2023 Board of Directors
Jeff Weisker – Chair
Managing Director of Institutional Services – Fund Evaluation Group
Jeff has been working with 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations for over 23 years and specializes in advising non-profits on their overall investment program, including asset allocation, investment policy statement development, education, portfolio structure, investment performance reporting and ongoing due diligence. Jeff is a lifelong Cincinnatian and holds a BBA in Accounting from the University of Cincinnati. Jeff is a past Chair of the Board of Directors at Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio and currently serves on its Finance Committee. In his spare time, Jeff enjoys hiking, golfing, reading, and spending time with his daughter at the various parks throughout the Greater Cincinnati Area.
Gregory Flasch – Vice Chair
Vice President of Business Development, Specialized Logistics Division – Planes Moving & Storage
The son of an Air Force Colonel, Greg and his family traveled extensively growing up in cities throughout the US and Europe. They ended up in Oklahoma where Greg attended high school and was a Division I All State soccer player. Greg earned his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. After following his parents to Cincinnati, he began his career with Planes Moving & Storage. After several positions increasing in responsibility and 20 years of service with the company, he is the Vice President of Business Development in their Specialized Logistics division where he developed and runs a successful seven figure portfolio of business. In October & November of this year, Greg qualified for the Masters Club at United Van lines as one of the top logistics salespersons. In March of 2016, Greg launched a family venture, Mama Flasch, which offers gourmet products including their widely popular classic salsas: Gregular, Scott Some Heat and Incindyary, named after the three Flasch kids.
Greg’s love of aquatics began back in 1993 when he purchased his first aquarium in Cincinnati and took it back to college. Every place he’s been since, saltwater tanks have gone with him. “Aquatics have given me many days of happiness, peace and a place to escape to when you need a break. It’s a beautiful living piece of art. Being a part of The Wave Foundation is my way of giving back and I love it. With my time, money, connections or my influence I am here to help and grow this organization.”
Jacob Purcell – Treasurer
Attorney – Manley Burke
Jake Purcell is not in a hurry; he just likes getting things done. College? Why not graduate summa cum laude in three years at age 20? Can’t quite decide on law school or business school first? Just add courses from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business while getting a law degree. You may think that a person who can pack so much into smaller than usual amounts of time must have the outward affect of a hummingbird or must rush through things, but that’s not Jake. Jake brings a very thoughtful, studied, measured approach to every problem he tackles – in the law firm and in life. Jake’s accomplishments are not a result of haste; rather, they are the reflections of a draw toward the complex and a desire to simplify. While attending Miami University, Jake studied accounting with a focus on internal managerial systems. In 2012, Jake was awarded the Arthur H. Carter Scholarship for excellence in accounting. During law school, Jake served on the University of Pennsylvania’s Journal of Business Law, eventually becoming a senior editor. Jake was also awarded the Animal Law Project’s Volunteer of the Year award, in 2015, for his research into the effects of noise pollution on whales and the ability to add companion animals to restraining orders in Florida.
Jake practices in the corporate and transactional group with a focus on general business representation. He also represents for-profit and not-for-profit organizations with a focus on board advisory, contractual negotiation and drafting, and sunshine law guidance.
Jennifer K. Gothard, Esq. – Secretary
Senior Attorney – The Kroger Co.
Proud co-parent of Katie Gothard, a Guest Services Supervisor at our wonderful Newport Aquarium, and graduate of Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana, who loves hiking and exploring all aspects of nature, especially spying animals great and small; and Ben, a software engineer with an Indianapolis firm, and graduate of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana, who loves to run and run and run; and lucky pet parent to Oliver, our Bichon Frise, who prefers slow walks and sniffing. Jenny is joined in her life adventure by her husband, Jon, and together they enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, and exploring, and all the foregoing are amplified when Katie, her fiancé, and Ben join them in the fun.
