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Bluestone expands, keeping focus on relationships

Adam Browning and Jack Conrad met as toddlers in Northern Kentucky. They went to grade school together, started college together and stayed friends after that.

Then, when Browning transformed his one-man creative shop into an advertising agency, bluestone creative, in 2003, he did it with Conrad, his creative co-founder.

Today, bluestone creative exists as a testament to their ability to build partnerships that last.

“We’re hell-bent on reinventing the client-agent relationship,” says Browning, who graduated from art school and turned his job at Snowshoe Mountain into bluestone’s first client project and hasn’t looked back since. Clients include napCincinnati, roadID and Red River Gorge.

He’s proud that his company has never actively sought new clients, yet has gained enough project work through word-of-mouth to bring in new employees, a responsibility neither takes lightly. While the duo started lean—they were the only employees until 2008—they now have seven employees in their downtown office on Main Street.

Employees wear many hats, in an effort to spur creativity while avoiding silos of skills and layers of job duties. In an atmosphere like that, relationships, like clients, build naturally.

 “Good creative is key,” says Conrad, who lives in Ft. Mitchell and worked in sales at Cincinnati Bell before joining Browning and making a go of it as an independent business co-founder.

Though the duo worked out of Browning’s apartment in Mt. Adams for the first few years, he now enjoys sharing space with his expanding team.

“It’s nice to be in an environment with other creative people,” says Browning, a father of two who lives in Crescent Springs.

In addition to their work at bluestone, Browning and Conrad founded The Queen City Project with Alias Imaging last year. Their collaborative efforts with Alias and SoapboxMedia led to the Cincinnati Growing Cincinnati video that wowed audience members at the CEOs for Cities conference here this spring.

Fueling their creative interests fits naturally with their less-than-orthodox mission statement: “to enjoy the scenery while we work.”

So far, Conrad reports, so good.

By Elissa Yancey
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ViableSynergy joins Health Data Consortium to harness, unleash massive healthcare data

Cincinnati-based startup ViableSynergy, a health IT commercialization firm, recently joined a new federal initiative aimed at liberating massive amounts of government-stored healthcare data to create new products and services designed to improve healthcare delivery.

The newly-formed Health Data Consortium, spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is an effort to get data housed in various government programs like Medicaid or the Department of Veteran's Affairs into the hands of health innovators. The data, scrubbed of personally identifying information, could be used to create more effective healthcare services and help providers make better care decisions.

"In Medicaid services, you can look at claims data like the distribution of race and the types of claims," explains Sunnie Southern, founder and CEO of ViableSynergy. "You could look at that information across a map and visualize it.

"You could see if more African-Americans have heart attacks in a certain area, or more Caucasians have back surgeries, and make a decision based on that. If there is a high concentration of Asians who have heart attacks in an area, maybe you could put a clinic in that place. You could help reduce health disparities."

As an affiliate of the Health Data Consortium, ViableSynergy will work to communicate the needs of the region to the consortium.

"What does the community need, in the broad sense? What tools and resources do we in the real-world need -- NKU, business incubators or UC -- to liberate these massive data sets that are released? We'll be working as a conduit to answer those questions," Southern says.

Other members of the Consortium include California Health Care Foundation, Consumer Reports, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Gallup/Healthways.

"(Health and Human Service CTO) Todd Parks, whose brainchild was the open government initiative, really wants to use health data to spur innovation and entrepreneurship," Southern says.

By Feoshia Henderson
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Bunbury gets Techbury twist this weekend

As world choirs make their exits and the inaugural Bunbury Music Festival launches July 13-15, visitors can supplement their music fix with new technologies and a celebration of entrepreneurial talent – from app developers to DJs – during Techbury, which takes place in a large air-conditioned tent just west of the L&N Bridge.

Like other music festivals that combine music with technology (SXSW, Coachella), Bunbury launches with a tech partnership that features the combined talents of seed-stage funder CincyTechUSA and R&D from digital marketing brand-makers at Possible Worldwide.

The Techbury tent will house interactive games, cool consumer products to demo and stage programming that includes local technology startup pitches, local band interviews and local DJ competitions. And did we mention air conditioning? And beer. Yes, beer.

“Possible Worldwide was very eager to get involved with the festival because our agency is all about celebrating the relationship between creativity and technology,” says Meghann Craig, associate communications manager at Possible. “That's our sweet spot.”

“For CincyTech, participating in the Techbury portion of Bunbury is about showcasing the startup innovation happening in our region with the tens of thousands of people who attend,” says Carolyn Pione Micheli, CincyTech communications director.

