CCA Business Networking Rising Star of the Year — Ashley Basile Oeken, executive director, Engage! Cleveland
Ashley Basile Oeken walked the walk well before she talked the talk. A native of the Youngstown area, she didn’t arrive in Cleveland until March of 2009. The plan was to finish a two-year fellowship and split town. But Basile Oeken, having fallen in love with the area, stayed. Today, as the executive director of Engage! Cleveland, the 29-year-old not coincidentally spends her time attracting, engaging, and retaining young professionals in the Greater Cleveland area. “I realized that my passion for making a difference and serving my community could happen here,” she says.
In order to raise the profile of Engage! Cleveland, Basile Oeken dedicated 2014 to becoming a better networker. She met with young professionals who were new to Cleveland and ones who had lived here their entire lives; young professional organization leaders, business leaders, nonprofit leaders, and government leaders. Her favorite example of networking occurred while the Republican National Convention Committee was in town to determine if Cleveland would host its 2016 convention. After sharing information about the city’s young professional community, Basile Oeken was elated upon learning that Cleveland had been selected as the host. “I would like to think I played a small part in bringing such a monumental event to town,” she says. “I am now continuing to network to learn how I can play a part in the actual event next year.”
In the meantime, Basile Oeken serves on boards with the Greater Cleveland Partnership and Saint Luke’s Foundation. She is also involved with the Cleveland area alumni chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, the Council of Smaller Enterprises Task Force, Friends of the Sutliff Museum, World Economic Forum Global Shapers, Best of Cleveland host committee, and (i)Cleveland. “I have grown a lot in six years, now speaking up at all meetings and having my voice heard,” she says. “I have learned that I have a lot to bring to the table and that I should speak up.”
For more info: engagecleveland.com
Runners-up: Christopher Hodgson, partner, Driftwood Catering; Cristina Lowenfeld, private events manager, Music Box Supper Club; Jessica Mickley, assistant sales and event manager, Marigold Catering.
CCA WINNER TIMELINE
2014 — Ashley Basile Oeken, Engage! Cleveland
2013 — Adam Rosen, Porter Wright
2012 — Anne H. Doyle, Lake Health