Dr. Jacklyn A. Chisholm, president and CEO of the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland has assembled a new leadership team to help realize a dynamic and focused vision for the nonprofit organization and Ohio’s largest community action agency. The Council’s overall mission is to serve the most vulnerable residents on a path to reach their full potential and its primary programs include Ohio’s largest Head Start program and numerous job readiness and placement programs.

“There is work to be done if we want to excel at helping Greater Cleveland residents grow and achieve,” said Dr. Chisholm. “Too many individuals and families are not a part of Cleveland’s current success and it’s more important than ever to be focused and strategic in our effort, our partnerships and our outreach to those who need our help. The Council invests in people, nurtures their success and transforms lives.”

To best serve Greater Cleveland residents on their path to self-sufficiency, the organization will take on key initiatives in the coming months including a strategic planning process, rethinking its mission and branding, strengthening existing programs and services and creating new partnerships and innovative ways to assist individuals and families who want to live a better life but do not necessarily know how to take the first step.

The Council for Economic Opportunities leadership team:

Dr. Thea Wilson is the Vice President for Children and Families at the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland. Dr. Wilson is responsible for managing the operations of Early Head Start, Head Start and Parental Involvement programs.

Dr. Wilson has nearly 40 years of early childhood development experience in a public school system and spent 11 years in administration. She has 13 years of experience teaching college level courses as well as creating workshops and facilitating training for parents, teachers and other professionals. Dr. Wilson served as the Chair of Early Childhood at The Music Settlement — a five-star, arts-based, early childhood education program in Cleveland. Immediately prior, Dr. Wilson served as the Executive Director of the Office of Early Childhood – Pre-K to Third Grade – for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Dr. Wilson received her Doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Sarasota (Argosy University). She also holds a Master of Science in Reading Education from John Carroll University and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Baldwin Wallace College. Dr. Wilson has been on various Boards including Cuyahoga Community College Early Childhood Advisory Board and Ohio Association for the Education of the Young Child Duffy Liturgical Ensemble. She has been the Person of the Week in South Euclid, Black Teacher of the Year, Most Influential Teacher, and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. She has been published in numerous education magazines. Dr. Wilson is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Doug Bennett is the Vice President of External Affairs and is focusing on development, integration and implementation of a broad range of public relations activities relative to the strategic direction of the organization.

Doug led external affairs and government relations in the healthcare, telecommunications and banking industries. He has worked with Gateway Health, Medical Mutual and was at the helm of Leadership 18, a membership association located in Washington D.C. representing the largest health and human service organizations in the United States. Prior to his time in D.C., Doug was Director of External Affairs at AT&T and Assistant Vice President for Commercial Lending at National City Bank.

Doug was inducted into the Kaleidoscope 40 Under 40 in June of 1999. In 2005, he was selected as an American Marshall Fellow-German Marshall Fund of the United States, which builds a global network of leaders understanding international affairs. He has served on many civic and community organizations. His past involvement includes the following Boards: President of the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce, the City Club of Cleveland, The United Black Fund, Treasurer- the Diversity Center and the Cleveland Leadership Center. He served as a Mayoral Appointee on the Planning and Zoning and Civil Service Commissions for the City of Beachwood.

Doug graduated from Hampton University and is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Blacks in Management. In addition, he served on several committees including the visiting Committee for Cleveland State University and helped organize local events for additional community organizations.

Margaret Thresher is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications and is responsible for brand development, internal and external communications and media relations.

Margaret spent nearly eight years as Director of Communications for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and was responsible for strategic planning, public and media relations campaigns, website and social media management and the steady growth of positive traditional and social media for the Museum, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in New York City and the Library and Archives located in downtown Cleveland.

Prior to her work at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Margaret spent 15 years in government, corporate and non-profit communications in Cleveland and in Phoenix, Arizona. She worked in the Cleveland Mayor’s Office as Cultural Affairs Manager and led the Greater Cleveland Committee on Hunger’s Harvest for Hunger campaign. In Phoenix, she worked for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns and R&R Partners, an award-winning public affairs and advertising agency responsible for the “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Margaret graduated from John Carroll University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She is a spirited ambassador for Cleveland and an active community volunteer. She served on Board of Directors for the YWCA and is a member of LeadDIVERSITY’s class of 2008. In Phoenix, Arizona she served on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Business Communicators where she received the President’s Award.

The Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland is a nonprofit organization and Ohio’s largest Community Action Agency that operates programs and services dedicated to transforming the lives of residents. The Council delivers education, personal and professional development programs and support services to residents of Cuyahoga County. Programs include Early Head Start (birth to three) Head Start (three – five years of age); individual assessments for classes and coaching sessions on topics including parenting, anger management and life skills; and professional development: job readiness, customer service training and job placement. The Council also delivers the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). For more information visit ceogc.org.