Community Partnerships; College of Education, Criminal Justice, Human Services, & Information Technology, University of Cincinnati

Where do you come from? 

I am Appalachian; grew up in the coal region of Eastern Kentucky on the border of West Virginia. I am a first generation high school graduate and from a background of extreme poverty, but also from a robust familial network that taught me the power of relationship and community. I have lived in Cincinnati for the last 20 years and consider it home.

Why did you say “yes” to being on this board? What about DI’s work taps into your passion?

Design Impact brings power through process to very complex social change issues. They believe in the wisdom of lived experience and the possibility of creating change through community coming together. I believe that DI can help facilitate transformation for this city I call home.

What do you hope to bring to this board?

I bring connections to the University of Cincinnati, as UC leans more into its expanding role to support and drive better Urban Futures for the city of Cincinnati and the region.

Nickol Mora
Director of Programs, School Board School

Where do you come from? 

I come from the love and labor of Latina women and the friendship and education of servant leaders. I come from a belief that assets exist within all of us and are present right now in our own communities, and our work is to give way to them so we can create truly equitable systems.

Why did you say “yes” to being on this board? What about DI’s work taps into your passion?

I have followed Design Impact’s work throughout the years and have admired the holistic approach of creatively designing solutions with community at the core. As we continuously see and feel the impact of systemic oppression, it’s critical to center the leadership of those most closely impacted by inequities. My work for over a decade has been to create space for those voices to tap into their power and access decision-making spaces so that we can reimagine possibilities. I feel Design Impact is aligned to those experiences and is doing that work with great empathy and intention.

What do you hope to bring to this board?

I hope to bring support to the Design Impact team as they navigate complex challenges and hope my resources and networks can be beneficial toward creative solutions. I’ll bring a critical eye to ensure we’re considering representation at all levels, and an optimism through adaptive learning. Most of all I hope to be an active champion and partner that helps to further leverage this important work.

Tara Townsend
Vice President – Knowledge, Strategy and Impact, IFF

Where do you come from? 

I’m a proud 4th generation DC native who now lives in Chicago (after stints in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Cincinnati)

Why did you say “yes” to being on this board? What about DI’s work taps into your passion?

I’m a big DI fan and believe in the power of the work. DI’s work taps into my passion for supporting organizations become more intentional in their approach to creating social impact.

What do you hope to bring to this board?

I hope to bring my varied experience working with a multitude of organizations and passionate people who aspire to create meaningful social change.

Margy Waller
Senior Fellow, Topos Partnership

Where do you come from?

  • DC (born and lived there longest as an adult)
  • Parktown in the West End
  • Daughter of two artists and union members (Musicians Local 1)
  • Over-the-Rhine, in all its glory and pain
  • Legal Aid experience
  • The pace and demand for the excellence of high stakes politics and policy-making

Why did you say “yes” to being on this board? What about DI’s work taps into your passion?

  • Every time I interact with DI I learn something
  • The people who work there are ?
  • Belief in meeting people where they are in policy development/community building

What do you hope to bring to this board?

  • Communications knowledge, framing for good
  • My network
  • Commitment to creating community with art and artists

Ashlee Young
Vice President Policy and Strategic Initiatives, Urban League of Greater SW Ohio

Where do you come from?

I come from a mother who instilled in me at a young age the value of service and she continues to live and share that value with my daughter today.

What do you hope to bring to this board?

What I bring to the board is my passion for people and ability to embrace multiple perspectives in order to drive system change. I’m also a connector and an avid learner committed to supporting Design Impact in addressing complex social challenges.