Gary Benjamin | Gary Benjamin is a practicing attorney and former Magistrate for the City of Cleveland Heights. For over 30 years he practiced in downtown Detroit, Michigan doing civil rights cases including class actions against the City of Detroit and State of Michigan. Gary and his wife, Melody Hart, have 4 children three of whom live in Northeast Ohio and one in New York City. Gary and Melody sponsored a Haitian asylum seeker, Ansly Damus, who has lived with them for one year now while he seeks asylum. Gary is active in the Greater Cleveland Congregations organization as core team leader at Trinity Cathedral and serves on the vestry at the cathedral. He also teaches law at Wayne State University Law School in downtown Detroit.
Barb Clint | Barb Clint works at the nexus between city planning and public health, with two decades of work having been supported through grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the past five years, she has worked almost exclusively as a consultant to Bike Cleveland, focused on active transportation as a population health level physical activity intervention and specifically working to advance the proposed 60-mile Midway Protected Bike Network in Cleveland. Barb is married to Tom Denbow with whom she has raised three children: a married daughter living in Goa, India, a niece living in Cleveland Heights and a son serving as a City Year volunteer with the Seattle School District. Barb and her husband attend the Church of the Covenant where she serves as a trustee and as moderator for the Ministry of Service through which she is becoming involved in refugee resettlement issues. Barb lives in the North Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland and, in her spare time, continues to try to shepherd the restoration of her 116-year-old arts and crafts bungalow to completion.
Sue Dean Dyke | Sue is a community organizer/activist/volunteer. She’s also the founder of Mobilize the Vote NEO. She serves as Census Coordinator for the League of Women Voters Greater Cleveland and is an Immigration Court observer. In 2017/18, she helped organize a petition drive and campaign for Issue 1 to end gerrymandering on behalf of the LWV Greater Cleveland; and, organized and campaigned in Eastern Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Lake, Mahoning, and Summit counties with Ohio Together and the Betsy Rader for Congress campaign. Sue is a former Field and Operations Human Resources professional in Retail, AgChem Manufacturing and food service. She is a former Board member for Shaker Youth Soccer Association and Board President for Eastside Kickers Soccer Club. Sue is married with two children in college and lives in Cleveland Heights.
Anne Hill, President | Anne has been a resident of Cleveland Hts. for 23 years and has two grown children, Claire and David Ryder. She served as the Director of Local Government & Community Relations at the MetroHealth system for 5 years prior to retiring at the end of 2015. Prior to working at MetroHealth, she served as Governor Strickland’s Northeast Ohio Regional Director for 4 years. From 1981 to 2006, she worked in the labor movement for 25 years with District 925/SEIU, as an organizer, contract negotiator, political director and secretary/treasurer. She co-chairs the volunteer organization, Heights Friends of Immigrants and serves as President of the AMIS Board.
Audrey Hudak, Vice President | As a community leader and a Project Manager for Cleveland Clinic Community Care, Audrey manages complex projects and works collaboratively with internal and external groups. Outside of work she is Chairwoman of Trinity Cathedral Council where she is responsible for overseeing and advising the Vestry on matters concerning the mission, outreach and community ministry, and congregational life of the Cathedral. Audrey is a graduate of the College of Wooster, BA in History, and CSU Levin College of Urban Affairs, MPA focused on financial management. Audrey is a graduate of the Cleveland Leadership Center Civic Leader Institute, winter 2020 cohort.
Samantha Ryder | Sam Ryder is joining the AMIS board with a background in advocacy, operations & management, and a passion to help immigrant and refugee communities. Presently she serves as a regional Network Engagement Manager for Candid, where she helps nonprofits learn how to best utilize Candid’s resources to build capacity. Previously she served as the Vice-Chair of a Global Ambassadors Language Academy (GALA) a Spanish and Mandarin language immersion school. For years, she was an engaged member of the Refugee Services Collaborative and volunteered for several immigrant-serving organizations across Northeast Ohio. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron in Spanish Language and Literature (2010) and a Master’s in Humanities, International Relations from John Carroll University (2015).
Stephen Sedam, Treasurer | Stephen Sedam, along with his wife Virginia and two dogs, is a resident of Cleveland Heights. Most of his professional career was devoted to environmental conservation and development at non-profits including senior positions at The Holden Arboretum and the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. An active member of Forest Hill Church Presbyterian (FHC), Steve served for seven years on the FHC Ministry of Stewardship and is now a member of the FHC Immigration Task Force. He recently served on the Board of the Ohio Environmental Council and the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation. He is a frequent participant in activities of Friends of Immigrants including vigils in support of immigrants’ rights.
Jeffrey Smith | Jeff is a resident of Cleveland Heights, married to Anne for 50 years. He is the father of seven children and the grandfather of 10, all who live in the Cleveland area. He served as the Chief Operating Officer at Mercy Medical Center in Canton prior to retiring. He has been on eight medical missions to the Dominican Republic and on three service missions in Haiti. He is active in the community and has served on a number of Boards. In addition to the AMIS Board, he currently is a member of the Y-Haven Advisory Board, which provides housing and drug/alcohol treatment to adults. He also is part of a team that prepares and provides a weekly meal in East Cleveland for the homeless and economically marginalized. He is very active at his church, Forest Hill Church Presbyterian, and has held a number of positions as Elder on different ministries, Clerk of Session, and on the church’s Sanctuary ministry. He currently is a member of the FHC Immigrant Task Force and is heading up the church’s Long Range Planning initiative.
Jean Sylak | Jean is a retired educator from The Shaker Heights City School District, who taught at Lomond School, was Principal at Onaway and then became Director of Elementary Education. In her retirement, she worked with the Cleveland Clinic to initiate “Imagine a Space” bedrooms for housebound children to accommodate medical needs. Three children benefited with rooms designed specifically on their ideas. Jean and a friend also started a business, HandS Educational Consultants providing services to MSASS, school districts and University Inc. She is very involved in Fairmount Presbyterian Church, serving on Session, Stephen Ministry, co-chairing the search committee for an Associate Pastor, teaching Sunday school and participating on the Greater Cleveland Congregations CORE team. As a resident of the Cleveland Heights’ Noble neighborhood, Jean also serves on the GCC housing task force.
Pam Turos | After 15 years as a social worker, Pam transitioned to a career in nonprofit communications. Through Good Cause Creative, she now provides communication support and coaching to a select group of nonprofit clients. Pam is also co-owner of Trialogue, Inc. a job placement program for independent contractors seeking projects in the social sector, and she is a leadership coach for the Cleveland Neighborhood Leadership Development Program. Born in Youngstown, Ohio, she has called Cleveland home since college graduation and lives with her husband and three children in Euclid.