Our Staff

The people who work at Prevention Action Alliance share in our mission of leading healthy communities in the prevention of substance misuse and the promotion of mental health wellness. We’re dedicated professionals who are passionate about prevention, and we’re excited to get to know you.

PAA Staff

Executive Director Fran Gerbig

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Fran (she/her) joined Prevention Action Alliance as assistant executive director in 2017 after enjoying a long-standing relationship with our agency, which included serving on committees and participating in our learning collaborative. In July 2020, she took the position of executive director.

At Prevention Action Alliance, Fran supervises staff, assists in program and grant development and represents our agency on state and local committees, boards and coalitions. She is a member of ADAPAO (the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Association of Ohio) and the Ohio Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Steering Committee, as well as a member of the Coalition for Healthy Communities and the Ohio Prevention Advocacy Network.  Additionally, Fran serves on the RecoveryOhio Head Start Workgroup, the Governor’s Ohio School Safety Working Group, and the OhioMHAS Prevention and Wellness Roundtable and Youth-Led Prevention Leadership team.

Previously, Fran worked as the health and wellness manager for Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery in Canton, where she coordinated Drug-Free Stark County, a Drug-Free Communities-funded substance misuse prevention coalition. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in child and family ecology from the University of Akron in Ohio and a Master of Public Health degree in health planning and administration from the University of Tennessee. She is an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant.

Fran enjoys gardening, attending live concerts, spending time with family and traveling throughout the United States. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Deputy Executive Director Bobby Persinger

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With a career spanning more than 25 years, Bobby (he/him) has had the privilege of working in higher education, youth development, and behavioral health, holding positions at The Ohio State University, Central Ohio Technical College, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Licking and Knox Counties and most recently as the director of the Center for Prevention Services at Pathways of Central Ohio.

Bobby joined Prevention Action Alliance in 2019 to lead the G.A.P. Network and the Ohio College Initiative after an enduring relationship with PAA, including serving as past SPCA chair and helping to develop the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network. Currently serving as deputy executive director, Bobby is responsible for programming, outreach, engagement and strategic agency initiatives. Additionally, he leads the training team and development of the Matthew B. Schoonover Educational Center at Prevention Action Alliance.

Bobby is active in Licking County and across Ohio. He has held a variety of volunteer positions, including serving nine years on the ADAPAO board of directors, with the last two as its president. Additionally, he was a founding member of the Licking County Prevention Partnership and the OhioMHAS Prevention and Wellness Roundtable. Currently, Bobby is a member of the prevention committee of the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board, a member of the Ohio Prevention Advocacy Network and a board member of the United Way of Licking County.

A two-time graduate of The Ohio State University, Bobby is a certified prevention consultant, bullying prevention specialist and mental health specialist. Bobby has been named Mental Health Professional of the Year by Mental Health America of Licking County and received the Cyril G. Ransopher Visionary Award from Mental Health & Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties. In his spare time, Bobby enjoys traveling, coffee shops, new restaurants, giving back and especially laughing.

Connect with Bobby on LinkedIn.

Resource Development Manager Alyce Jennings

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Alyce (she/her) joined Prevention Action Alliance as Resource Development Manager in 2021. With more than 10 years in prevention, Alyce has had the opportunity to develop and supervise after-school prevention programs as well as implement environmental prevention initiatives at the local and state level.

Prior to joining PAA, she worked as the Director of Development at Summit County Community Partnership and served on the SPCA Advisory Council. She is also an active member of the Portage County Substance Abuse Community Coalition’s Prevention Committee.

Alyce is an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Malone University and a Master of Nonprofit Organizations from Case Western Reserve University.

In her spare time, Alyce enjoys playing piano, reading books and spending time with her husband and four children.

Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Community Prevention Manager James Syphax

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James (he/him) serves Prevention Action Alliance as the community prevention manager for our Community Based Services team. In his role, James manages the Statewide Prevention Coalition Association (SPCA,) the Ohio Center for Coalition Excellence (OCCE,) Know! prevention tips, problem gambling prevention initiatives and the G.A.P. Network where impacted families learn to advocate for behavioral health issues.

In addition to his programmatic roles, James also serves as the lead trainer for the Matthew B. Schoonover Education Center where he trains on everything from basic prevention to the ins-and-outs of coalition development. He has also presented across the country on cryptocurrency and the impact it has as an emerging trend in the problem gambling field.

Prior to joining PAA, James spent several years serving as both a school based prevention service provider and community coalition coordinator. He also held a county commissioner appointment as a member of his local ADAMHS board. Currently, he serves as a board member of Ohio’s Problem Gambling Advisory Board, a member of the National Council on Problem Gambling’s (NCPG) prevention committee, and a member of NCPG’s emerging trends sub-committee. James also is an instructor for both the youth and adult Mental Health First Aid courses offered by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

Connect with James on LinkedIn.

Community Prevention Manager Julianna Fellows

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Julianna (she/her) serves as the Community Prevention Manager overseeing youth and young adult services that include the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network and the Ohio College Initiative for Student Wellness. Her professional background includes over 20 years of experience working in Ohio’s behavioral health field in a variety of capacities that include working with families in the Head Start program, youth leadership development and youth-led programming, mental health ombudsman, youth mentoring program coordinator and community outreach coordinator for addiction services.

Working with youth and young adults has been Julianna’s greatest involvement and passion professionally. She has been involved with the Ohio Adult Ally network since its inception in 2014 and has collaborated with other adult allies in the development of resources that inform and elevate youth-led prevention science throughout the state of Ohio. She is a published author on topics pertaining to youth and youth-led prevention and is the original developer of The Ohio Adult Ally Northeast Region Learning Collaborative

Currently, she serves as co-chair for The HEALing Communities Subcommittee for Cuyahoga County and is a member of the northeast hub Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition. Her certified trainer repertoire includes Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid, Substance Abuse Prevention Training and DEA 60 Community Drug Prevention.

Julianna applies her experience, knowledge, skills and passion in the support of youth and young adult services throughout the state of Ohio.

Outside of her professional role Julianna spends time with her large blended family of eight kids and two dogs.  She also enjoys traveling and volunteering with a community outreach agency serving the homeless in Cuyahoga county.

Connect with Julianna on LinkedIn.

Accountant and Human Resources Officer Sondra Mellott

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Sondra (she/her) joined Prevention Action Alliance in 2019 to serve as the agency’s accountant. In addition to running financial reports and looking over balance sheets, she ensures that the agency’s operations continue by drawing down grants, preparing for audits, and paying vendors.

Sondra has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is currently working to complete her master’s at Strayer University. She enjoys spending time with her family in Kentucky, listening to country music and traveling.

Prevention Coordinator LaKeithia M. Miller

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LaKeithia (she/her)  brings a wealth of experience to PAA from the childcare behavioral and mental health sector. She will be responsible for coordinating community-based services, including Problem Gambling, Ohio Center for Coalition Excellence, the G.A.P. Network (Through Grief, Advocating for Prevention),  Statewide Prevention Coalition Association and Know! Prevention Tips for Everyone.

Prior to joining PAA, LaKeithia worked with youth and families in several areas of social work for 14 years as a clinician and case manager, including child welfare, human services, community outreach, crisis de-escalation and teaching. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Augustine’s College and her master’s degree in counseling from Bowie State University. Both her degrees focused on individuals across the lifespan.

LaKeithia is excited to join PAA. She has been often asked how she ended up in the behavioral health field. Her answer is simple, “Mental Health is my passion and people are my trade.” Bridging the gap between the two has led her to a variety of opportunities in which she have been able to enrich the lives of others.

A native from Washington D.C. by way of Maryland, LaKeithia has been a resident of Columbus since 2015. She has three godchildren and a five-year-old, much-adored Cavapoo dog.

 

Education and Event Coordinator Ashley McCray

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Ashley (she/hers) joined Prevention Action Alliance this year to serve as the education and events coordinator, where she will manage agency events, meetings and trainings, including events held at PAA’s Matthew B. Schoonover Educational Center.

After entering college as a sports management major, Ashley switched gears and received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wright State University. Her event planning skills began to take shape during her years in college as a volunteer Young Life leader. She furthered her professional development throughout her time in the Promotional Events department of the Cincinnati Reds, along with the Cincinnati-based mental health non-profit, 1N5.

Thanks to her dad, Ashley is an avid baseball fan and has the dream of visiting every major league stadium. She also enjoys reading, being outside in the sun and visiting her family in New Carlisle. Coming from the Springfield/Dayton area, she is excited to be in Columbus and have a role in the work of Prevention Action Alliance.

Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn.

Prevention Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Services Geena Crosby

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Geena (she/her) may be new but she brings a wealth of experience, including helping PAA launch the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network back in 2011. She will be responsible for coordinating the OYLPN Youth Council, the annual We Are The Majority Rally, and the Big Bowl Vote Campaign. She also will coordinate collegiate-based educational opportunities through the Ohio College Initiative (OCI).

Geena is a licensed social worker and certified prevention specialist. She received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Capital University and currently is pursuing her master’s degree in public administration and leadership from The Ohio State University.

Geena started her youth-led prevention journey in high school when she became a member of Youth to Youth International as a part of their youth advisory board and serving as a youth staff member at camps and conferences. After graduating high school in 2010, she continued to volunteer at Youth to Youth and in 2011 was hired as the coordinator for the OYLPN Youth Council in its inaugural year. She worked with the youth council to develop and implement the rally in its first three years.

The majority of Geena’s time doing youth-led work came from the eight years she worked for Youth to Youth International. She served as a prevention assistant supporting programming for a couple of years before becoming the youth services coordinator. Geena then served as the wellness coordinator for alcohol and other drug prevention at Ohio State where she worked with student staff and volunteers to develop and implement primary prevention strategies on campus, coordinated the BASICS and CASICS programs, facilitated the OSU Alcohol Diversion Program and served as the OCI Advisory Council chair.

Geena is excited to join PAA’s staff and is eager to use her experience in youth-led and higher education to help enhance prevention efforts for youth and young adults across the state.

 

Jacob Marenberg

Ohio National Guard Counterdrug Civil Operator Jacob Marenberg

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Jacob (he/him) recently joined Prevention Action Alliance as a member of the Ohio National Guard Counterdrug Task Force. In his role as the demand reduction civil operator, Jacob administers and practices drug prevention science to help create healthy communities in Ohio.

Prior to joining PAA, Jacob was deployed with the Ohio Air National Guard and was employed with the Ohio National Guard Counterdrug Task Force serving as the Assistant Operations Officer. Jacob completed his bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with a focus in medical dietetics. Also, he is pursuing his Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist Assistant certification.

Jacob lives in Johnstown where he enjoys spending as much time as he can with his wife, Andi, and daughter, Stella. He also enjoys playing golf, reading, and getting together with his family and friends.

Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn.

Prevention Assistant Brittany Wolf-Delawder

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Brittany (she/her) recently has joined Prevention Action Alliance in hopes to widen her knowledge and experience in prevention. Her position supports all PAA’s professionals.

From a young age, Brittany has known that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of those around her.  Her passion to do so started in high school as a mentor and followed her to the University of Dayton. She was involved in campus service groups involving communities in need and volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Optimist Club, TWLOHA (To Write Love on Her Arms ) and Active Minds. After graduating from Southern New Hampshire University, with a bachelor’s degree in human services and a concentration in child and family studies, she is ready to embark on a path to helping our community.

Her family and friends have played a big role in supporting her journey. With a desire to create and inspire, she typically spends her time away from work browsing thrift stores, antique markets or searching for inspiration in nature.

Advocacy and Public Policy Coordinator Shayna Fritz

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Shayna (she/her) joined Prevention Action Alliance this year to serve as its advocacy and public policy coordinator. In her new role, she will work directly with prevention specialists, community coalitions and other prevention stakeholders to build and empower advocacy efforts, as well as keep PAA’s statewide partners informed on the latest happenings within the state and federal governments.

After transferring to Ohio State University, Shayna became active in Ohio’s political sphere. Her interest in politics stemmed from her parents and her talent for helping people behind the scenes. In addition to serving several internships on various political campaigns, she has worked as an aide in both Ohio and Tennessee’s general assemblies. With this position, she is able to combine politics and  a personal interest in drug prevention.

Hailing from the Chicago area, Shayna is a die-hard Cubs and Blackhawks fan. If she’s not watching Chicago sports, she’s probably cheering on the Buckeyes. When looking to wind down, you can find Shayna reading, drawing or crafting.

You can connect with Shayna on LinkedIn.

Prevention Coordinator Melissa Cole

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Melissa (she/her) joined Prevention Action Alliance this year to serve as the prevention coordinator for school-based services, where her role will involve expanding the utilization of Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health Evidence-Based Prevention Curriculums across the state of Ohio. She will also help facilitate the expansion of the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network (OLYPN).

Prior to joining PAA, Melissa worked in community mental health in Substance Use Disorders Treatment and Prevention. She spent over 15 years serving as a school-based prevention service provider, community-based prevention coordinator, and prevention team supervisor. Melissa had the privilege to mentor over a dozen student interns during her time as a prevention team leader, many of whom continued in the field. She also served as the president, then vice-president of her local ADAMHS board. Melissa is an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist, a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist, and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor.

Melissa lives in Cincinnati where she enjoys spending time with her family, singing, baking, and making arts and crafts. Her absolute favorite past time, however, is making people laugh. Melissa is excited to join PAA’s staff and is eager to use her years of experience as a school-based prevention service provider to help expand prevention efforts for youth and young adults across the state.