YNPN Cleveland Member Allison Retter describes her interests by saying: “I love to run. I basically run, work, and sleep.” Yet this hardly covers the scope of her engagement in Cleveland and its nonprofit community. A native Clevelander, Allison grew up in South Euclid and currently lives in Shaker Square, and she’s spent her whole career working in local nonprofits. In fact, she says the best part of YNPN Cleveland is “meeting other passionate young professionals with a love for our city and community.”
Since 2013, Allison has worked as the Marketing and Development Coordinator for the Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland (JFSA). JFSA works to strengthen families and individuals regardless of religious affiliation or financial status, and Allison’s role there involves coordinating effective marketing and community outreach efforts to promote the agency’s services and programs. Prior to joining JFSA, she worked with the Lake/Geauga Educational Assistance Foundation (LEAF) and as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Annual Conference of the Society of Photographic Education.
Serving a mission is important to Allison, which makes her a great communicator for a nonprofit like JFSA. However, she came to JFSA by chance—her background is in Art History, with a B.F.A. in Art History and a minor in Anthropology from Ohio University and an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from Case Western Reserve University. Though, after graduation, she sought a job in the arts, her work at JFSA to educate the public about the diverse and life-saving services they provide gives her a sense of purpose and accomplishment. She says: “It’s about making a difference in the community and feeling connected to something larger than just yourself.”
Outside of work, as mentioned above, Allison loves to run! She has completed five half-marathons, and she recently completed a 20-mile race. She finds the running community inspiring and supportive. Allison also likes spending time outdoors. She hiked the Grand Canyon a few years ago, which she declares “amazing,” and she’s planning a trip to hike and photograph the Great Smoky Mountains this fall. Good hiking and great restaurants are her idea of an excellent vacation, but Los Angeles is the only place she returns to again and again. Her brother lives there, and the city always provides her with new sights and experiences.
Though she enjoys traveling, Allison truly loves Shaker Square, which she says now feels like home. She loves to see the neighborhood thrive, and she enjoys that there is always something exciting to do. This, perhaps, is also what draws her to YNPN Cleveland—she cites the organization’s diverse membership as a good fit for her interests. Allison says that everyone in YNPN Cleveland “brings a different perspective even though we all have similar goals, and I think that fosters growth and new ideas.” If you're interested in talking more with Allison, feel free to reach out through her LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/in/aretter.