News & Events

Shannon Lee Named Executive Director of Leadership Columbus; Robbie Banks promoted to Associate Director

After an extensive search process, Shannon Lee has been appointed as the next executive director of Leadership Columbus. In addition, the Leadership Columbus Board of Trustees is also pleased to announce the promotion of Robbie Banks to associate director, in recognition of her strong continuity of leadership during an extremely challenging period, and also the effective implementation of the Signature Program, requiring both a pivot to a hybrid model of in-person/virtual sessions, as well as a re-dedication to the principles of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

“The Board and Search Committee are excited for Leadership Columbus to go beyond the Signature Program and forge a new path for leadership programming in Columbus,” said Board Chair Laurie Aquilina. “The Signature Program is strong and will continue to evolve as our community’s needs change. Leadership Columbus will also make a greater impact through expanded programs with strategic, mission-focused programming. New programs will help Leadership Columbus engage a broader audience and improve our initiative to increase Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).”

Executive Director Shannon LeeShannon Lee is an entrepreneurial visionary leader, trainer and coach with 25 years of experience in nonprofits, education and sales leadership. She served as executive director of Relā Leadership for four years and has been with Relā for seven years as a leadership development expert. She is the author of Servant Leader Mindset and also a frequent writer and speaker on leadership. She is dedicated to DEI and has implemented a number of concrete DEI initiatives in her current organization. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from The Ohio State University, Shannon has also served as a teacher and principal over the years.

“Shannon is a leadership thought leader and will position Leadership Columbus as an even stronger resource for personal, professional, and organizational growth for stakeholders in the Columbus region,” said Vice-Chair Eddie Pauline.

Newly appointed associate director Robbie Banks served as interim executive director while the Board of Trustees conducted the search. Banks also served as program director at Leadership Columbus since July 2018 and manages and directs programs that fulfill the Leadership Columbus mission, including the December launch of the Nonprofit Board Governance Training Program.

In prior roles, Banks has led efforts directed at young professionals to attract and retain talent while she worked at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and was a point person for community issues related to young professionals and administrator for the Create Columbus Commission. Banks also worked in the hospitality industry as the director of visitor experience for Experience Columbus, the destination management organization for the Greater Columbus region. While there, she launched the successful Columbus Tourism Ambassador™ (CTA) program, as well as the Experience Dedicated® Destination program for Greater Columbus.

The Board of Trustees hired a search firm to determine a pool of potential candidates for the executive director. Forty-seven applicants applied for the position and 20 were interviewed by search consultants. One-on-one interviews also took place with Columbus civic leaders to help determine the position profile with key competencies and responsibilities for the position. An online survey to Leadership Columbus key constituents was also conducted, including alumni, sponsors, funders and Board members prior to the interview process.

“The Board of Trustees is confident Shannon and Robbie will take this opportunity to build off of the strong foundation of this organization and keep the robust momentum going,” said Aquilina. “The collaboration between these outstanding leaders will keep us on mission to develop our community’s trustees and take Leadership Columbus to new heights.”