With programming both on and off-stage in the tent, Techbury offers a cool place to experience the festival in a more hands-on way. “Techbury allows you to engage with the Festival in a more intimate setting and provides an experience that is unique and different from traditional music festivals,” says Craig.

Techbury highlights include:

• Possible Labs’ “interactions gallery” with Human Pong and other Microsoft Kinect-based games.

• Friday’s Startup Pitch Wars, a battle of 16 local startups that deliver “rocket pitches,” with the winner determined by crowd vote and prizes offered by The Greater Cincinnati Venture Association and Bunbury.

• Saturday’s All Night Party Local Band Showcase, featuring interviews with local bands moderated by Chelsea VandeDrink of WVXU and aired on the station.

• Sunday’s Bunbury Battle of the Cincinnati DJs, which pits four local DJs against each other.

By Elissa Yancey
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Instrument Life connects musicians, instrument buyers, sellers

On the eve of the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati, a virtual marketplace for musicians is makings it debut.

Instrument Life, a Cincinnati start-up, links musicians, instrument retailers and vendors, repair shops and schools to pull together the music world's many pieces.

"(In the industry) nobody talks to each other," says Instrument Life founder Chris Sturm. "Manufactures don't talk to retailers, retailers don't talk to repair shops. There are all these different segments that are part of the same industry, but they don't have a vehicle to communicate.

"We tie them together in a Facebook style, and we have business apps to add to free accounts."

Instrument Life, which is part of the new UpTech business accelerator in Northern Kentucky, is set to kickoff its membership drive at the World Choir Games July 4. Sturm moved up the launch date, originally set for the fall, to capture the worldwide audience of music performers who will be in the city for the 10-day competition. A fuller version of the site is set for the fall.

Sturm has a passion for music, having played in a band in local bars around Cincinnati as a teenager. He eventually started a career in software development, and Instrument Life combines his talents.

"I was into the technology side of things, but there was something about music that pulled me back in," he says. "Cincinnati used to be a very hot music scene, and it's kind of cooled off. Our ultimate goal is to remind people that music is cool, and we want to launch and grow in Cincinnati."

Instrument Life musicians make a free profile where they can make lists of their instruments and devices, track instrument history, keep warranty information, upload band performances and post them to Facebook. There will be forums and other ways to meet up virtually to do everything from talking about performances to finding someone to repair an instrument.

Sellers, vendors and repair shops can purchase Instrument Life apps that will help them run and promote their businesses.

The company is working with some of the area's large music shops, including Willis music, to pilot the site, Sturm says. Band directors from several dozen area schools are also set to use the tool.

By Feoshia Henderson
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NKY Chamber pairs American business mentors, African leaders in Innovation Summit

The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce will be part of a nationwide Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership that pairs African leaders with American business mentors.

An Innovation Summit started June 14 in Washington, D.C. and featured sessions with business leaders and entrepreneurs. The program is part of the Obama Administration's President's Young African Leaders Initiative, which identifies and fosters relationships with young African leaders. It's aim is to "promote business innovation, investment and social responsibility activities in Africa."

Starting this week, the African youth with fan out across the country learning about American culture and the workplace. In addition to Northern Kentucky, they'll travel to Seattle, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Miami, Huntsville, Denver and Chicago.

The Chamber, in conjunction with the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council, will sponsor 21-year-old Mwaka Mukwasa, spokeswoman for the Young African Leaders Initiative or YALI. Her organization's mission is to "engage, support and empower Zambian youth and young leaders to enhance civic engagement through promotion of education, good governance, principled leadership and business skills."

Starting June 25, Mwaka Mukwasa will be spending a few days with the Chamber and a couple of days with Junior Achievement of Cincinnati, which develops youth workplace, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills.

"She'll be here learning about engaging young women and girls," says Amanda Dixon, manger of workforce talent solutions at the Chamber. "She wants to better connect them with career information and sources of education. She'll be looking at what we do at the Chamber, the resources we provide, and will have a set of best practices to take back home,"

By Feoshia Henderson
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UC collaboration leads to biodiesel research

Fueled by a US EPA grant, University of Cincinnati faculty and students are leading an effort to transform cooking grease into biodiesel on a regional scale.

This project is a collaboration among UC, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) and Bluegrass Biodiesel of Falmouth, Ky. The partners will test three methods to extract oil from the grease, including one the University is planning to patent.

Longer term plans are that this oil could be used in a biodiesel mixture to power diesel equipment and vehicles.

Grease hauling is an industry vital to restaurants, which pay haulers to dispose of used cooking grease. But the grease has to disposed of, usually in landfills.

"MSD receives grease from haulers," says project leader Mingming Lu, UC associate professor of Environmental Engineering. "The grease -- a mix of solid and liquid -- are from restaurant grease traps. MSD also has grease from the waste water it receives. The two kinds of grease are mixed, skimmed and condensed. This is called trap grease. It's stored in a pond and then sent to a landfill."

The EPA awarded the biodiesel effort an $87,000 grant during the the 8th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in May. The project was chosen from among 300 presented by college and university innovators across the country.

Up to seven UC students will be involved in the effort, Lu says. It's set to start in September and should last two years. It will include pilot demonstrations and a 100-gallon pilot treatment facility in collaboration with MSD.

"This is technology verification. We will try several technologies and see which one is the most effective for MSD," Lu says.

By Feoshia Henderson
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Cincinnati's CrowdSpark makes online contest creation easy, affordable

Online contests allow businesses and brands to find new customers, increase awareness and engage with followers through social media.

"This is a really a fast-growing space used to create media exposure to engagement," says Cincinnati entrepreneur Elizabeth Edwards, founder of the Cincinnati Innovates business competition.

But paying someone to create a custom contest can get pricey, and there's not much guarantee you'll get the results you want. So Edwards launched a new web product, CrowdSpark, designed to make contest creation more effective and accessible for businesses on tight budgets.

"A custom-designed platform and a management platform could cost $15,000 to create," she says. "Instead of paying a web developer to create a contest, for as little as $250 you could create your own."

Developers can also use CrowdSpark so that they can spend less time on code, and more time on creating a great contest, Edwards adds.

"We make it easy and economical to create and run those contests," she says.

Edwards is using CrowdSpark, now in Beta, to run the ongoing Cincinnati Innovates Contest, which wraps up July 15.

"I've learned a lot in the last four years of running Cincinnati Innovates, which has become of the most successful regional online contests in the world," she says. "But one of the things I learned not to do is spend a lot of money to get the results you want."

CrowdSpark offers social media plug-ins, analytics, contest entry forms, custom legal rules, tech support and options to create a custom domain and accept paid entries. There will also be a best practices guide focusing on creating and managing contests.

It costs between $250 and $2,000 to start using CrowdSpark, depending on the options it includes. Hosting fees range from $100 to $200 each month the contest runs.

By Feoshia Henderson
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CincyTech plans inaugural Great Lakes Venture Fair

CincyTech is working with its counterparts TechColumbus and JumpStart in Cleveland, as well the Ohio Venture Association and the Ohio Capital Fund, to organize the inaugural Great Lakes Venture Fair, Oct. 17-18, in downtown Cleveland.
The Great Lakes Venture Fair is a day-and-a-half event that will gather investors and high-potential, venture-backable companies from across Ohio and the Midwest. It builds on the success of the Ohio Capital Fund’s Early Stage Summit convention, which was held in Columbus for seven years.
Early-bird conference registration, at a rate of $150, is available until July 1.
The GLVF also will follow the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds’ national conference “Advancing Innovation: Seeding Tomorrow’s Opportunities,” being held at the same location, Oct. 15-17.
Programming for the GLVF will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 1 p.m. with a discussion on corporate venture partners, followed by a joint reception with the NASVF addressing the state of the Ohio Capital Fund.
Thursday will include pitches from the region’s best startup information technology and bioscience companies, presentations on regional investment activity and conversations about building future growth in startups and investing in the Midwest.
Additionally, if your company is interested in presenting at the venture fair, applications for company presentations will open in mid-June at www.greatlakesventurefair.org.
Sponsors for the first Great Lakes Venture Fair include the Ohio Capital Fund, Early Stage Partners, CincyTech, Edison Ventures, Draper Triangle and Thompson Hine. For sponsorship opportunities, interested companies can contact admin@greatlakesventurefair.org or visit the website to download the Sponsor Prospectus.
The conference is providing access to hotel rooms at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at a discounted rate on a first come, first served basis.

By CincyTech

One More Pallet helps small shippers get deals

A new Cincinnati company is a banking on a simple idea whose success will all be in the details. One More Pallet aims to link small shippers with truck drivers who have a little space to spare as they're delivering large loads.

