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Douglass Bennett
Vice President of External Affairs

Douglass Bennett is the Vice President of External Affairs for Step Forward. His focus is on development, integration and implementation of a broad range of public relations activities relative to the strategic direction of the organization and its leadership. 


Before joining Step Forward, Doug was in Community Affairs for Gateway Health, covering the Northeast and Northwest areas of Ohio.

Before joining Gateway Health, Doug ran his own consulting business and worked for Medical Mutual. Prior to returning to Cleveland, he served as the first Executive Director of Leadership 18, an association of CEOs from the largest health and human service organizations in the U.S. There, he managed membership and organizational direction, aiming to enhance strategic leadership and inspire collective action among CEOs of major non-profits. Doug joined Leadership 18 after working at AT&T, one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, and before that, he was an Assistant Vice President for Commercial Lending at National City Bank.


Doug was inducted into the Kaleidoscope 40 under 40 in June of 1999. In 2005, he was selected as an American Marshall Fellow-German Marshall Fund of the United States, which builds a global network of leaders understanding international affairs. He has served on many civic and community organizations. His past involvement includes the following boards: President of the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce; the City Club of Cleveland; The United Black Fund; Treasurer- the Diversity Center; and the Cleveland Leadership Center. He served as a Mayoral Appointee to the on the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Beachwood. 


In addition to Doug’s past involvement on boards, he also served on several committees including, the visiting Committee for Cleveland State University, and helped organize local events for other community organizations. Doug is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Blacks in Management, and the Civil Service Commission in the City of Beachwood. 

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