Our Staff

 

Rachael Belz 

Executive Director

 

Rachael is the Executive Director of Ohio Citizen Action and Ohio Consumers Power Alliance: Rachael moved to Cincinnati in 1996 from Clean Water Action in Denver to become Cincinnati area Program Director for Ohio Citizen Action, and has been a leader in working with communities who are affected by toxic chemical pollution.  She pioneered successful “good neighbor campaigns” at Cincinnati Specialties, Rohm and Haas, AK Steel, and Sunoco.  As coal program organizer, Rachael traveled to communities across Ohio in the successful campaign to prevent AMP from building a new coal plant in Southeast Ohio, and played a key role in calling on Ohio utilities to close their highly-polluting plants.             Throughout her years in the organization, Rachael has also played key roles in statewide coordination, including training and supervising new organizers, fundraising and working closely with the field and phone canvass. She currently serves as Executive Director of Ohio Citizen Action, leads the clean energy campaign and serves on the Executive Committee of the RE-AMP network.

Melissa English 

Deputy Director


 

 

Melissa has worked since 1987 in a variety of non-profit organizations. These organizations reflect her social and political values and include a local Public Broadcasting affiliate, Greenpeace, the Urban Appalachian Council, the Cincinnati Arts Association and Ohio Citizen Action. She began with OCA as a field canvasser in 1995 and since then has also done program work, project management, development, communications, board development, grassroots organizing, lobbying and event planning. In 2018, she started Ohio Citizen Action's first major gifts program, including inducting founding members of the Metzenbaum Society. She's served on several non-profit boards, including the Appalachian Connection Editorial Board, Ohio Citizen Action and Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati. She co-founded the Cincinnati Green Group and the Friends of the Great Miami and has twice contributed to the Green Cincinnati Plan. In 2015, she received the Risk Communication Award from the Alliance for Chemical Safety for work to improve fracking chemical disclosure. Melissa also serves as Executive Director of Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund. 

 

 

Lisa Maatz 

Senior Adviser/Organizing Director 

lmaatz@ohiocitizen.org

 

 

 

Lisa is a nationally respected advocate in the progressive movement. Her nonprofit career began when she was named Executive Director of Turning Point, a domestic violence program recognized for excellence by the Ohio Supreme Court. Most recently, Lisa served as Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy for the American Association of University Women in Washington, DC; she has also held adjunct appointments with several universities and worked on Capitol Hill. After more than 20 years of advocacy efforts in our nation's capital, Lisa began a teaching and traveling sabbatical that included moving back home to Cleveland. As she settled in at her lake house and began investigating local opportunities, she came to Ohio Citizen Action in 2019 as a part-time canvasser, and with her extensive background in advocacy, she was hired as Senior Advisor/Organizing Director in 2020.

 

Stephen Gabor 

Membership Director

sgabor@ohiocitizen.org

 

After his promotion to phone canvass director in 2000, Stephen embarked upon a career marked by his incredible perseverance, adaptability, innovation, and leadership.  After leaving OCA in 2012 to help run a successful business, he soon joined the board of directors, but resigned from the board in 2015 to resume his position as phone canvass director. Fast-forward to 2019, where he assumed a much-deserved change of pace and responsibility as OCA's Membership Director. Stephen has earned degrees from Georgetown University in history and political science. 

 

 

Angela Oster

Digital Communications Director

aoster@ohiocitizen.org

 

 

Angela has worked for Ohio Citizen Action for more than 20 years, designing our lively and well-regarded website and online organizing programs. She is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art's Technology and Integrated Media Environment (TIME) digital arts program. In 2009, Angela was one of the inaugural recipients of Cleveland's prestigious Community Partnership for Arts and Culture Creative Workforce Fellowship, as the only fellow chosen for her work in multi-media. Angela designs all of our printed materials for community outreach, manages email and social media communication and was the lead staff person on the development of the "ActionGram."

Jessica Smith-Szabo

Cash Manager & Accounts Payable

jessica@ohiocitizen.org

 

After graduating with associate degrees in Liberal Arts and Applied Sciences for Washtenaw Community College, Jessica took her first canvassing job with Clean Water Action in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2013. There she fought to update storm water infrastructure along the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair, pressured EPA for strong effluent guidelines on coal fire power plants and fought to increase Michigan’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. She also spent many weeks training new activists and learning about issues in other parts of the country, including Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, Texas Campaign for the Environment and Ohio Citizen Action. She moved to Ohio in 2014 to serve as Cleveland's Field Canvass Director, before assuming her current role in 2019.

 

Hannah Spring 

Field Canvass Director

hspring@ohiocitizen.org

 

Hannah started canvassing February 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan for Clean Water Action. Exactly one year later in February 2019, she moved to Cleveland to work with us as our Cleveland Field Staff Director. 

Hannah was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan. Hannah is the first in her family to graduate from college when she received a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Before joining Ohio Citizen Action she conducted evaluation research on coalition and community based efforts for at risk youth, which ignited her passion for policy and grassroots initiatives.

 

 

Brad Holmes

Phone Canvass Director 

bholmes@ohiocitizen.org

 

 

Brad first joined our staff as a field canvasser in May 2018, but quickly moved to become a leading phone organizer. We welcomed him as our Phone Staff Director in June of 2019.

Brad is a 2018 graduate of Bowling Green State University, where his undergraduate education was focused in Environmental Policy, Ethics, and Sociology. He was involved in community rights and sustainability activism through several student groups.

 

Anastazia Vanisko 

Cleveland Program Director

avanisko@ohiocitizen.org

 

Anastazia graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2017, with a B.A. in Political Science and Dance. Shortly after graduation she joined Ohio Citizen Action as a field canvasser, working on campaigns to fight fixed rate increases, protect Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, and fix Ohio's wind setbacks. After moving to a part-time split position between the program and field departments, she assumed the full-time role of Cleveland Program Director in August 2019. She is also active with Sunrise Cleveland, an organization of young people advocating for a Green New Deal, and volunteers with the Interreligous Task Force on Central America and Colombia.

 

Sunny Savron 

Digital Media Organizer

ssavron@ohiocitizen.org

 

While earning their Associate of Marketing at Cuyahoga Community College, Sunny started field canvassing part-time in May 2016. During their time canvassing they've traveled to Pittsburgh PA, Syracuse NY, and Ann Arbor MI to train and recruit canvassing teams in those cities. From 2016-2018 they had organized communities around 9 different campaigns, including the plastic bag ban in the state of New York. In 2019 they moved from the field into the office, and are continuing to serve in a split position between administrative and digital media tasks. On the side, they also volunteer with a variety of organizations such as the Sunrise Movement,  and the InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia.