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Robbie Banks, CTA, Interim Executive Director

Robbie Banks is the interim executive director and program director at Leadership Columbus whose mission is to develop, connect and inspire diverse leaders who serve as catalysts in building a strong and vibrant community. She manages and directs programs that fulfill the Leadership Columbus mission and embrace a 21st century vision for community leadership development while embedding opportunities for participants to work on their leadership skills.

Banks worked in the hospitality industry as the director of visitor experience for Experience Columbus, the destination management organization for the Greater Columbus region. She launched and led the Experience Dedicated® Destination program, which works across hospitality industry sectors to enhance the city’s visitor experience. She also was responsible for the Greater Columbus Tourism Ambassador Program, part of a national certification program for front-line workers and volunteers. In five years, under Banks’ direction, the destination’s program grew to become the largest Certified Tourism Ambassador™ program in the U.S. and Bermuda. 

She led efforts directed at young professionals to attract and retain talent for five years at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. She was a point person for community issues related to young professionals and administrator for the Create Columbus Commission, in addition to managing the Chamber’s social media efforts. She also worked for the City of Columbus as an executive assistant to the director of technology and assistant to the Office of Mayor Michael B. Coleman.  

A Columbus native, Banks holds a B.S. in marketing and a M.S. in marketing and communication from Franklin University. She is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Columbus and a 2015 graduate of the Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy. Banks serves on the Board of Trustees for I Know I Can and has served on the Leadership Columbus Board of Trustees, City of Columbus Vehicle for Hire Board, as a member of the Columbus Police Department’s Diversity Recruiting Council and the KICKBUTTColumbus! planning committee. She also has been a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters and chaired the promotions committee as a board member of the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District.

Banks was recently announced as a member of the Columbus CEO 2021 class of Future 50 leaders—a diverse group of accomplished people committed to making Columbus a world-class community. In 2011 she was honored by the Young Professionals of Columbus with its Distinguished Citizen Award and was named among the 2010 class of Columbus Alive’s “People to Watch.” 

In her spare time, she enjoys expressing her creativity as a freelance make-up artist. Banks resides in Northwest Columbus with her partner Justin and their dogs, Jade and Marshmallow.

 

Collin Ries, Program & Marketing Manager

Collin Ries serves as the Program & Marketing Manager for Leadership Columbus.

Prior to joining the Leadership Columbus Team, Ries served as the Graduate Assistant for the Nonprofit Administration Program at John Carroll University (JCU), working to advance the program’s mission to “develop unapologetic social justice leaders.” He has also worked in various capacities at the CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Ohio Environmental Council and The Ohio State University.

An (almost) lifelong resident of Columbus, Ries holds a Bachelor’s in Evolution and Ecology from The Ohio State University and a Master’s of Nonprofit Administration from John Carroll University, and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He was named a 2020 Nonprofit Leader of Tomorrow by the Nonprofit Administration Program at JCU. In his free time, he enjoys birdwatching in Columbus’s Metro Park system and continuing to explore all that Columbus has to offer.