Defensive End – Chicago Bears
Khalid Kareem is a native of Detroit, Michigan. A Notre Dame graduate with a bachelors degree in management consulting and a minor in studio art. Khalid played football at Notre Dame for four years and was voted team captain in his senior season. Kareem was drafted in the 5th round of the NFL Draft to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020 and currently plays an integral role in the Bengals’ defense. Khalid fell in love with the ocean while training for the NFL Combine in Pensacola, Florida. He hopes to become a marine biologist to spread awareness and the importance of ocean conservation, specifically working with large marine life, following his NFL Career.
Professor – Thomas More University
Dr. Stephanie Koch is an associate professor in the department of Biological Sciences and the director of the Marine Biology Program at Thomas More University. As a researcher, she studies open ocean migrations of large fishes. As an educator, she leads courses in marine biology, oceanography, and animal behavior while incorporating service learning into her curriculum. Through her work at TMU and through collaborations with local conservation groups, like WAVE, Dr. Koch hopes to inspire students to enjoy, investigate, and protect the natural world.
Executive Vice President – McCue Corporation
Marcus LaiFook is the Executive Vice President of Global Operations at McCue Corporation. Marcus has decades of experience in Supply Chain and Operations, including 25 years at The Gillette Company and P&G. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University.
Originally from Trinidad & Tobago, Marcus loves the ocean. His response to the interview question “Why do you want to volunteer?” epitomizes his passion for WAVE. “I grew up on an island surrounded by sea water, I lived in Boston for many years next to the ocean, and now I am in Cincinnati and the largest nearby body of saltwater is your tank . . . and I want IN!”. Marcus has been a Volunteer Diver since 2009. Marcus lives in Loveland with his wife Stacy, and they have 3 children.
Account Executive – Strategic Advisers, LLC
Shayna Nevermann is an Account Executive at Strategic Advisers, LLC. She manages multiple accounts specializing in public relations, public education, media relations, social media strategy and executive and event planning. She manages clients from a broad range of industries including healthcare, education, financial, government and nonprofits. Shayna understands the dynamics of newsrooms, and works with reporters and editors on a daily basis. She has executed robust media management and public relations strategies along with grassroots campaigns. She has also worked on multiple political campaigns in both Ohio and Kentucky. Shayna received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Kentucky University. She also serves on the Northern Kentucky Children’s Advocacy Center Board of Directors and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Public Relations Committee. She is an active member of Legacy, an organization for young professionals in Greater Cincinnati. Born and raised in Northern Kentucky, Shayna now lives in Bellevue with her husband and their two dogs.
Organizational Development Coordinator St. Elizabeth
Yashna is driven by the opportunities that life presented to her when she was adopted and brought to the United States. She finds that being authentic and connecting with people on a personal level makes a greater impact in creating a sense of community. The American Heart Association gave Yashna her first opportunity in the nonprofit world as she would present heart healthy practices to people of all ages, and in the process gain fundraising skills while being an ambassador for events. To gain a better understanding of how socioeconomic disparities affect health, she earned her master’s in public health: health care organization and policy at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Yashna was a Patient Liaison at Good Samaritan hospital where she advocated patient requests to leadership and created organizational transparency. She was also involved with the diversity and inclusion team as that is one of her passions. Taking every opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion stems from her childhood as she fondly remembers visiting aquariums within the US. Yashna’s fascination for marine biology developed as she realized how important oceans are to our planet as well as the organisms that thrive in them. Yashna has accompanied her professors in college to the Galapagos, Costa Rica, and The Bahamas to study Rainforest Ecology, Marine Biology, and Tropical Ecology. She believes that promoting conservation has the power to inspire change in our world for the better and inspire younger generations to keep our planet clean. As an active board member of the WAVE Foundation, Yashna hopes to bring more engagement from the community to stir passion in conservation, assist in developing the WAVE foundation, and establish herself as an active volunteer. As a current member of the Junior League of Cincinnati, she volunteers her time in the community. In her off time, she and her husband travel to locations with big bodies of water to snorkel and observe her true passion, marine life, in her eyes, is “nature’s art.”
Vice President – Huntington Bank
Kim is a vice president and business banking relationship manager at Huntington Bank. She has more than 34 years of banking experience. She acts as a trusted mentor and advisor to her small business customers. Prior to joining Huntington, Kim served for 12 years as a business banking senior relationship manager at Fifth Third Bank, and was with Key Bank for 14½ years as a relationship manager in business banking. Her banking experience, augmented by her experiences growing up in Michigan in a family-owned business, means that she understands the challenges of small business ownership and management.
