At the helm of this groundbreaking leadership training program is a group of individuals that are leaders in their own communities that wanted to help train leaders to make a difference in their own lives.
Rev. Dr. Kregg F. Burris, Founder
Rev. Dr. Kregg F. Burris, is the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland, Shaker Height, Ohio and Founder of the Cleveland Life Institute. Before coming to Cleveland in 2015, he has served several congregations throughout the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia and Ohio) specializing in congregational renewal. He has overseen the new construction of two new building projects costing over 4 million dollars and major renovations of each of the congregations where he has served. In addition to building and facilitates, he reorganized the governing the board of several congregations and served on Constitutional revision team for the state constitution of the American Baptist Churches of Indiana. While serving in West Virginia, he served on the state board of Budget and Finance Committee and was over the ordination governing board of the Panhandle Association of the WVBC.
Rev. Burris has taken an active within role within each community in both ecclesiastical and community action programs which including after school programs, early childhood reading, food pantries, leadership development, and serving on the executive board of the Weirton Medical Center, and council of the Bedford Medical Center (now Indiana University Health Center- Bedford, Indiana), Bertha’s Ministries, the Weirton Christian Center. He has taken mission trips to Russia, India, and Mexico. He has lead workshops, retreats and taught in churches and denominational settings.
He holds a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Chicago and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston. His doctoral study related to ministry in the era of postmodernism in the contemporary culture of the church. His doctoral thesis was on the identity of congregational life in the midst of the worship wars within the churches of the American Baptist Churches of the USA.
In addition to his service on both local and regional boards of the American Baptist Churches of the USA, he has earned certification in conflict management, premarital and marital counseling, hospice care, leadership, and extensive workshops related to addiction intervention, depression, and suicide.
Rev. Burris has been used as a consultant to the church regarding church growth and governing. He has a member of the Cleveland Baptist Association Ministerial Council, the Minister’s Council of the American Baptist Churches USA and Pastor’s United in Mission of Greater Cleveland.
Dr. Victor L. Bull, President of Cleveland Life Institute
Victor Bull is a principal of The Canamex Group, a firm that assists companies in health care, energy and renewable resources in strategic business planning, risk management, compliance, evaluation of acquisition and divestiture candidates, assessing financing alternatives, and business strategies execution.
He holds a BA from Eastern University, an MBA in project and systems management from Baldwin-Wallace University and a Ph.D. from Kent State University where he researched multi-cultural successful aging. He received The Interdisciplinary Geriatric Educational Award for Clinician Development in Geriatrics from the Western Reserve Geriatric Education Center
He is currently the Moderator of The First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland and serves as a member of the City of North Royalton Board of Zoning Appeals and as an adjunct instructor in Small Business Management at Cuyahoga Community College.
He is married to Charlotte and has two grown sons.
Mr. Ship Collins, Board of Directors
For two decades, LeShun “Ship” Collins has been empowering young minds and challenging his peers to transcend the common and accepted thought of social confines. A highly accomplished educator and innovator, Collins is leading the conversation and ultimately the transformation of social injustice by breaking down its barriers.
Collins’ expertise is grounded in real-world experience. As a practitioner in health and physical education, he spent over 20 years in the school system building positive relationships and cultivating student growth. He currently teaches health education at Orange High School, located in the Cleveland area. In this diverse and affluent suburban school, Collins’ innate ability to connect with the students and encourage them to find their voice were contributing factors in his being honored with the district’s Teacher of the Year award in 2013.
As a mentor and advisor, Collins works with the Reach Program, a summer enrichment initiative for academically advanced African-American males. He was also recognized by President Obama for a minority leadership program he created and coordinates. The innovative program provides mentoring and leadership opportunities for young men, helping them become divergent thinkers and explore their potential. Over the years, Collins also coached several of the Orange School’s basketball teams and is currently their head girls’ varsity basketball coach.
As a thought leader, Collins is passionate about developing the 21st-century person and conveying within any community the importance of excellence, determination, leadership, and social change. Collins is sought after by universities and other educational institutions for his keen insight and perspective and for raising awareness of a flawed system that benefits some, but not all students. His mission to provide a voice to the marginalized and underrepresented inspired the release of “Considering Sensemaking as Artmaking in Promoting Social Justice-Oriented Work in Schools,” an article written by Collins and his colleagues and published in the University Council for Educational Administration journal.
Mr. Claude Kennard, Board of Directors
First Baptist Church is pleased to recognize Claude Kennard’s dynamic leadership—both within the church, and within the larger Cleveland community. Claude has served in many leadership roles at FBC and is currently serving on both the Investment Committee and on the Finance and Property Committee. However, Claude’s concern for the community extends throughout his professional and personal life.
