Meet Our Members

RENÉE HOLCOMB HARDWICK is a retired Senior Vice President, Senior Relationship Manager, Key Private Bank / KeyBank National Association.

Renée held a successful 37-year career with Key Bank. She managed a $360 million portfolio, including $200 million in investment asserts and delivered financial solutions to high-net-worth clients. She was consistently recognized as a top performer. Previously, as a sales manager, Renee led a team across several Northeast Ohio offices in managing an $844 million portfolio, generating $18.2 million in revenue. She is a Certified Wealth Strategist.

Renée Holcomb Hardwick was inducted into the Western Reserve (OH) Chapter in 1994 and served as president 2011-2013. She also served as vice president of membership, treasurer and recording secretary. She was a member of the National Governance and Finance Committee for The Links, Incorporated and recognized by the Central Area as a Distinguished Link of Light.   Renée is a board member of McGregor Foundation, the Friends of African and African American Art and the Print Club of the Cleveland Museum of Art, and President of Recovery Resources, who bestowed on her its Helen K. Jones Women of Strength award.


 

Deborah L. Plummer, PhD, is a psychologist, author, university professor, and speaker on topics central to racial equality, inclusion, and mutual respect. She is passionate about creating inclusive organizations and building peaceful communities.

An international leader in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion, she has worked successfully with hundreds of organizations in the U.S., Canada, and U.K. Deborah has held past roles as staff psychologist, hospital system chief diversity officer, and was the founding director of the master’s degree program in diversity management at Cleveland State University.

Her book, Some of My Friends Are… presents an insightful look at how cross-racial friendships work and fail within American society. Her other books include the Handbook of Diversity Management, Racing Across the Lines, and Advancing Inclusion. Her work has been featured in several media outlets and she has been named by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the Top 15 Chief Diversity Officers.

Debbie currently serves of the Board of Directors for Facing History and Ourselves (NY/Boston), GrubStreet Narrative Arts Center (Boston), UH Ahuja Medical Center, Positive Education Program (PEP), Reflection Point, and Nana’s Tribe Foundation. She is married to Michael Bussey.

Deborah Plummer Bussey was inducted into the Western Reserve (OH) Chapter in 2000 and served as president 2005-2007.


 

Brenda Terrell, PhD, is the Owner, Terrell & Association, and a non-profit management organization consultant. Brenda also leads the Development Office at The Carr Center, the venerable African American cultural center and gallery based in Detroit, MI.

Brenda received her Bachelor of Science in Speech Language-Pathology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and her PhD in Community Disorders from the University of Pittsburgh. Brenda served as an Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University and Associate Professor at Kent State University. For seven years, she served as Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Administrative Officer of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, recognized as the world’s largest chamber of commerce.

Brenda Terrell was inducted into the Western Reserve (OH) Chapter in 1995 and twice elected chapter president. She was elected to serve 1999-2001 and again 2019-2021.

 


 

Lorna Wisham is Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Community Involvement, FirstEnergy Corporation, responsible for charitable giving, employee volunteerism, and executive nonprofit board placements. She also serves as President of the FirstEnergy Foundation overseeing a $10 million investment portfolio.

Lorna joined FirstEnergy in 2005 as Regional Vice President for The Illuminating Company. She later became Director of External Affairs for The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison before joining the Federal Affairs team as Senior Advisor in 2011 in Washington, D.C. There, she lobbied the U.S. Congress and the White House Administration on utility operations, cyber-security, and other issues. She returned home to northeast Ohio in 2018 for a brief leadership role with The Illuminating Company before being tapped to lead the corporate philanthropy group.

Before joining FirstEnergy, Lorna worked for the City of Cleveland Downtown Cleveland Partnership. She serves on several nonprofit boards, including Cuyahoga Community College Foundation, United Way of Greater Cleveland, First Tee of Cleveland, Women’s Endowment Fund, and University Hospitals. Lorna also serves as a sub-committee co-chair for the NFL Draft Local Organizing Committee. She is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland and the recipient of honors from Savoy Magazine, SmartBusiness Magazine, and the Women of Color Foundation, among others. She was named a YWCA Greater Cleveland Woman of Achievement and Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio Woman of Distinction.

Lorna received a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Organizational Communication from The University of Akron and a Master of Science in Public Communication from American University. Lorna Wisham is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and was inducted into the Western Reserve (OH) Chapter in 2008.


Alumna Members

Ruthie Brown began her career as an elementary school teacher with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She enjoyed a rewarding second career with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum when it opened in Cleveland, OH in 1995.

As Director of Community Programs, Ruthie established a relationship between the African American and Latino communities, and the Rock Hall. This connection with the community was established through educational programming, music festivals and artist performances. Additionally, Ruthie forged deeper relationships between African American Hall of Fame Inductees and the Rock Hall. She produced numerous concerts highlighting the contributions and achievements of African American artists in all music genres. Performances by national artists at the museum drew thousands of visitors to Cleveland throughout the year. Ruthie established an award-winning program that received national recognition for toddlers aged 3-5 years. This program, called Toddler Rock, connected literacy with music.

Ruthie Brown was inducted into the Western Reserve Chapter (OH) Chapter in 1994 and achieved Alumna status in 2014. She co-chaired two of the chapter’s Mardi Gras signature fundraisers. As a member of the 25th Anniversary Committee, she served as Executive Producer of a documentary highlighting the chapter’s contributions to the Greater Cleveland community and beyond. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.


Awilda Hamilton, EdD, is Associate Professor Emerita, Educational Administration, Kent State University.

Prior to retirement, she was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College and Graduate School of Education, Kent State University and Chair, Department of Educational Foundations & Special Studies.

Dr. Hamilton received awards of excellence from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, YWCA of Greater Cleveland, Kent State University President’s Creating Impact Council, and was an American Council on Education Fellow. Her community/civic organizations and boards have included the American Cancer Society, Ratner School, Kent State University Foundation, Bethune-Cookman University, Palm Coast Arts Foundation, and the Flagler County (FL) Tiger Bay Club.

Awilda Hamilton was inducted into the Western Reserve (OH) Chapter as a charter member in 1987 and achieved Alumna status in 2017. She served as the chapter’s president, 1989-1991 and 2009-2011. She chaired the Central Area Nominating Committee from 2013-2015 after serving on the committee since 2011. She was also chair of the Western Reserve (OH) Chapter’s 30th Anniversary Luncheon Celebration in 2017.