Kim’s goal is to assist business owners in choosing financial solutions that are consistent with their short and long term business goals. She offers a wide range of depository and lending solutions for any industry by utilizing her banking expertise and business knowledge. Kim earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Central Michigan University. She stays current in business trends and financial options through regular seminar attendance, and learns from every client encounter. Kim was born and raised in Michigan. She and her husband, Chris, live in Loveland and have three boys.
Anthony J. Sperelakis
Vice President of Global Operations – Vervent
A dynamic and accomplished transformational leader with over 25 years of financial services product, operations, technology, and digital experience. Anthony holds a BA in Economics from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a Six Sigma Green Belt from Villanova University. Anthony is back after having served on the WAVE Board from 2010 to 2015.
Tabitha Tolliver, CPA
Director – Blue and Co, LLC
Tabitha earned a bachelor degree in the Science of Accounting at the University of Kentucky and a Masters of Accountancy at Northern Kentucky University. Tabitha is a Director at Blue & Co, LLC. She has spent her career as a consultant specializing in corporate tax and accounting as well as helping business owners maximize their personal net worth through holistic planning and implementing effective tax and other planning strategies.
Tabitha also works on related advanced financial issues such as formulating and financing a succession plan, mergers and acquisitions, or planning a divestiture. Her focus on strong relationships and obtaining an intimate knowledge of operations are the foundation of advising clients and positively impacting client’s cash flows, processes, and procedures. Dedicated to serving clients in the professional services industry including independently owned healthcare practices and professional services, Tabitha takes the utmost pride in delivering the highest level of service.
Tabitha has a passion for education as well as diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion, which is what has drawn her to The WAVE Foundation. She has seen how animals bring people together and how students have been able to engage learning in so many ways in the classroom as well as at Newport Aquarium. She has witness this experience herself as both of her children attend Camp WAVE each year. Tabitha lives in Northern Kentucky with her two children, husband and dog.
Zachary J. Weber
Corporate Counsel, Labor and Employment – The Kroger Co
Zack is a dedicated labor and employment attorney who focuses on training and compliance, resolving employment and labor disputes, and providing counsel on a variety of issues affecting the workplace. He recently joined the legal department at Kroger after beginning his legal career at Dinsmore & Shohl in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before graduating from University of Cincinnati College of Law, Zack attended the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, and the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. Zack was raised on Cincinnati’s west side before making the long journey across the Ohio River to settle in Newport, Kentucky in 2015. He now lives in Newport’s Mansion Hill neighborhood with his husband Bernie and their two dogs, Renly and CeCe. Zack has had a lifelong fascination with nature and wildlife and is eager to lend his skills and energy to WAVE’s mission and conservation efforts.
CEO/Executive Director – Newport Aquarium
Rebecca is the Vice President & Executive Director of Newport Aquarium, owned by Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. She has spent more than two decades at NAQ devoted to bringing families closer together and creating memories worth repeating. In 2021, she started serving as a Share It Forward Board Member. Share It Forward is a thriving 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves Herschend employees in times of personal crisis, providing hope through financial assistance, education, and promoting wellness of body, mind & spirit. Rebecca recently participated in the 2020 class of the Executive Leadership Development Program hosted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in conservation, education, science, and recreation. The program goal is to develop executive talent and leadership for individuals who demonstrate the ability and interest to advance to the role of Director within an AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium within five years. Rebecca is also a member of the Herschend Inclusiveness Council. The council ensures Herschend to be a great place to work with great people, providing a diverse population that has access to all aspects of the HFE workforce and where all employees and guests feel loved and welcome.
Besides her time in Richmond, KY receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Kentucky University, she has resided in Ft. Thomas, KY, where she raised her son, Eddie. Rebecca and her husband, David, are active in their church and enjoy riding their bikes on local trails, bowling, and caring for their two cats, Miss Puss and Mr. Boots.
