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Our Board


Board Chair and President

Sue Tyler

Sue Tyler is an adult rower, parent of former student athletes and has extensive corporate and nonprofit board experience.


Sue has served in leadership roles for companies ranging in size from startup through Fortune 500.  Her functional expertise is broadly based across strategy, finance, operations, marketing and P&L roles. For 15 years, she served as CFO and EVP, Operations of Medical Mutual. Earlier in her career she held a variety of leadership positions in finance and product management at Progressive Corporation after starting her professional career at PwC.


Sue is dedicated to value added board governance. She currently serves on the boards of four corporations and is a founding member of the Cleveland chapter of Private Directors Association. Sue also supports two venture capital funds investing in early stage digital health and software as a service companies. 


Sue is an active civic leader, currently serving on the board of College Now Greater Cleveland. Previously she served on the boards of the Great Lakes Science Center, The City Club, In Counsel With Women and the Medical Mutual of Ohio Charitable Foundation. 


Sue earned her BS and MBA from Case Western Reserve University and currently supports her alma mater as an advisor to the Alumni Venture Fund and as a Venture Mentor for the Medical School.


Leslie Thomas 

Leslie Thomas is a demonstrated leader and strategic partner with extensive executive level management accounting/finance expertise primarily in manufacturing within the business-to-business industrial market segment.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Cleveland State University as well as Certified Public Accountant, Chartered Global Management Accountant & Certified Financial Planner designations. 


Leslie began rowing with Western Reserve Rowing Association in the Summer Rowing League program in 2011 and has been rowing ever since.  She has rowed in league, recreational, independent, and most recently, sculling programs.  Leslie is pleased to serve on the Cleveland Rowing Foundation board and to support Western Reserve Rowing Association in its effort to provide and promote adult rowing in the Northeast Ohio community.  


Leslie is also an active volunteer working with children to strengthen their reading skills and providing homework help through the Cuyahoga County Public Library.  She also serves as Treasurer for the Reed Memorial Library political action committee in Ravenna, Ohio.  Leslie is a native and life long resident of northeast Ohio, and currently resides in Portage County.          

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Michelle Lundon Fox

Michelle Lundon Fox has been a Sales Representative with Abbott Laboratories
for 35+ years. Michelle graduated from Mankato State University with a Bachelor
of Science in Nutrition, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Dietetic Internship,
and Vanderbilt University with a Master of Education. She served as adjunct
faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine for 17 years.


Michelle has also served on St. Angela Merici Parish Council, St. Angela Merici
Wellness Committee, Cleveland Dietetic Association, WRRA Board, and WRRA
Sculling Committee.


Michelle began rowing in 2005 as a member of SRL & FRL and is currently a
private sculler.


Patrick Connor



Member Relations

Jim Kozak

Jim Kozak graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Economics and minor in Business Administration.  He is the president of Scratch Off Works, LLC, a company specialized in designing and producing scratch off contests and promotions.  Helping his clients nationally leverage their existing assets, Jim counts Goodwill, MillerCoors, and FedEx as customers.  Jim has core competencies in supply and personnel management.

Jim rowed for St. Ignatius High School, Vanderbilt University, and is a current member of the WRRA Masters' Program.  Additionally, he has helped coach St. Ignatius and the WRRA Summer Rowing League.

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Bridget Mahoney

Bridget Mahoney is a dynamic leader recognized for transformative initiatives. Her success spans operational and tech transformations, including CRM migration, process streamlining, and implementing robust voice-of-customer feedback loops. Bridget's strategic vision, operational acumen, and community engagement make her a valuable asset to any team.


Holding an MPOD from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA from Cleveland State University, Bridget is certified in Lean Six Sigma and Emotional Intelligence Leadership. Actively involved in community service, she serves on the Cleveland Rowing Foundation board and has a history of serving with the United Way of Portage County and Greater Cleveland Volunteers boards, showcasing her commitment to social impact.


An avid member of WRRA for six years, Bridget competes with the WRRA women’s masters team. Beyond her professional and rowing endeavors, she enjoys tending to her farm in Peninsula alongside her many dogs.

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Kristen Runner

Kristen Runner is an oncology clinical research professional, certified alliance manager, and rowing coach.  She brings a unique blend of community development and leadership experience and a passion for fostering excellence.


She began her rowing career at John Carroll University in 2001.  A highlight of her rowing career was being a member of the first JCU team to row at Head of the Charles in 2002.  She hasn’t been able to quit rowing since.


Kristen currently serves as the head coach of the John Carroll University rowing team.  She also serves as a coach for the Western Reserve Rowing Association’s adult programs. 


As an alliance manager, Kristen works collaboratively, communicates clearly, and coordinates activities both internally and with partner organizations to ensure alliance success.


Beyond her professional endeavors, Kristen is an avid supporter of sports and physical fitness. Her commitment to an active lifestyle aligns seamlessly with the values of the Cleveland Rowing Foundation, reflecting her belief in the transformative power of sports on individual lives and communities.

Under Kristen’s leadership, the safety committee promotes the safe, recreational use of the Cuyahoga River and establishes rules and guidelines for the operations of CRF, CRF Member Organizations, and those Member Organizations’ Participants and Guests.

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Katie Tolles

Katie Tolles is an avid team-player, creative, and passionate UX Designer and technologist in the Cleveland community. She holds degrees in Graphic and Digital Design as well as User Experience. She values these skills as they enable her to better the lives of others through software every day. Katie's skills in digital, website, and application design have allowed for her to collaborate across a wide variety of industries in the Cleveland community - ultimately allowing for her to be a connector in greater Cleveland.


Katie's rowing career began as a freshman walk-on at Marietta College - knowing absolutely nothing about the sport. She quickly rose through the team, becoming a leader early on in the Women's 1V8+ & 1V4+ for her four years of undergrad. Some of her favorite racing memories during collegiate rowing include: Dad Vail Gold in the women's V8+ (twice), racing at Head of the Charles three times, and the Marietta/Purdue duel, to name a few. Upon graduation, Katie pursued elite rowing at Vesper Boat Club on Boathouse row in Philadelphia in 2016. She and her teammates went on to win Club Nationals and Canadian Henley that summer.


Eventually, rowing brought her to Cleveland - serving as an integral part of the rowing community as a founding coach for Magnificat High School, and designer responsible for the branding of Magnificat and Cleveland Foundry Juniors' rowing programs. Today, Katie is a coach for Case Western Reserve University's rowing team. She is eager to bring her teamwork, mentorship, technology, and design assets to the Cleveland Rowing Foundation's Board of Directors.

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Property Development Chair

Julie Trott-Heisey

Julie Trott-Heisey is a registered architect with over 30 years of experience in the architectural profession, with extensive experience in all aspects of architectural planning and management. As a Senior Associate / Project Director at Vocon, Julie has the responsibility of leading and managing large-scale projects, ensuring that they are completed successfully while providing guidance and education to clients who may be new to the process.


In addition to her day job, Julie is also the Chair of the City of Cleveland Landmarks

Commission. As the chair of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, Julie has the unique position to help shape the city's development in a way that respects its past while also embracing its future. Julie recognizes the impact that community involvement and public-private partnerships can have on the growth of the city. By working collaboratively with the public, council members, and community development corporations, Julie strives to ensure that development projects are sustainable, equitable, and beneficial for all stakeholders.


Julie is a mother of two with a son at the University of Dayton and a daughter who is currently attending Saint Joseph Academy High School. Her daughter has rowed at SJA over the last 4 years and has competed at the SRAA national championships twice.

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Emeritus Director

Gary Clark

Gary received his BS degree from Penn State University, Medical Degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and Masters in Medical Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.  A Certified Physician Executive, he has significant experience in committee and leadership roles in multiple professional medical organizations at a local, regional and national level.  For the past 18 years, Gary has been a Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Case Western Reserve University and the MetroHealth Medical Center.  He was the Founding Chair of the Department of PM&R at CWRU, Residency Training Program Director, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Education for the MetroHealth System, and Assistant Dean for Student Activities for CWRU.  Gary served as President of the Association of Academic Physiatrists (the PM&R academic organization), and is completing a 12-year tenure as a Director on the American Board of PM&R.  He directs the Amputee Rehabilitation Program at MetroHealth, is a Consulting Medical Director for Paradigm Outcomes, a national organization focused on achieving optimal functional outcomes for individuals suffering catastrophic work injuries.


Gary has been a member of WRRA since 2002 (SRL, FRL, Rec, Sculling and Masters programs), and served as Vice President on the WRRA Board of Directors (2010-11).  He has been a Director on the CRF Board from 2011 to 2013 and 2016 to present, serving as Board Chair for 2012-13 and 2016.


Emeritus Director

Robert Valerian

Robert J. Valerian retired from the Taft Law Firm after 34 years as a trial attorney. He is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and of Case Western Reserve University School of Law. 

Bob’s legal practice  specialized in construction law and labor and employment law.  He conducted jury trials and argued appellate cases before all Ohio and Federal Courts including the U.S. Court of Claims and the Supreme Court of the United States. Bob has been selected for Who’s Who in American Law, Best Lawyers in America, Ohio Super Lawyers and Cleveland’s 25 Best Lawyers. Bob continues in private practice as an arbitrator and mediator and is an adjunct professor at CWRU Law School.

Prior to his legal career, Bob was a pilot and instructor pilot in the United States Air force. He is a retired Major in the Air Force Reserve. During the Vietnam War, Bob flew 109 combat missions in the RF-4-C Phantom jet. His military awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. He is a licensed commercial pilot with multi-engine and jet ratings. 

As a member of the Georgetown University crew, Bob rowed in two Dad Vail Championship Georgetown eights. He was head coach of the St. Ignatius High School Crew from 1990 to 2003, and of the Shaker Heights High School Varsity Crew from 2010 to 2019. 

Bob served as a CRF Board Member for nine years, and was  Board Chair for six years. Bob was part of the leadership team that concluded the purchase of the Rivergate Park Boathouse property in 2010.  He is married to Dorothy Janusko Valerian. Bob and Dorothy have three adult children and seven grandchildren.

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