BJ Fischer, President
BJ Fischer is the President of Strategy by Fischer.  He is a 22 year veteran of the public relations field.  He has been part of a Silver Anvil award-winning project, along with winning a Diamond Award from the East Central District of PRSA and an Addy.  He recently founded Strategy by Fischer to provide high-level counsel to clients.  

B.J. began working in public relations at Funk Luetke Skunda in 1998 and moved to Thread Marketing in 2012 when FLS joined Thread. A graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in English, he also served 14 years on Bowling Green City Council. Email B.J.:


Matt Schroder, Vice-President

Matt Schroder is currently a Communications Leader on the Corporate Affairs team. In this role, Matt has responsibility for connecting and engaging Owens Corning Roofing employees by elevating the employee and other stakeholder experience with impactful communications.

Overall, he has more than 27 years of experience in corporate communications, public relations, marketing and journalism. Since joining Owens Corning in 2011, Matt has had key communication roles in the quarterly earnings reporting; transitioning a new Roofing president; safety initiatives such as the company’s landmark mobile phone policy and the Green Cross Medal for Safety award; the company’s 75th anniversary; rebuilding the intranet; the acquisition of our coated wovens business (InterWrap); the Green Cross Medal for Safety award; and several United Way kick-off events.

Prior to rejoining Owens Corning, Matt spent 15 years developing strategies and executing clients’ marketing, public relations, media relations and crisis communication campaigns for several regional agencies in Toledo, Ohio. He began his career as a newspaper editor and reporter in several cities across Ohio. Email Matt.:

Larry BoyerLarry Boyer, Secretary-Treasurer
Larry is Executive Vice President of Waterford Bank, N.A.  He was one of the founders of Waterford Bank, N.A., a $425 million bank started in August 2007.  He also was a founding member of the Toledo Press Club.

Larry serves as President of Sylvania Tam O’Shanter, is on the Advisory Board of Local Initiative Support (LISC), is a Board Member of the Lucas County Economic Development Corp, and serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Toledo Press Club. Larry was born and raised in Toledo.  He attended St. Francis De Sales High School and the University of Toledo. Email



Athena Cocoves
Athena is Managing Editor of Publications for Adams Street Publishing. Email

Meghan Cunningham
Meghan is the Director of University Communications for The University of Toledo. She is responsible for leading the communications team that promotes news and initiatives to internal and external stakeholders. Meghan serves as spokesman for the University and promotes UT through earned media efforts in local, regional and national news outlets to advance the brand and attract quality students and faculty to the institution. In her role, she advises senior leaders on communications strategy and is responsible for creating and executing crisis communications messaging.

Prior to joining UT in 2010, Meghan was a reporter at the Toledo Blade newspaper, covering the crime and education beats and sharing a wide variety of stories with the community. She also has reported for The Flint Journal and The County Press newspapers in Michigan. Meghan is a graduate of Michigan State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is currently a part-time graduate student at UT, pursuing an MBA in marketing. She lives in Toledo with her husband, Bob, and daughter, Eleanor, and son, Owen. Email


Kurt FranckKurt Franck
Kurt is the executive editor and president/general manager of The (Toledo) Blade. Before being promoted to executive editor in January 2010, Kurt spent nine years as the newspaper’s managing editor. During his time at The Blade, he helped direct the 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning series on atrocities by Tiger Force, an elite U.S. Army platoon, during the Vietnam War. He also was a key editor on The Blade’s coverage of “Coingate”, a year-long investigation of the state’s investment in a rare-coin fund that exposed illegal actions by the governor and other state officials.

Kurt also worked for 16 years at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. Before that, he spent six years with United Press International, including assignments in Columbus, Atlanta, Birmingham, Orlando, the Kennedy Space Center and Miami. Email


Candice Harrison
Candice L. Harrison is the External Communications Manager for the Toledo Public Schools. A native Toledoan and proud graduate of Central Catholic High School, Harrison received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo in 2001 and earned her master’s degree in communications in 2014 from Spring Arbor University. She most recently served as Director of Communications at Toledo Museum of Art and Senior Communications manager for the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium. Prior to that she was director of the School Hubs Initiative at Scott High School, where she was involved in fundraising, community engagement projects and special-event planning. She also has held marketing and communications positions at the University of Toledo Medical Center and Mercy Memorial Hospital in Monroe, Michigan.

Candice was presented a Toledo 20 Under 40 Leadership Award in 2014 and a Top Community Voices Award from the United Way of Greater Toledo in 2013 in recognition of her assistance as a volunteer during the annual campaign. Her many activities include membership on the board of trustees for both the University of Toledo Alumni Association and Leadership Toledo, and serving on the African-American Leadership Council of United Way of Greater Toledo (AALC). Through her work with AALC as co-chair, communications chair and a member of the scholarship committee, she has helped to improve the areas of education, income and health of African-American families in the Toledo region.

Candice is a member of the Rotary Club of Toledo and is a board member for both the Press Club and Public Relations Society of America. She is a member of the Toledo Chapter of Links Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and the Toledo Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. Last, but certainly not least, she is a Girl Scout troop leader at Grove Patterson Academy.

Shaun HegartyShaun Hegarty
With more than seven years of experience in the Toledo television market, Shaun was president of the Press Club of Toledo in 2013.

He serves as the investigative reporter for WTVG, 13abcEmail





Barbara Hendel
Barbara is the Society Editor at The Blade. She holds two bachelors degrees and one masters degree, all in communications from Ringling College, Lourdes University and Bowling Green State University. She covers social events, numerous philanthropic endeavors, and the diverse crowd of movers and shakers in the greater Toledo area. From Presidential and Governors balls to the Kentucky Derby, vacation spots Up North and in Florida, to country clubs, yacht clubs, and private home soirees, she’s been there.

Before coming to The Blade 20 years ago, she was in corporate communications holding various management positions in marketing, advertising, public relations, fine arts, and conflict management.

Over the years Barbara has been active in the community, volunteering on non profit boards and as a volunteer, lending her communication and organizational skills for the benefit of the community. She is an avid cheerleader for Toledo. Email Barbara:


Dave Kielmeyer

Dave Kielmeyer is the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Bowling Green State University. He is responsible for leading BGSU’s branding, marketing and public relations strategies. He also oversees the University’s public broadcasting station, WBGU-TV.

Kielmeyer directed the in-house development and launch of the University’s brand update – “Belong. Stand Out. Go Far.” Now in its third year, the brand and accompanying multiplatform strategy have helped drive enrollment growth and consecutively recruit the most academically prepared freshman classes in University history.

Before rising to his current position in 2015, Kielmeyer served as the University’s Senior Director of Communications, with responsibility for public relations, internal communications and crisis communications.

Prior to joining BGSU in 2008, he was Vice president of account services for FLS Marketing, a Toledo marketing and public relations firm, where he provided counsel on branding, advertising, marketing, and public relations to a broad range of corporate, nonprofit and civic clients.

Linda Parra
Linda is founder-president of Nuestra Gente Community Projects Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Toledo’s under-served communities. Founded in Toledo in November 2008 to serve the Hispanic/Latino community, Nuestra Gente has since expanded its mission and objectives for the inclusion of all community members in need. Nuestra Gente, which translates to “Our People,” is a champion for education, health, and the overall enrichment of life in Lucas County.

Linda also is founder-president and host/producer on FM-96.5, Nuestra Gente’s spanish-speaking radio station. Linda is a past board member of the Toledo Lucas County Health Center and the City of Toledo Youth Commission. She is a 2016 graduate of the University of Toledo.


Chrys Peterson
For 20 years, Chrys Peterson was the face of WTOL news, anchoring the 5, 6 & 11 p.m. newscasts.  She’s a six-time Emmy Award winner whose tenure and influence were recognized by the Ohio Associated Press in 2014 when she was inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  She’s also earned four coveted Edward R. Murrow awards for her storytelling.

In 2014, Chrys retired from television news to begin her own consulting business, Chrys Peterson Consulting.  She works primarily with ProMedica Health System developing and teaching leadership programs within the organization, and producing videos for the ProMedica Health Connect Website and ProMedica TV.

Chrys has also served on the boards of NW Ohio Komen for the Cure, The American Cancer Society, Make-A-Wish and The Greater Toledo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.  She works with numerous other organizations including The Victory Center, Kidney Foundation of NW Ohio, Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo, Sylvania Academic Excellence Foundation, and the Gretchen Gotthart Skeldon Foundation.  She is a frequent emcee and speaker at community events.

Kim SidwellKim Sidwell
Kim is Director of Institutional Advancement at Imagination Station, Toledo’s Science Center. Before that, she worked at  United Way of Greater Toledo , serving as Vice President, Resource Development and Vice President, Marketing and Communications ,where she was responsible for United Way’s marketing, communications, special event and public relation’s efforts.

Kim began her non-profit fundraising career with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Before moving to Toledo in 1993 and joining the United Way team she was MDA’s District Director in the Detroit area, where she successfully managed the fourth largest national market of the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon with a special event fundraising portfolio exceeding $3 million dollars.
Email Kim:


Lauren Weppler

Lauren is the News Director at WTOL-TV and WUPW in Toledo Ohio. Prior to being named news director, she was Assistant News Director for four years.  A broadcast journalism graduate from West Liberty University in Wheeling, W.V., Weppler came to WTOL after a stint at WMBF-TV, Channel 32, the NBC affiliate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as a reporter and executive producer of the station’s morning newscasts, and before that as the evening anchor of a station in Beckly, W.V.