Staff & Board

Canalway is a small but mighty organization made up of a three-person staff and a dedicated board of directors.

Canalway Staff

Mera Cardenas

Mera Cardenas

Executive Director

Mera has more than a decade of experience in cultural heritage organizations. The move to Canalway in 2020 brought her closer to her hometown in the Laurel Highlands of PA... Read on

Mera has more than a decade of experience in cultural heritage organizations. The move to Canalway in 2020 brought her closer to her hometown in the Laurel Highlands of PA and is a return to her rust belt roots. While serving as the Executive Director at the Arabia Alliance outside of Atlanta, her work to create community-driven, place-based experiences resulted in the preservation and activation of several historic sites, an increase in tourism visitation through events and educational programming, and recognition from the Georgia governor and Congressman for those successful efforts.

Mera is honored to have assumed the role of Executive Director as the Towpath Trail was being completed in Cleveland and is dedicated to working with partners to build out Canal Basin Park.

Prior to changing careers to pursue cultural heritage passions, Mera worked for CNN Headline News and CNN Newsource as both a producer and a sales executive. Mera holds a Masters of Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University and a BS in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Miami, FL. Mera and her husband currently make their home in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland with their “Bark Ranger” Daisy and three cats. She enjoys biking the Towpath Trail, yoga, kayaking, exploring historic sites especially historic cemeteries, binge watching quirky TV series, knitting, and the view from her front porch.

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Julie Sciarrino

Julie Sciarrino

Manager of Operations and Volunteer Services

Julie joined Canalway in 2017 and has held a variety of roles in the organization. As the manager of operations and volunteer services, she keeps the Canalway office running smoothly... Read on

Julie joined Canalway in 2017 and has held a variety of roles in the organization. As the manager of operations and volunteer services, she keeps the Canalway office running smoothly and works with individual volunteers and groups to bring energy to Canalway events, including recruiting more than 900 volunteers for RiverSweep 2022. Julie enjoys biking and running on the Towpath Trail and adventuring around Northeast Ohio with her husband and two kids.

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Meghan Paynter

Meghan Paynter

Director of Communications

Meghan joined Canalway in 2022. As the director of communications, she utilizes the power of social media to help people connect to places that are historically and culturally important in... Read on

Meghan joined Canalway in 2022. As the director of communications, she utilizes the power of social media to help people connect to places that are historically and culturally important in Northeast Ohio. She has diverse communications, public relations and social media experience, having served as communications manager for both private and non-profit organizations over the last 10 years. Meghan has a degree in Journalism from Ohio University and enjoys reading and exploring local trails and National Parks with her husband.

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Kristen  Romito

Kristen Romito

Community Engagement Specialist

Kristen Romito has more than 20 years of experience in public relations, community engagement and project management. She started her career working at B2B marketing communications agencies then transitioned into... Read on

Kristen Romito has more than 20 years of experience in public relations, community engagement and project management. She started her career working at B2B marketing communications agencies then transitioned into the nonprofit and education sectors, serving as the communication director for a local school district and overseeing public relations for the Cleveland Institute of Art. She has experience working with various Northeast Ohio nonprofit organizations including the Cleveland International Film Festival, Shaker Square Area Development Corporation and Karamu House. She earned her Bachelors in Speech Communication and Journalism from Miami University and her MBA in Management from Baldwin-Wallace University. Kristen enjoys traveling with her husband and two kids, trying new recipes, fitness and cuddling with her dog Walter.

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Canalway Board of Directors

 

Chair of the Board

David JurcaSeventh Hill

Vice Chairs

Tom Yablonsky, Retired
Amy Whitacre, First American Title National Commercial Services

Board Treasurer

Antonin Robert, GBX Group

Secretary

Caryn Candisky, Cleveland State University

 

Joanna Brell, MetroHealth Medical Center
Patrick Cook, Microsoft Corporation
Michael Dostal, DistrictCapital.com
Bryan Falk, Vorys
Diana HildebrandDevahD Cycling
Patrick Holland, Solid Waste District, Retired (Emeritus)
Michael Hudecek, PNC
Jack KluznikWeston Hurd LLP (Emeritus)
Eric Kufel, Aspen Inc.
Nancy Lesic, Lesic & Camper Communications
Mark RaymondThe Cleveland Hostel Guesthouse
David WagnerHanna Commercial Real Estate

Organizational Alumni

Organizational Alumni

Over the last 35 years, Canalway's board of directors has included a variety of community leaders and public servants. Read our full list of organizational alumni.

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