Ann Womer Benjamin
Phone: 216.420.9200 x224
Ann Womer Benjamin is the Executive Director of NOCHE, leading the organization in its mission to bring higher education and business together to advance higher education and economic development in the region. At NOCHE, Womer Benjamin has focused programming, raised the profile of NOCHE’s signature regional internship program, NEOintern, and launched a college attainment initiative, the Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend.
Womer Benjamin came to NOCHE in 2007 following four years in the Governor’s Cabinet as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, a state agency with a $30 million annual budget and staff of 265. While there, she stabilized Ohio’s medical malpractice market, for which she received Ohio University’s Phillips Medal of Public Service in 2004 and a Special Recognition Award from The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northern Ohio Medical Association in 2005. In addition, Womer Benjamin undertook a major investigation of broker misconduct in Ohio and achieved establishment of the national Interstate Compact for the life industry for which she was a member of the Compact Management Committee. Under her leadership, the Department also led implementation of Medicare Part D in Ohio, receiving a commendation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2006. As a member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Womer Benjamin served on the NAIC Executive Committee and as Vice Chair of the Government Affairs Task Force and Chairman of the Industry Liaison Committee.
With a commitment to public service, Womer Benjamin was elected to an at-large seat on Aurora City Council in 2011. From 1995 through 2002, she served in the Ohio House of Representatives, representing most of Portage County, and saw twenty of her bills become law. She was a member of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee for eight years and chaired the Criminal Justice Committee for more than four years.
Womer Benjamin received her Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received her Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where she taught Research, Advocacy and Writing. Practicing law for more than 20 years with law firms in Canton and Cleveland, she specialized in estate planning, probate and probate litigation and was elected a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel in 2000.
Other honors include induction into the Shaker Heights High School Hall of Fame in 1997 and her law school honorary, Society of Benchers, in 2003; receipt of the Ohio Nurses Association Legislator of the Year award in 2001; and being named Aurora Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2001.
A resident of Aurora, Ohio, Womer Benjamin has been an Adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and Hiram College. She was appointed to the State Board of Education as an at-large member by the Governor in December 2006 for a four-year term, and served as its Vice President. In 2012, she was appointed by the Governor to the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority Board, which oversees a state agency within the office of the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents that administers tax-advantaged college savings programs.
Shawn M. Brown
Phone: 216.420.9200 x228
Shawn Brown is the Associate Director of NOCHE, responsible for development, communications, and overseeing the operations of NOCHE programs including NEOintern, the Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend, and quarterly meetings of the region’s chief academic officers. He joined the staff in 2010.
For ten years prior to joining NOCHE, Brown held positions of increasing accountability at Hiram College. He served as Director of College Relations where he handled marketing, communications and public relations. His higher education career began as an Admission Counselor, recruiting transfer students and high school students from Northeast Ohio, and advanced to advising adult learners through Hiram’s Weekend College as Assistant Dean. Brown helped Hiram reverse a long-term enrollment decline and increase the undergraduate headcount from fewer than 800 students to nearly 1,200 students while achieving the institution’s academic profile and net tuition revenue goals.
While at Hiram, Brown participated in the implementation of a campus-wide enterprise resource planning system and a constituent relationship management system. With experience leading collaborative, mission-centered and data-driven solutions, he has spoken at regional and national conferences on the topic of integrating data, technology, staff and culture.
Brown earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and computer systems management from Hiram College, his Master of Science degree in higher education from Drexel University and his Doctor of Education degree from Northeastern University.
Brenda Davis Smith
Phone: 216.420.9200 x223
Brenda Davis Smith is a Program Manager at NOCHE. As Program Manager, Davis Smith is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of NEOintern, NOCHE’s signature regional internship program. NEOintern connects students, college and university career counselors, employers and internship opportunities through a free website that has 17,500 registered students and 2,200 registered employers. Davis Smith promotes NEOintern through campus-based outreach throughout Northeast Ohio and communications to employers and students. She is also an organizer and presenter of the “Maximize Your ROI: Return on Intern” employer workshop series designed to educate Northeast Ohio business and nonprofit professionals about how to establish and improve internship programs.
When she arrived at NOCHE in 2005, Davis Smith assumed responsibility for the College Caravan program for underrepresented students, and increased its value to Northeast Ohio colleges and universities, secondary schools and nonprofit organizations. Coinciding with the launch of the Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend, Davis Smith further redefined the program in order to serve not only underrepresented students but also their parents and families.
Prior to joining NOCHE, Davis Smith managed John Carroll University’s Career Services data systems and was a key player in the design and implementation of ClevelandIntern.net. Her experience integrating data from multiple institutions of higher education led her to NOCHE, which assumed responsibility for ClevelandIntern.net and rebranded it as NEOintern. Davis Smith’s background includes extensive experience in data management, programming languages, web design, content management systems and e-marketing technologies.
Phone: 216.420.9200 x234
Patrick Britton joined NOCHE as a Program Manager in 2011. He manages and promotes regional talent development programs, including NOCHE’s NEOintern and Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend, in collaboration with area economic development organizations.
Before joining NOCHE, Britton was the Director of Admissions at Walsh Jesuit High School where he led a student recruitment program that contributed to a 10% increase in overall enrollment. In addition to working with student information systems and integrating technology with cross-functional team collaboration, Britton advised thousands of students and families about education and career options and admission policies and procedures. Prior to his time at Walsh Jesuit, Britton was an Assistant Director of Admissions at Baltimore International College in Maryland.
Britton received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He received his Master’s degree magna cum laude in nonprofit administration from the University of Notre Dame.
Phone: 216.420.9200 x227
As Operations Manager, Jana Nassif is the primary source of financial and operational management for NOCHE. Nassif is responsible for human resources, employee benefits, payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, grant allocations, cash flow management, event management and information technology.
Prior to joining NOCHE in 2010, Nassif was the Knowledge Center Manager for Global M&A, one of the world’s leading independent mergers and acquisitions advisory firms. She designed and implemented a web-based platform for information sharing and document collaboration. She also developed and distributed corporate communications for more than 300 Global M&A partners and corporate performance reports for the CEO.
Nassif’s nearly 10 years of increasingly responsible experience includes appointments at National City Corporation. As Associate for National City Equity Partners, she evaluated the performance of fund investments, authored investment recommendations, prepared accounting entries and quarterly reconciliations, and represented the firm at private equity conferences. She also served as an Auditor with the Corporate Audit Department.
Nassif earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University and her Master of Arts in nonprofit administration from John Carroll University. She previously completed an internship at Ohioans to Stop Executions and has direct experience researching and writing grant proposals for nonprofit organizations.
Phone: 216.420.9200 x225