As president and CEO of Metaloy, Claude leads the initiative to reduce the dependency on landfills as the primary disposal option for hazardous wastes and nonhazardous materials as his company provides recycling, distribution, and marketing alternatives for spent catalysts generated within the hydrocarbon and related industries. Claude continually builds upon his success and seeks to discover new enterprises that strengthen and enhance environmental sustainability.
Claude’s most recent venture, METPro Recovery, processes heavy metal containing catalysts generated within the hydrocarbon industry and in 2004 he launched MCAT Services LLC to commercialize products and services based on Metaloy’s patented technology to magnetically separate equilibrium catalyst for reuse within the hydrocarbon industry. In 2005, he launched Solon-based MAR Systems Inc. to commercialize its patented technology to remove arsenic, mercury, selenium and heavy metals from aqueous and gaseous effluents.
Metaloy continues to develop groundbreaking and proprietary processes based on waste streams generated within the hydro processing industry. Metaloy, in collaboration with spinoff companies, MAR Systems, Inc. and MCAT Services LLC., currently holds eight domestic and international patents relating to the use of industrial byproducts to solve water purification and catalyst reutilization issues.
As a community leader, Claude is involved in a variety of community activities and organizations. In addition to our church, Claude is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, National Black MBA Association, Leadership Cleveland (‘96) and serves on the Corporate Visiting Committee at Case Western Reserve University, the board of Cuyahoga County Public Library Foundation and the advisory boards of Cleveland-based Simply Southern Sides and MAR Systems, Inc. He also served on the boards of The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, William Penn University and The African American Museum (Cleveland). Mr. Kennard has received numerous awards and has published and lectured on the use of non-hazardous materials within industrial applications and entrepreneurship.
He‘s been married to his wife, Kay, for 38 years and has two stepdaughters and 4 grandchildren. He attributes his success to the encouragement his wife continues to provide, enabling him to achieve God’s plan in their life.
Dr. James H. Liu, MD, NCMP, Board of Directors
Dr. Liu is Chair of the Departments of Reproductive Biology at Case Western Reserve University and of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University Hospitals McDonald Women’s Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio. He is the Arthur H. Bill Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was on the 1983-1988 University of California San Diego facility and served as 1988-2001 Director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Cincinnati (UC). He was Principal Investigator (PI) of the Women’s Health Initiative site at UC and is currently PI of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Human Contraceptive Trial Network at Case Western and on the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation Advisory Committee. He holds five patents on drug delivery and was a member of the FDA Advisory Committee on Reproductive Drugs. He was the 2004-2006 Vice Chair of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Gynecologic Practice and the 2005-2007 Chair of the Gynecologic Practice Bulletins Committee.He served on the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s Practice Committee for 6 years. He chaired the National Institutes of Health National Center for Research Resources Study Section from 2004-2005. He has authored than 100 publications, has served the Editorial Boards of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Fertility and Sterility, and currently serves on the Editorial Boards of Menopause and Journal of Reproductive Medicine. He is a noted expert on progestins in reproduction and in menopause. He and his wife, Lynne, have three children and six grandchildren.
Rev. Beverly Y. Scipio, Board of Directors
Beverly Yvette Scipio was a lifelong member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Ohio until she joined the Anglican Church of the Transfiguration in August 2006. She tries to live her life according to the Greatest Commandment” “To love THE LORD your GOD with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
While a member of St. Andrew’s she was active on the diocesan level and was a member of the Commission on Ministry; the Finance Committee; the Diocesan Council; the Commission on World and National Missions; the Vestry of St. Andrew’s Church; the Board of Supervisors of the St. Andrew’s Foundation; and was secretary of the Episcopal Province of the Midwest. Beverly was elected as the president of the John C. Davis Chapter of the Order of the Daughters of the King at St. Andrews, and under her leadership, it becomes the largest chapter in the Diocese of Ohio. During that time, she wrote a Bible Study Series, titled, “Women in the Life and Ministry of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ”. Additionally, she taught adult bible study at St. Andrew’s for eight years. In July 2005, she led a group of The Daughters of the King from St. Andrew’s to do missionary work in Nassau, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, where they ministered at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
In addition to working on the Episcopal diocesan, provincial and national levels, she worked on the ecumenical level. From 2002-2003, she served as the President of the Commission on Catholic Community Action for Lake and Geauga Counties which was approved by the Most Reverend Anthony Pilla, former Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland and was a trustee of the United Protestant Campus Ministries.
Her community involvement is also extensive and she served as the president of the Zonta Club of Cleveland; Program Vice President for the American Association of University Women, the Heights-Hillcrest Branch; Corporate Secretary for the Madonna Hall Nursing Home, and is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Professionally, she held management and administrative positions with The United Negro College Fund; The Young Women’s Christian Association of Cleveland; St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Center for Families and Children and Community United Head Start and Day Care, Inc. She is currently an instructor at Cuyahoga Community College and teaches GED and ESOL (English for Students of Other Languages.)
