Flash Talks

August 2 at 9:30 AM

Each year, we invite members of the host city’s communities – their leaders, movers and shakers – to share short, inspirational stories during the Flash Talks session. Learn from their efforts and gather ideas for your own!

Hillary A. Bates

Director of Purpose and Impact, Highlights

As Sr. Director of Purpose and Impact at Highlights for Children, Hillary Bates works to animate the business with a sense of shared purpose, to help raise creative, curious, caring and confident children who will make the world a kinder and more connected place. She takes insights gleaned from her leadership experience in communications, fundraising, and marketing in the cultural sector at organizations like the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Ohio History Connection to bring the struggles, worries, and joys of the human family into business decisions.

A boomeranged Midwesterner, Hillary enjoys a nice flat Ohio hike and the best library system in the country (forever may it reign). She lives with her husband Josh and children Graham (15) and Jill (12) in Delaware, Ohio, along with chickens, bunnies, cats, and a rooster named Kitty.

Sarah Lagrotteria

Chief Education Officer, Just Bloom

Sarah Lagrotteria (MA, Stanford) is the head educator at Just Bloom School, where she empowers individuals and businesses with Dr. Angus Fletcher’s pioneering theory of creativity. She offers her narrative-based workshops privately through Just Bloom and in partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art

In 2019, Sarah was honored as one of 50 women nationwide as a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow for women in business. Known for bringing clarity and individual attention to her workshops, Sarah inspires industry leaders, school educators, and small business professionals to unearth and deploy the stories that make them resilient and uniquely able to drive change in their organization and themselves.

Stephanie Matthews

Executive Director, A Tribe for Jazz

The mission of A Tribe for Jazz is to preserve the legacy and advance the future of jazz
through visual storytelling, live and virtual performances, education, and community
engagement. Stephanie Matthews is the Executive Director at A Tribe for Jazz. Under her guidance, the organization undertakes diverse initiatives, including live performances, concert film production, strategic community partnerships, and innovative educational programs bridging jazz with social-emotional learning (SEL) and STEAM education.

A standout project under Stephanie’s leadership is E X P L O R A T I O N, a multidisciplinary experience with Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) objectives. This initiative combines mindfulness, jazz, and collaborative arts to promote self-awareness, authentic connectedness, collaboration, and team cohesion. The workshop extends its impact beyond traditional boundaries, reaching across various sectors, including nonprofits, corporations, frontline organizations, and spaces dedicated to veterans.

Beyond her contributions to jazz preservation, Stephanie Matthews boasts a 17-year career in creative direction and photography. Her expertise spans fashion, sports, dance, photojournalism, and fine art. Through her creative lens, Stephanie has impacted various industries, showcasing a versatile and dynamic approach that underscores her commitment to artistic excellence.

Ashley Darr

Sr. Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications, Experience Columbus

Ashley Darr is currently the Sr. Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications at Experience Columbus, overseeing consumer facing channels that promote leisure tourism to Columbus.  Throughout her career, she has spearheaded creative and brand development, paid media, social media, public relations and strategic partnerships to exceed business growth trajectories.  With almost 20 years in advertising and marketing, Ashley has a passion for storytelling.  Ashley is a very active mom to three girls and loves uncovering hidden gems when travelling.