Chief Operating Officer
Current / Past Place of Employment:
Currently works at Greater Cincinnati Foundation for 4 years.
Previously at the Health Collaborative for 14 years.
Years in the Region:
I have been in the region for about 25 years
Am originally from Ghana – born there and raised in Paris, France.
First and only Chief Operating Officer in GCF’s history. In partnership with the CEO, I provide day to day leadership and vision for GCF. I am responsible for developing a high performing culture and shifting the organizational mindset to drive growth, transformation and results. I also had the opportunity to lead the design and construction of a new space for GCF in partnership with our CFO.
Previously, Dora was Senior Vice President of the Health Collaborative where she managed large scale healthcare improvement initiatives for diverse groups of stakeholders working together toward defined common goals. Graduate of Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s C-Change, WE Lead, WE Success and Leadership Cincinnati. Serves on several boards including the Council on Aging, Episcopal Retirement Services, Springer School and OneSource. Awarded the Business Courier’s Women Who Mean Business award in 2018.
What makes you uniquely YOU?
Well first and foremost I am from Ghana - I am the daughter of a diplomat who traveled a lot and was eventually stationed at UNESCO headquartered in Paris, France. As a result, I was practically raised there until about 16 years old.
What made you decide to make Cincinnati home?
I was fortunate enough to get a full scholarship + stipend to attend school here. I loved the campus and the vibe here and decided not to pass up the opportunity. I have since stayed here because I married a true Cincinnatian – who was born and raised here. We now have children and so we are well settled here. When I think about it, I’m really glad I took that scholarship offer and moved here.
What do you love most about the Cincinnati Region?
There are a lot of things to love here. It’s a region rich in arts, sports, lots of opportunities to feel close to nature through parks and rivers; I love that the annual Western Southern tennis tournament comes here. I try to make it there every year. It’s also becoming an impressive culinary mecca so there are a lot of great food options. It’s a place that allows folks to choose their own adventure.
After a long week of work, what energizes you?
Absolutely hands down, my family. Hanging with my husband and 4 kids ranging from 6 to 17 years is awesome. I have a sister who lives close and my husband’s family is also around, so we have them over occasionally, that is energizing. I also love to cook so I have been known to throw down in the kitchen on occasional weekends 😊
Looking at your professional career, outside of family and friends, where have you garnered your support?
It’s a tough question because a lot of it has been through friends and family and I learn from those around me every day. But I always have a mini group of advisors with different mindsets that I tap into. So, at any given point that group of advisors can give me advise or support depending on what I need. Innovation; HR/Workforce/People; Strategy; Keeping me grounded or spiritual. I believe in being a lifelong student so always happy to absorb wisdom from others.
What is your most proud moment in recent history?
I am proud to work at Greater Cincinnati Foundation, an organization taking a strong stand on racial equity in our region. It’s a critical and deeply complex topic and I value the courageous conversations and initiatives we are focusing on. I’m also really proud to have been part of the process to relocate GCF to it’s new home to set the organization up for the future. I am in awe of the impact it has had on the staff and culture and the fact that we can open the space up to the community to use – gives us a chance to truly live our mission.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
I have the words THINK BIG plastered in my office and I hope people are inspired by that. Often time we play it safe or get comfortable with doing what we are used to or what is familiar. At times we also become afraid to take significant leaps that can lead to growth. So my THINK BIG attitude is a reminder to myself and other not being afraid of being first to do anything in order to pave the way for others.
How do you define success?
For me success is giving everything your best/100%. As a leader, the outcomes are certainly important – moving the dial, meeting a deliverable or achieving a growth goal. But ultimately for me it’s more than the goal – it’s about giving it our best shot and staying flexible enough through the process to pivot. So getting there and results is important but how we get there for me really defines success. A number of important lessons and whether it’s a success or a failure because it’s often the journey to get there that makes you a better person. Success for me is growing and preparing for the future…not just me but the teams I work with.
What is your advice for emerging African American leaders?
My advice to emerging African American Leaders is – you will be underestimated a lot in your life and career. Don’t take offence, don’t get frustrated…use it to fuel you. Put that energy into proving them wrong and consistently exceeding expectations.
What does Cincinnati as a “future city” mean to you?
Cincinnati as a future city is one that has work to do to close the racial and economic divide. It’s no secret that there is a trend of black leaders who come here and don’t last. It’s a national problem but I would like to see Cincinnati lead the nation as the city that has figured this out and serves as a model to others. Cincinnati as a ‘future city’ to me means others from other states and other regions come here to study how we solved it so them because we serve as the example.
What piece of advice have you received along the way in your career or life journey that has stuck with you?
Be yourself. Sounds simple but it’s really not. A lot of different stakeholders impose their expectations on you through your career and the concept of just being yourself is very challenging sometimes. Who you are can get lost through the ‘noise’. As a young 22-year-old starting my career, it was the best advice I received and has served me well.
Tell us about something that most people do not know about you.
I think I may come across as a really serious person so people may be surprised that I really don’t take myself seriously and am really laid-back person and like to have fun. I am a work hard/play hard person.
In what ways are you involved in the Cincinnati community outside of your professional endeavors?
I occasionally volunteer with my kids and also serve on several boards. I like serving on boards that are on the verge of change and / or transformation. I value the opportunity to help support their goals.