A speaker, published writer and lecturer in Biblical Studies and the African Presence in the Bible, Beverly holds the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban Studies from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts; the Master of Public Administration Degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia and a Certificate of Achievement from the Institute of Financial Education in Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. Vilma Seeberg, Board of Directors
An internationally known scholar in the field of contemporary Chinese studies and education. She is recently retired from being a tenured Assistant Professor of International-Intercultural Education in the Graduate School of Education at Kent State University. She has previously taught at Cleveland State University, the University of South Florida, and China University for Science and Technology in Hefei, China. Her first book, Literacy in China is considered a primer for all who study the field. She received her PhD in Comparative Education at the University of Hamburg, Germany.
Rev. Dr. Sean E. Tucker, Board of Directors
The most important thing about Rev. Dr. Sean E. Tucker is that he loves the Lord and God’s people! Rev. Tucker was called to pastor the historic Second Baptist Church of Mumford, New York on May 1, 2015. He has been blessed with a fruitful ministry. He has served as a missionary to the Republic of South Africa where he helped a township physically build a new church and job training center. Rev. Tucker has also been a missionary and revivalist to the African Republic of Zambia. Rev. Tucker started his pastoral ministry at the historic Antioch Baptist Church of Cleveland, Ohio where he served as Assistant Pastor under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle who now serves as President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School located in Rochester, New York. Rev. Tucker serves on the Region Board for American Baptist Churches (Rochester-Genesee).
In the secular realm, Rev. Tucker works as the Internal Controls Manager in the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) John Glenn Research Center located in Cleveland, Ohio. In this capacity, he ensures compliance with the Federal Manager’s Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA). He is also an aerospace auditor and a member of the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) which is responsible for bringing aviation, space and defense companies throughout the world together to deliver more value at all levels of the supply chain.
Rev. Tucker is currently a Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership and Prophetic Preaching candidate at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School located in Rochester, New York. He earned his Doctor of Divinity from Master’s International University of Divinity located in Evansville, Indiana. He earned his Master of Divinity degree equivalence from Ashland Theological Seminary located in Ashland, Ohio. He also holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from The George Washington University’s School of Business and Public Management located in Washington D.C. Rev. Tucker earned his undergraduate degree in Government/Political Science from Oberlin College located in Oberlin, Ohio.
Rev. Tucker is the recipient of the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a national academic scholarship awarded to select students throughout the country who have demonstrated high academic achievement and who possess exceptional leadership potential for government service and academia. He has worked as an Assistant to a British Member of Parliament in London, England (House of Commons) and studied British Literature. His career, academic studies, and religious pursuits have taken him around the world. He has lived and studied in Austria, Greece, Yugoslavia, Holland, Hungary, Germany, Italy and the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zambia. Early in his career at the age of 15, he was appointed a United States Congressional Page to the 98th Congress and worked daily with members of the United States House of Representatives, United States Senate, White House staff and the President of the United States of America.
During his federal career, Rev. Tucker also worked as a Research Analyst for the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in Washington, D.C. where he conducted research on Congressional reform proposals and some of his findings were published by the Library of Congress. He is an avid mentor to youth in his community. Rev. Tucker who is very passionate about preaching and teaching God’s word also enjoys reading, writing, water sports, and hiking. He is a sports enthusiast who enjoys football, basketball and considers himself a boxing historian. Rev. Tucker is also a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a 32nd Degree Prince Hall Mason and Shriner.
Ms. Nancy Wheaton, Board of Directors
Born in Bridgeport Connecticut, her family moved to Cleveland Heights, Ohio where her father was Associate Minister of the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland.
A graduate of Muskingum University, she received her masters degree from Case Western University. She taught kindergarten and second grade in Shaker Heights and kindergarten in Rockville, Maryland, before completing her teaching career in the Cleveland Heights- University school system. She spent a good part of a year traveling in Europe and helping in the E.B.Taylor Orphanage in the outskirts of Rome, Italy.
She was honored to be included in Outstanding Young American Women and was also a recipient of the Martha Holden Jennings award.
After retirement, she spent many hours in volunteer work with meals on wheels in Cleveland Heights and amblyopia and cataract screening for the Walk for hunger for the Hunger Network of Cleveland. She also volunteers in the children’s garden at the Botanical gardens at University Circle. For many years she coordinated the missions teams of the First Baptist Church for the summer missions trips to Nicaragua. She has been involved with Nicaragua for over forty years.
She has traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa.