Board of Directors

Alison Ricker, Co-President

Alison Ricker is from the Oberlin Area League. She has served as Head of the Science Library at Oberlin College for 34 years; prior to that, she was Librarian at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Georgia. Alison has been the Co-President of the Ohio League from 2015 to 2017.  She became active in League in 2004, after an intensive volunteer effort to register new voters with the "Oberlin Votes!" coalition (a grant-funded project led by a group of residents including League leaders Mary Kirtz Van Nortwick and Linda Slocum). She has served on her local League board for many years, as Member-at-Large, Secretary, Membership Chair, Treasurer and President. Alison also serves as a Precinct Election Official. She is proud to say that her mother, Janet Ricker, served as President of her local League in Pittsburgh, PA in the 1960s - a wonderful role model for valuing democracy.

Mary Kirtz Van Nortwick, Co-President

Mary Kirtz Van Nortwick, a member of the Oberlin Area League, is currently serving as co-president of LWVO. She holds a Ph.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University and is now Professor Emerita of English and Canadian Studies at the University of Akron. During her service on the LWVO Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2011, she was Chair of the Personnel Committee. She has also served in various capacities on the Oberlin Area board as well as on the boards of the Oberlin Public Library and the Oberlin Heritage Center. In 2013-14, she was a member of the Oberlin City Charter Review Commission.  A member of the original Oberlin Local League from 1965 until it disbanded in 1978, she was among those who worked to bring a full-fledged league back to Oberlin and Lorain County in 2004. 

Andrea Cobb, 1st Vice President

Andrea Cobb is currently serving as the Bookkeeper for the Greater Dayton Area League. Andrea has a BA in International Trade from Auburn University and continued her education in Accounting at Louisiana State University. She has been nominated to the President Elect position in her local League for the upcoming board year and has previously served as Membership Director in her local League and First Vice President and MLD coach for the state League. As a (now-retired) military spouse, Andrea spent 20 years serving on various Boards for non-profit organizations within the military community all over the US and Europe before settling with her husband and four children in Ohio a few years ago. She loves to travel and is passionate about women’s rights. 

Deborah Schmieding, 2nd Vice President

Deborah Schmieding is a member of the Athens League.  She recently retired from a 39-year career supporting kids and adults with developmental disabilities in Athens and Washington Counties.  Her passion to advance disability issues did not end at that time, and she continues to find home for this effort with the League.  Voting access is very important to her, and she is proud to be affiliated with the premier organization protecting this right for all citizens.  She has served on the LWVO board from 2004 to 2011 and again in 2016-2017.  Deborah has an undergraduate degree in Communication from Michigan State University, a Masters of Public Administration from Ohio University.

Gail Pytel, Treasurer

Gail Pytel is a member of the Kent League.  She worked as CFO for United Way of Portage County for 25 years and has an MBA with a concentration in finance from Kent State University. She currently serves as treasurer for several organizations including the LWV of Kent, the Rotary Club of Ravenna, and the United Methodist Church of Kent.   As a Kent League member, she has served as president, vice-president, VOTER editor, and on more committees than she cares to think about! From 1997-2001, she was Treasurer of the LWVO, and rejoined the board from 2007 to 2011.  She has also chaired the state League’s Budget Committee. 

Iris Meltzer, Secretary

Iris Meltzer is with the Kent League. Iris holds a Master’s Degree in psychology from Western Carolina University and a Master’s of Public Health from the Consortium of Eastern Ohio Master of Public Health Program, for whom she served as Accreditation Consultant from 2013-2016. Iris retired from Akron Children’s Hospital after 28 years as the Administrator for Adolescent Health Services. Previously she was a founding member and director of Portage County’s first shelter for battered women and their children. She has been a member for the League for five years and has been President of her local League as well as a member of Kent’s MLD team. She has been on the board of the Ohio League for the last two years.  Iris is a community activist and, in her insufficient spare time, likes to read and travel.

Alfreda Brown - Director

Dr. Alfreda Brown was appointed as the inaugural vice president for the division of diversity, equity and inclusion at Kent State University in the fall of 2009. Dr. Brown joined Kent State after serving 22 years at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. She has responsibility for the executive leadership and management of Kent State University’s diversity and inclusion matters, leading diversity strategic planning for the university and ensuring successful implementation of related policies, programs, and projects. Alfreda currently serves on the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters, Ohio, Board of Directors for League of Women Voters, Kent, OH, Board of Directors for the Portage Medical Center Foundation Kent, OH, and the Board of Directors for Kent Social Services, Kent, OH. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Roberts Wesleyan College, a master’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and a doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University. She is a strong advocate for women in leadership.

Janet Chittock - Director

Janet Chittock is from the Greater Youngstown League. She was a non-traditional student at Youngstown State University and a sociology major with a graduate degree in community counseling. She was a case manager, mental health counselor and worked with state institutions to release clients back into the community. As a League member she has worked on studies and interviewed local office holders.  She has been on the LWVO board since 2015.

Ana Crawford - Director

Ana Crawford is from the Dayton Area League. She is an attorney at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP and has been with the firm since 2013. She focuses her practice in general commercial litigation and is also involved in some voting rights litigation. Prior to Porter Wright, Ana worked at the ACLU of Ohio during a multitude of legislative changes involving election law, and in that role lobbied the state legislature on voting rights and other related issues. Of all of the League’s positions, she is most passionate about voting rights and access to the ballot. Ana has served as both vice-president of program and secretary for her local League.

Dorothy Kane - Director

Dorothy Kane is from the Greater Youngstown League. She has a B.S. in Education and a Masters in Religious Education. She is a former educator and currently serves as coordinator of the NO MORE domestic violence projects in Mahoning and Columbiana counties. She is currently finishing her second year as a member of the board of the Ohio League.  She has been secretary for her local League for almost ten years.

Marti (Martha) Kleinfelter - Director

Martha (Marti) Kleinfelter is from the Clermont League. She grew up in Maumee outside of Toledo, and received her bachelors degree from Bowling Green State University and master’s from Northern Kentucky University. She was a teacher (Social Studies, English and driver’s ed) for 33 years. She joined the League in 2000 and has served as president, secretary and suffragist dinner chair for the Clermont League. She is a volunteer at the local library, the polls for election day, CASA volunteer and historical society in Clermont county.

Lee McLaird - Director

Lee McLaird is from the Bowling Green League. A member since 2004, she has served on the LWVBG Board and as secretary and two terms as president. Her committee activities have included Voter Service and Education. She holds a B. A. in English and Library Science from the University of South Dakota and a Master of Librarianship from Emporia Kansas State University. She worked for 25 years as Reference Archivist and Rare Books Curator at Bowling Green State University, assisting researchers using local government records and the official records of some state legislators and US Congressmen. She is proud to be a third-generation member of League.

Deb Peluso - Director

Deb Peluso is from the Metro Columbus League. She has a B.A. in Psychology and a Master of Organization Development. She owns and operates a consulting firm focused on change management and organization design, along with her husband. Deb currently serves as Secretary for the Metro Columbus League and as a coach for the LWV Ohio MLD program. She has been a league member since 2011.

Alice Schneider - Director

Alice Schneider is from the Cincinnati League. Currently, Alice is director of communications for Applied Information Resources, a nonprofit public policy research group in Cincinnati   Before that she was an educator in the Cincinnati Public Schools.   She earned a BA from Ohio State University and a Master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.  Alice has been president of the Cincinnati League of Women Voters.  In addition, Alice was state president of the American Association of University Women.  In the Cincinnati League, she managed candidates’ forums and has chaired the Speakers’ Bureau for several years. She has lobbied on many issues, at the state and local level. She co-chaired the committee for campaign finance reform (2001) for Cincinnati.  She currently serves on the LWVO Board and is co-chair of the Advocacy Committee.

Lisa Givan - Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) Program Coordinator
As the Associate Director of Pre-College Initiatives and Diversity Training at Kent State University, Lisa is responsible for developing, coordinating and delivering diversity related training for the campus community as well as surrounding areas in northeast Ohio. With almost twenty years combined experience from both Corporate America and Higher Education, Lisa’s area of expertise is content development that promotes and sustains cultural competence, leadership, inclusion, equity and respect. An engaging facilitator, Lisa’s ability to be transparent with her participants allows them to push through topics that can be of a sensitive nature toward a growth mindset. As a seasoned facilitator, she travels extensively and presents on local, regional and national levels. Lisa is also an licensed Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory.