Gabriella Kreuz, Cleveland Indians In-Game Host, 26
You know her bubbly personality from the Jumbotron at Progressive Field. But before taking over the park, Kreuz launched Love Doesn’t Shove as a senior at John Carroll University to raise awareness of teen dating violence after her own abusive relationship. Using her experiences as a springboard to create dialogue, Kreuz aims to bring attention, education and helpful resources to those in need. The singer also released her first song “My World” on iTunes last year.
Larry Nance Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers Forward, 26
Nance is just a kid from Akron. Well, kind of. After being traded from Los Angeles to Cleveland in 2018, Nance Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps by wearing his retired No. 22 jersey, yet made a name for himself by picking up a four-year contract extension in October. Off the court, the 6-foot-9 forward raises awareness for Crohn’s disease through his Athletes vs. Crohn's and Colitis Foundation by discussing his own experience since being diagnosed with the disease at 16.
Geraldo Rivera, Newsradio WTAM 1100 Radio Host, 75
The veteran journalist has had a storied career: an original member of Good Morning America, plus a 11-year-run as host of The Geraldo Rivera Show and various Fox News shows such as Geraldo At Large. Let’s not forget Rivera’s turns on Dancing With The Stars and Celebrity Apprentice where he shared screen time with his friend, Donald Trump. This past September, Rivera announced that he would join WTAM to host a daily one-hour talk show, Geraldo in Cleveland, in addition to a weekly podcast.
Darius Simmons, Musician, 18
Simmons has something to say. But he’s going to let you know through his music. He was born with just three fingers on his right hand and one on his left, and had both legs amputated when he was 18 months old. But that didn’t stop him from teaching himself how to play the piano so well that he was invited to Carnegie Hall to perform alongside pianist Yiruma when he was 15 years old.
Katherine Dolan, Cleveland Metroparks Rangers Chief, 39
Dolan is breaking barriers while keeping the peace. In July, she was sworn in as the first female chief of the Cleveland Metroparks Rangers. A former captain in the Cleveland Heights Police Department, Dolan oversees rangers that keep citizens safe as they explore the Cleveland Metroparks’ 23,000 acres.
David Njoku, Cleveland Browns Tight End, 22
Being tasked with protecting a rookie quarterback one play and catching passes from him the next proves that flexibility is essential for an NFL tight end. On HBO’s Hard Knocks, viewers saw how the 22-year-old harnesses his explosive speed and powerful 6-foot-4, 245-pound frame: yoga. Njoku uses meditation to help him confront the mental pressures of adjusting to the NFL lifestyle. This off-field regiment and his Jersey City upbringing makes the former high school high jumper one of the most interesting and promising young players at one of the most interesting positions in football today.
Insoo Hyun, Bioethicist, 48
Hyun is a professor of bioethics and philosophy at Case Western Reserve University and the director of the university’s Stem Cell Ethics Center, where he weighs the implications of ongoing work within the melds of biology and medicine. The recipient of a Fulbright Research Award in 2005, Hyun has delved into the ethics of human-animal creations — termed “chimeras” — and regenerative medicine.
Kathryn Hahn, Actress, 45
As an actor, Hahn has done it all: improvising her way through the classic comedy Step Brothers, transforming the lovable sidekick role in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and even scoring an Emmy Nomination with Transparent. Now in her 40s, Hahn is grabbing some of her juiciest leads yet with upcoming HBO comedy Mrs. Fletcher and Netflix indie Private Life — while still finding time to return home to Cleveland for political activism.
Elizabeth Noreika, Fox 8 News Anchor, 35
Noreika is the 7 p.m. anchor on Fox 8 News. After growing up in Geauga County, Noreika studied at Ohio University and graduated with degrees in political science and telecommunications. While working as a reporter and anchor at Oak Hill, West Virginia, she reported on the Upper Big Branch mining disaster where 29 people died. Since returning to Cleveland in 2016, Noreika has continued to tell important stories, such her recent sit-down with the youngest person in the U.S. to receive a face transplant.
Rachel Kingsbury, The Grocery Owner, 32
Kingsbury opened the Grocery in 2015 in Ohio City. Stocked with farm-fresh produce, meat, milk and cheese and artisan ingredients, the small space provides residents with healthy-eating options. In early October, Kingsbury launched her second location inside the Quarter at West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue. Triple the size of her original location, this new market gives Kingsbury indoor and outdoor seating, room to grow her ready-to-eat menu and more.
Cheryl Stephens, Cuyahoga County Councilwoman, 59
Stephens is a rising star in local Democratic politics. She previously served as mayor of Cleveland Heights, worked for the Cuyahoga Land Bank and is currently the CEO of the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corp. After winning a competitive primary to represent Cuyahoga County’s District 10, she is running unopposed for the seat on Nov. 6.
Mike Clevinger, Cleveland Indians Pitcher, 28
Clevinger is an iconoclast, challenging baseball's old-school tradition of conformity with his long locks, colorful cleats, tattoo sleeve and hippie tendencies. But there’s not much critics can say about the 27-year-old’s on-field performance after a 13-8 season with 207 strikeouts and 3.02 ERA in 2018.
Suncere Ali Shakur, Activist, 47
Shakur was inspired to help create the Wolfpack Gunshot Response Team after hearing about an organization in Chicago that trains young people to respond to traumatic injuries. With more than 500 shootings a year in Cleveland, his goal is to mobilize and empower a group of “young intelligent people of color,” outfitting them with trauma kits to respond to gunshot, knife and bomb wounds before EMS or law enforcement arrives.
David Resnik, Mini Stadium Architect, 37
Resnik is what happens when the kid who likes sports, Legos and model airplanes goes to Kent State University for an architecture degree. Handcrafting incredibly detailed models of stadiums such as Progressive Field, Boston’s Fenway Park and Houston’s Minute Maid Park, Resnik hits a home run for baseball fans looking to catch a small piece of America’s pastime. He’s currently working on his 13th model — Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
Anthony Zappola, Chef, 39
Zappola moved back to Northeast Ohio from Las Vegas in October 2017 — and opened two popular Cleveland restaurants in less than six months. He’s the culinary creative force behind Lox, Stock and Brisket in University Heights, a new take on traditional Jewish delis, and Rice Bowl, a Southern-meets-Asian food stand at the new Ohio City Galley. Following stints in New York, LA and Dallas, the hometown boy says he and his food are here to stay.
Reggie Fields, Entrepreneur, 12
This 12-year-old is turning his Maple Heights lawn-mowing business into a local empire. This summer, the kid-trepreneur was mowing a customer’s lawn when a neighbor reported him to the police in what is suspected to be a racially motivated complaint. When the story went viral, a fundraiser to support Reggie Boyz Lawn Service raised more than $48,000, giving Fields the opportunity to buy new equipment, cut even more lawns and shake off the haters.
Sonia Winner, Cleveland Museum Of Natural History President And CEO, 55
Winner is the 10th director of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the 98-year history of the University Circle institution. Winner will carry out the $150 million expansion and renovation the museum announced in 2015 with the hopes of completing the project in time for the institution’s centennial in 2020.
Shana Black, Black Girl In The CLE Creator, 41
Black is the creator of Black Girl in CLE, a blog and podcast collective that showcases Cleveland to African-American women. She highlights events and experiences around town that are often not marketed to women of color. Her blog also provides advice and tips on dating, careers and more.
Angela Flowers, Making A Difference Consulting Co-Owner, 38
Flowers is the co-owner of Making A Difference Consulting. She works to provide mental health services and counseling to adolescents and summer camps, as well as professional development to Northeast Ohio educators, youth and families. The curriculum she created to help teenage girls build self-esteem and coping skills will be used in schools throughout the area this winter.
Sarah Horbol, Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Winner, 32
The Westlake resident finished first in the women’s full marathon during the 41st Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Then on Oct. 7, Horbol ran in the Twin Cities Marathon in a time of 2:42:58, which qualified her for the 2020 Olympic Trials. She plans on traveling to Atlanta in February 2020 to compete against other Olympic hopefuls.
Will Sanchez, Gallery Owner, 46
Sanchez opened La Cosecha Galeria this summer in the Stockyard neighborhood. But the origins of the gallery began in 2004 when Sanchez walked into the small convenience store that previously occupied the space, ready to rob its husband-and-wife owners. But once inside, he couldn’t go through with it. After getting out of jail, he worked on his art, made a name for himself and opened Gallery 1299 on West Ninth Street. When he saw the convenience store space available earlier this year, he had to buy it.
Harlan Sands, Cleveland State University President, 55
Sands began his term as the president of Cleveland State University this past June. Sands brings experience from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Louisville and more. Prior to his career in higher education, Sands practiced law as an assistant public defender in Miami and served on active duty for more than a decade in the U.S. Navy, where he received two Naval Commendation Medals during Operation Desert Storm.
Cautious Clay, Musician, 25
Behind the stage name is Josh Karpeh, a North Coast native who’s riding his soulful croon to national recognition. The irrepressibly cool R&B singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist has had a banner 2018, releasing his buzzy EP Blood Type, performing on John Mayer’s Instagram Live show and recording his own NPR Tiny Desk Concert.
Ella Tryon, Philanthropist, 9
Tryon is a humanitarian, a philanthropist and a giver of joy. The 9-year-old started “Help Me Color A Rainbow” after not being able to color during a hospital visit due to the pediatric ward’s lack of crayons. Through her nonprofit organization, Tryon has donated tens of thousands of crayons to children’s hospitals throughout the United States.
Erich Hooper, Urban Farmer, 60
Hooper is one of Cleveland’s original urban farmers. Since he started Hooper Farm in Tremont in 1994, the Lincoln-West High School graduate has been on a mission to grow delicious crops and teach young people the life skills they need to succeed in the world, one seed at a time.
Mark Naymik, Cleveland.com Columnist, 52
Naymik has been a crusading reporter in Cleveland for decades and writes a must-read metro column for cleveland.com. His recent reporting on Cleveland city councilman Ken Johnson (namesake of the city’s swankiest recreation center) has brought to light questionable financial practices in Johnson’s ward. A film producer, his work has been shown at the Cleveland International Film Festival and the St. Louis International Film Festival.
Alana Belle, Community Organizer, 27
Belle puts the active in activist. Focusing on reproductive justice and racial equity, the fiercely dedicated community organizer and advocate was named Cleveland’s 2018 United State of Women Ambassador, one of 20 nationwide taking action to promote gender equality. The honor comes after a record of compassionate community service, from work- ing with Neighborhood Connections and New Voices Cleveland to acting as a Preterm Cleveland patient advocate.
Yuval Brisker, Entrepreneur
Brisker may be a technologist and entrepreneur, but he puts the customer before the coding. Co-founder and former CEO and chairman of TOA Technologies, Brisker recently launched Mezu, a mobile money app that puts privacy first by allowing to customers to give and get money without exposing their personal information to the world.
Chris Webb, Poet, 29
The spoken word poet, discovered his passion for the arts on Cleveland’s East Side. A graduate of the Cleveland School of the Arts, he furthered his education at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and the California Institute of the Arts. After starting his career in LA, he returned after hearing stories of violence and hardship from his hometown. Now he performs all over the world in churches, schools and more and is currently finishing a U.S. tour called the Poets in Autumn Tour.
Courtenay Finn, Museum Of Contemporary Art Cleveland Chief Curator, 37
Finn is the new chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. Finn, a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, is slated to guide MOCA Cleveland’s curatorial vision beyond the museum’s 50th anniversary and lead the newly established Gund Foundation Curatorial Fellowship, a two-year appointment for an emerging curator from an underrepresented community in the contemporary art and museum fields.
Editor's Note: Click the names to read full write ups on each of the Most Interesting People. The articles will be posted periodically throughout January and the link will appear when the story is live.