It will work like a bit like Priceline.com where small shippers, who need to move just one or two pallets, can enter their shipping information, along with how much they're willing to pay. Through One More Pallet's custom software system, shippers will be matched with carriers willing to accept the shipment. It's a win for the carriers, who can earn a little extra money, and for the the shippers, who can save as much as 50 percent off normal shipping costs.

"We're recruiting trucking firms and customers who are flexible in their delivery schedules," says company president and local entreprenuer Bill Cunningham. He and Sandy Ambrose, of Without A Doubt Warehouse in Fairfield, are the company co-founders. "If you can be flexible, you save a lot of money.

"Sandy came up with the idea. We were talking, and she said, 'I've got some excess capacity on my trucks and one or two more pallets on them would me make more profitable."

Since the conversation that sparked the idea, Cunningham and Ambrose have been working on the business idea, including the software system that links shippers and carriers. The software is currently in the pilot stage, with plans for a regional launch this summer. Those interested can get an invitation to the system through the One More Pallet website.

"We're going through the customer development process to make sure that our customers get a great experience every time," Cunningham says.

The company is getting a lot of interest. It was one of eight chosen for UpTech, a new business informatics incubator launched by several Northern Kentucky institutions, including Northern Kentucky University, Tri-Ed, ezone and Vision 2015. It's an intense, six-month accelerator program that includes $100,000 in funding. Companies selected to participate will also be working with students and faculty at NKU's College of Informatics.

It also was selected by the Kauffman Foundation as a finalist in the Startup Open in 2011 from more than 3,000 entries worldwide.

By Feoshia Henderson
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Define My Style recruiting 500 fashionistas

Define My Style, a Cincinnati startup and an online community of next-generation designers and fashionistas, is seeking 500 Design Assistants from across the country to discover and share their sense of style and design, create and publish fashion-oriented content, interact with other members of the community and bring their designs to life.

The program is looking for young women ages 14-22 who are passionate about style, want to become a part of fashion and have a drive to help others. ??Young women can participate from home and the program is accepting nominees on a rolling basis.

?Design Assistants should be highly motivated and eager to share their opinion. They will:

•    Lead and influence more than 50,000 DefineMyStyle.com members;
•    Connect with fashion-industry professionals, including stylists, designers, models and bloggers;
•    Be granted first access to trends, tools and brand partnerships;
•    Develop a personal brand;
•    Write blog posts, snap design-inspiring photos, submit videos and contribute to social media;
•    Build their resume for college.

In return, Design Assistants can earn points, badges (credits), swag and free bags from DefineMyStyle.com.??"I'm so excited to be one of the first Design Assistants,” says Kate Richey, a Cincinnati high school sophomore and a DMS Design Assistant. “We're getting to learn about fashion and design, and then we are given projects around what we've just learned. It allows us each to be creative and have fun. It's great to know that what we say and do makes an impact on the entire community.” ??

Define My Style Design assistants each will receive an elevated page on the DMS website where their accomplishments and profile will be housed.

The idea for Define My Style came to founder and CEO Kristine Sturgeon in 2007, when her oldest daughter was getting ready to head back to school. Unable to decide on a school bag that gave her the functions she needed and was a design she loved, Sturgeon’s daughter was at a standstill. She knew exactly what she wanted out of a product – as most consumers do – but brands sold commercially weren’t interested in listening to her desires. Sturgeon saw a business opportunity.

The website has now grown into a robust community of more than 50,000 members that allows teens to bring their ideas to life as they determine the role they want to engage in social commerce: including buyer, designer, marketer, critic and influencer of products. ??“The Design Assistant program offers a unique ability to play a role in fashion and influence the DMS community,” says Sturgeon. “At Define My Style, our goal is to provide right tools and connections to this creative next generation of leaders and influencers in the world of fashion. We are excited about all we have in store in the coming months.”

??If you know a teen you think would be perfect for the program, you can nominate them for the program.

Or, young women who want to directly apply to be a Design Assistant can submit their applications through the Define My Style Web site.  

By Sarah Blazak for CincyTech

MakeupHaulic puts all the best beauty tips in one place

Go to YouTube, eHow or the Facebook pages of major beauty brands, and you'll find thousands of videos featuring everything from how to apply crackle nail polish, use an eyelash curler or apply mascara. There are no shortages of product reviews, either..

These video blogs, or vlogs, help many women decide whether or not to purchase a new product, and how to use something new or unfamiliar, explains Brinda Chattergee, a Cincinnati entrepreneur.

"It's mostly young women who are sharing information about purchases, and coming together around information," she says.

