KNA Adds Young Talent to Its Board

In January, Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance welcomed four new members to its board of directors.

Derrick Hall is the vice president of the Akron Board of Education. He also works for Summa Health Systems specializing in clinical integration and population health. Derrick said his primary goal for joining the KNA board is to work with the community to ensure Kenmore High School is filled with a community-serving school after the 2022 school year and beyond.

James Hardy is a senior program officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where he uses his extensive experience in city-wide economic and community development to build healthy, equitable communities. James served six years as the deputy mayor of integrated development for the city of Akron. In his role as board member, James hopes to expand KNA’s economic development and revitalization role in the community. “There’s nowhere in the city like Kenmore Boulevard,” he said. “I want to finish what we’ve started there.”

Laura Smiley is the sales director for The Summit (91.3FM Akron/90.7FM Youngstown/90.1FM Athens Rock and Recovery; The330; KIDJAM! Radio), where she works with with local businesses, organizations, musicians and music-loving patrons to grow the local music economy and community. Laura has served on the KNA Promotion Committee since 2020 and has hosted several The Summit Presents shows at the Rialto Theatre, which she considers “the best venue in Akron.” Laura joined the board to help program and promote Kenmore Boulevard as Akron’s new music row. “At The Summit, I have a microphone, and I want to use it to help,” she said.

Wendy Zarara is the manager of the Kenmore Branch Library, where she has grown music and culture, history and health programming since joining the staff in 2019. Wendy has served on the KNA Events Subcommittee since joining the Kenmore branch’s staff, and she hopes her board service brings even more activity and programming to the neighborhood.

In addition, the board voted in four new officers: Eric Cooper, Kenmore High School graduate, realtor and team leader for RE/MAX Oasis Dream Homes as chair; John Zoilo, a development consultant with the Akron Civic Theater as vice chair; Kyle Julien, community development program officer at the Development and Finance Authority of Summit County as secretary; and Edward Michalec, owner of The Guitar Department as treasurer.

ABOUT KENMORE NEIGHBORHOOD ALLIANCE Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance is a community development corporation formed in 2016 to preserve, enhance, promote and develop the Kenmore neighborhood in southwest Akron by engaging residents and stakeholders in effecting physical, cultural, artistic, recreational and business revitalization. For more information, visit or follow KNA on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @kenmorehio.

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