Halle Raicevich – Resource and Development Committee Member
Assistant Manager, Research Associate Program – CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting
Halle is an Assistant Manager of the Research Associate program at CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting. The goal of the Research Associate program is to help recent grads or people looking to make a career switch learn about the CRO industry, explore different aspects of the corporate world, and develop professional skills in the workplace. Prior to working at CTI, Halle worked at Gorman Heritage Farm and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden where she was an environmental educator. She has a passion for all things animal related, and she is a strong advocate for conservation education. Halle obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Xavier University, and went on to earn her Masters through the Project Dragonfly Program at Miami University. Joining the team at WAVE has allowed her to continue to pursue her love of animals, conservation, and working with a group who wants to help make a difference!
Todd Klesh – Resource and Development Committee Member
Todd Klesch has worked for more than 15 years with multiple fortune 100 insurance carriers in both claims and distribution. Todd earned his Bachelor’s degree from Northern Kentucky University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Miami University. Todd’s love of conservation and the outdoors began early when we was born in a remote Montana hospital just outside the Rocky Mountains and was reinforced by a lifetime of outdoor adventure and a supportive outdoor oriented family. Todd is a longtime Cincinnati resident who likes to spend his free time hiking on our local trails or paddling down our streams and rivers.
Emeritus Board Members
Mark Evans, P.E., Esquire
Partner – Bricker Graydon
Mark Evans is a partner in Bricker Graydon. Located in the Cincinnati-Dayton office, Mark represents owners on a variety of construction matters, including drafting contract documents, defective and/or non-conforming workmanship claims, delay claims and bid disputes. As a former project engineer for the City of Columbus’ Construction and Inspection Division, he scheduled and supervised inspectors for various construction projects and managed a $20 million infrastructure installation of sanitary sewers, water lines, roads and bridges. As a structural engineer, he performed preliminary layout and estimation of new and existing bulk material handling facilities; designed and engineered structures, including transfer towers, trusses, tunnels and foundations; and inspected existing structures for structural integrity. As a soils and concrete testing technician, he performed pavement coring for testing and conducted field concrete tests and site soil investigations.
Joseph U. Meyer
Mayor – City of Covington
Joseph U. Meyer is mayor of the City of Covington, leading Covington at a time of significant reinvestment and growth. Formerly he served as Secretary of Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. During that time, Meyer improved workforce development programs, career and technical education, and early childhood education, and was recognized for his leadership in founding the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics, now known simply as Kentucky Stats.
Meyer also formerly served on the executive committees of the Southern Regional Education Board and the Education Commission of the States. Before leading the state cabinet Meyer served as a legislator in the Kentucky General Assembly for 15 years, elected to the House of Representatives (1982 to 1988) and the State Senate (1989 to 1996). As chair of the Senate Education committee Meyer oversaw the implementation of the heralded Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990.
Meyer received his law degree from Northern Kentucky University, a master’s degree in Urban Affairs from St. Louis University and a bachelor’s degree from Bellarmine University. He has also completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has been married to his wife, Dale, since 1974. They have four adult children.
President & CEO – Taft Broadcasting Company
Dudley Taft is President and Chief Executive Officer of Taft Broadcasting Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. Formerly he served as President and Vice Chairman of the predecessor company, Taft Broadcasting Company from 1976-1987, as well as other company positions from 1967-1976. Previously, he served as an attorney at Koteen and Burt in Washington, D.C. from 1966-67. He graduated from Taft School in 1958; Graduated in 1962 from Yale University with B.A. Degree, and Graduated from University of Virginia Law School in 1966, LLB Degree.
Taft has served on many Boards of Directors, including Duke Energy, UNIFI, Fifth Third Bancorp, Tribune Company and Newport Aquarium’s WAVE Foundation. Besides serving on the WAVE Foundation Board as Emeritus, Taft serves the community in the following capacities: Chairman, Cincinnati Association for the Arts; Trustee, Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts; Trustee, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati; and President, Louise Taft Semple Foundation. Mr. Taft was a co-founder of both Newport Aquarium and WAVE Foundation.