Chattergee, who has a graphic design background, discovered the beauty vlogging world while researching product design for a beauty product. During her research, she thought it would be great if there was a site dedicate to the best of the videos, both professional and amateur, where people could quickly find and create the type of content they wanted.

That's the idea behind her new website, MakeupHaulic. Chattergee describes the site, which is not yet public, as a curated destination site for all things beauty. In addition to featuring existing content, the site will also offer tutorials for those who want to become beauty vloggers. She plans to feature some sponsored content as well.

"It will feature a blend of normal folks as well as professionals," she says. "It will be very democratic. Anyone can participate."

MakeupHaulic is one of eight companies chosen for UpTech, a new business informatics incubator launched by several Northern Kentucky institutions, including Northern Kentucky University, Tri-Ed, ezone and Vision 2015. It's an intense, six-month accelerator program that includes $100,000 in funding. Companies selected to participate will also be working with students and faculty at NKU's College of Informatics.

During her time in the incubator, Chattergee plans to launch the site and rework its design or the user experience in response to user feedback.

"The launch is pretty immediate at this point. We'll be taking it to the next level in response to feedback. It's a very important phase and an exciting time for all of us involved," she says.

By Feoshia Henderson
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Metro creates greener bus fleet

This week, Metro introduces five new buses to its fleet. These buses employ a new technology named "mini-hybrid."
The buses aren't smaller, nor are they hybrid, but they do get almost the same MPG as hybrids, as well as cost $240,000 less than a hybrid bus. The technology was developed by Engineered Machined Products and uses an electrically powered cooling fan, which would normally be powered hydraulically and take horsepower from the engine. The mini-hybrid buses still run on diesel fuel, but get gas mileage closely comparable to that of a hybrid. 
"It's basically like running the air-conditioner in your car without using the power it takes from the engine," says Daron Brown, quality assurance manager for Metro. 
Metro is one of the first transit agencies in the country to obtain a Clean Fuels Grant, which is normally given for the purchase of hybrid buses, for the mini-hybrid technology. Brown put together a report suggesting that the new technology will give a six to seven percent increase on fuel economy compared to traditional diesel buses, while hybrid buses get about 10 percent better MPG. 
The Federal Transit Authority requires that buses must have at least a 12-year life before being replaced and Metro now has 70 at the 12-year mark. With a total fleet of 345 buses, Metro looks to replace 30 buses per year and has 40 more mini-hybrid buses joining the fleet in coming months. The money saved by purchasing mini-hybrid buses will allow Metro to replace more old buses and create a greener fleet. 
"From now on, all of the buses we purchase will have this technology," Brown says. "We try to get 30 to 35 new buses each year. If we get funding that says we must purchase a hybrid bus, obviously we will, but the mini-hybrid buses give us a cheaper option to replace buses with a more environmentally friendly option." 

TEDxCincy explores the intersection of technology, artisianship

The First TedxCincy, in October of 2010, presented inspiring speakers from varied career paths talking about their passions. On May 10, the second TedXCincy event explores the theme: "Plugged and Unplugged: The Crossroads of Technology and Artisanship."
"It's always nice to have a topic that has some kind of friction or tension," says David Volker, TedxCincy organizer. "We wanted to come up with something that shows the entire spectrum of Cincinnati." 
The search for speakers starts with the organizing team's personal networks and then grows from there. The team consists of Volker, Emily Venter and Michael Bergman, all from LPK, and Mary Riffe of Procter & Gamble. 
"We try to search through our networks and find people who are off the beaten path," Volker says. "A lot of times, conferences focus on the cool, new, tech-based things, but we want to also explore what people are creating with their hands." 
Volker and the rest of the team are bringing in artists like Jesse Mooney-Bullock, a puppet maker from Northside, Renee Koerner, a local caviar producer, Queen City Project, a  group of photographers and designers showing Cincinnati through a different lens. Also on the schedule are Christopher Erb, vice president of brand marketing for EA Sports, and Steve Fulton of GE Aviation. Soapbox Managing Editor Elissa Yancey will kick off the afternoon of talks.
"We work really hard to uncover some of the gems in the city that may be otherwise passed over," Volker says. 
While there will be videos, swag and other activities for attendees, Volker says that the speakers make the event what it is. 
"We work really hard to make it a diverse line up of speakers," Volker says. "There will be over 500 attendees and we want to have at least one speaker that connects with each person that attends." 
By Evan Wallis

Startup event highlights investment in region

Local startups raised nearly $67 million in seed- and venture-capital funding in 2011 – a 26 percent increase over 2010. 
David Willbrand, a partner at Thompson Hine and chair of the firm’s Early Stage and Emerging Companies practice, will speak about the increase in startup activity and investment in the region at the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association’s State of Startup Investment luncheon, Wednesday, April 25.  
The luncheon also will feature three short startup pitches, a keynote talk and a panel discussion by local investors on the state of startup investing in Greater Cincinnati. The event is being held from 11 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. at Mainstay Rock Bar, 301 W. Fifth St. More information and a link to register can be found here.
A total of 29 startups received venture investments in Cincinnati last year. The majority – 41 percent – of deals made in Southwest Ohio last year were in information technology companies, including batterii, Blackbook HR, Define My Style, Ilesfay Technology Group and ThinkVine.
The other leading category was health care/bioscience. One new health-care startup was Airway Therapeutics, a company based on 10 years of research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center that is developing proteins that significantly improve lung development in premature infants. Another was eMerge Health Solutions, which automates documentation during treatments at ambulatory surgery centers. 
eMerge is a software-as-a-service provider. Other startup companies in this sector that received initial investments last year include SoMoLend, a social and mobile peer-to-peer lending technology. Balanced Insight, which provides business intelligence software to help other companies improve collaboration and productivity through intelligent data-driven decisions, received a follow-on round. 
A trend that seems to be growing is investment in social-sharing startups – companies that provide content based on a user’s interests and location that the user in turn shares via his or her social networks. The three companies in this sector that received investment in 2011 were Girls Guide To, VenturePax and VenueAgent. 
By Sarah Blazak

Public Allies grows local leaders

Mildred Fallen is something of a Cincinnati historian. A local journalist, you can often see the product of her verbal explorations of Cincinnati's hip-hop scene in the pages of CityBeat and other publications. Her pieces often reflect something that's been lost to time or merely overlooked. And it's with this perspective that Fallen approaches her other, newer calling: social work.
In fall of 2011, Fallen joined Public Allies, a non-profit organization under the umbrella of AmeriCorps and a program of the local nonprofit Bridges for a Just Community. Allies' goal is to turn socially driven, passionate people into the next generation of leaders. Allies partner with other non-profits in Cincinnati to help with programming, training and community building.
"I had never heard of the program," says Fallen, who joined in 2011. But she was swept up in the movement. "They believe in enticing young people to approach leadership in their own way. It's not a cookie cutter or corporate way."
Fallen was placed with two non-profits after joining Public Allies — The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Bridges. She splits her time between the two groups, focusing her energies on engaging the broader community. She manages social media, like the organizations' Facebook and Twitter accounts, blogs for both organizations and circulates information to demographics that could benefit from the organizations' resources.
Fallen also is a natural master of the "teachable moment." After the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teenager killed in February 2012, she helped organize a race forum at Woodward High School called "What's Race Got to Do With It?" that allowed residents to have a broad discussion about race and class in America. Fallen says that by engaging the region, you develop a more just community.
"People talked about how violence affects people like Trayvon, but also other people in Cincinnati as well," Fallen says.
During her tenure at the Freedom Center, she also has helped organize a capacity event with activist and author Angela Davis that attracted nearly 800 people — 600 in person and another 200 tuned in on UStream. She also pioneered a blog within the Freedom Center called "Queen City Conductor" that explores the little-known accomplishments of Cincinnatians of color.
Fallen says she wouldn't have been able to accomplish what she has in the last year without Public Allies. "The biggest component that people don't know about Public Allies is the training we receive," she says. "This is the first time I've really had a lot of peer support. I'm looking at myself professionally. I've been able to do a lot in a short amount of
Fallen also is part of a community service project in partnership with the Strive Partnership. For the last two years, Cincinnati has won the America's Promise Alliance award, which means that the city in considered one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People. Together with her team, she is hosting community conversations to find out the public's opinion about Cincinnati's accountability in areas where we were noted as being excellent.
Fallen's term of service with Public Allies ends June 30, and her experience has given her a lot for look forward to when she moves on. She says her experience leading up to and throughout Public Allies has made her want to be a social historian of the city while maintaining service projects and engaging the larger community.
"I can actually say things like I have time management skills," Fallen says. "I'm successful at completing these projects. I'm confident that once I leave Public Allies, these are strengths I can really be excited about sharing."

By Ryan McLendon
385 Downtown Articles | Page: | Show All
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