Fifth Third Bank Certifies 25 Graduates of its Empowering Community Leaders Program

CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fifth Third congratulates the 25 community leaders who have completed the Bank’s 18-month Empowering Community Leaders career development growth program. A Harvard Kennedy School Executive Leadership Certification Ceremony was held at Fifth Third Center in Cincinnati on August 28.

“We developed this program for the simple reason that many community leaders don’t have the resources to spend on their own development,” said Kala Gibson, chief corporate responsibility officer. “With Fifth Third covering the cost of professional development for these deserving leaders, we empowered them to hone and develop key skills that will lead them to having even more substantive positive impacts in the communities they serve.”

The Empowering Community Leaders program was launched in 2022 to provide resources and training to nonprofit leaders across Fifth Third’s footprint. Each leader was nominated for participation by Fifth Third’s community impact managers. Jointly funded by the Fifth Third Foundation and Fifth Third Bank, ECL offered critical lessons in leadership development, technical skills and specialized certifications that enabled access to resources and knowledge necessary to achieve great community outcomes.

All 25 program graduates completed an executive certificate in nonprofit leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School and an emotional intelligence course and coaching from Case Western Reserve University. In addition, several of the graduates participated in course offerings from NeighborWorks America, the National Development Council and Opportunity Finance Network.

Those earning certificates included:

  • J’Tanya Adams, Historic West End Partners, Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Jose Alvarez, Prospera USA, Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Paul Booth, Jr., Collective Empowerment Group, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Kate Brackett, Family Scholar House, Louisville, Kentucky.
  • A.W. Burgess, Family Mankind, Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Dwan Dandridge, Black Leaders Detroit, Detroit, Michigan.
  • Alexis Dishman, Community Reinvestment Fund USA, Detroit, Michigan/Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Lara Fisher, Grace Place for Children & Families, Naples, Florida.
  • Annissa Franklin, Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County, Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Paul Garrison, Cosmopolitan Economic Development, Detroit, Michigan.
  • Angela Hurlock, Claretian Associates, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Jeremy Lewis, TechTown Detroit, Detroit, Michigan.
  • Rhonda McFarland, Quad Communities Development Corporation NFP, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Tania Menesse, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP), Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Nikol Miller, Urban League of Miami Valley, Dayton, Ohio.
  • Amina Pierson, Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corporation, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Michael Randall, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp., Detroit, Michigan.
  • Dejah Rawlings, Homebase Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Britney Robbins, Gray Matter Experience, Chicago, Illinois.
  • James Rudyk, Jr., Northwest Side Housing Center, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Charlynda Scales, OH Taste, Dayton, Ohio.
  • Darnell Shields, Austin Coming Together (ACT), Chicago, Illinois.
  • Demetrius Short, Transformation Life Center, Hermitage, Tennessee.
  • Linda Smith, U SNAP BAC Nonprofit Housing Corp., Detroit, Michigan.
  • Jefferey Verespeii, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Cleveland Ohio.

ECL graduate Dejah Rawlings of Homebase Cincinnati took advantage of the entire program, including the NeighborWorks Training Institute certification and the rental housing certification through the National Development Council. She said, “Fifth Third presented me with such an awesome opportunity to better equip myself to serve my community. I was bound and determined to take advantage of every single one so that I can be my best self and do my best work in the future.”

About Fifth Third

Fifth Third is a bank that’s as long on innovation as it is on history. Since 1858, we’ve been helping individuals, families, businesses and communities grow through smart financial services that improve lives. Our list of firsts is extensive, and it’s one that continues to expand as we explore the intersection of tech-driven innovation, dedicated people and focused community impact. Fifth Third is one of the few U.S.-based banks to have been named among Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies® for several years. With a commitment to taking care of our customers, employees, communities and shareholders, our goal is not only to be the nation’s highest performing regional bank, but to be the bank people most value and trust.

Fifth Third Bank, National Association is a federally chartered institution. Fifth Third Bancorp is the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank and its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market under the symbol “FITB.” Investor information and press releases can be viewed at


Stacie Haas (Media Relations) | 513-534-5113

Chris Doll (Investor Relations) | 513-534-2345

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