One-to-One: Speed Coaching for Artists

Registration closed for 2024

February 6—8, 2024


This program is your chance to connect with local business professionals on topics like goal setting, protecting your art, finding your audience, structuring your arts practice, and planning your financial future. Coaches will respond to your pressing questions and concerns in a private session personalized to the business aspects of your artistic practice.  


Each coach has limited sessions and are available on a first come first served basis. 60-minute sessions are FREE and will be conducted virtually. To get the most out of your session, make sure to complete the pre-survey to help our faculty prepare for your meeting. See FAQ for more details about meetings logistics and how to get the most out of your meeting. If you have questions or concerns, or if you need help selecting a faculty member, please contact 

Registration closed February 1

Centering Your Artistic Practice: Goal Setting 

Sign up if you’re looking for guidance on creating goals to support your career as an artist. 

Karen Starr 

Karen Starr is Co-Owner and Interior Designer at Hazel Tree Design Studio. Founded in 2010 as a picture framing and interior design business in Akron, Ohio, Hazel Tree has evolved into a design studio and art curation business that creates locally-sourced, unique designs for interior and exterior spaces, produces a wide variety of art installations, and cultivates inimitable experiences. Supporting the local artist and maker communities is at the heart of Karen’s work.

Hazel Tree is known for their sustainable approach to interior design and for the large network of local artisans and companies with whom they work to create inspired design solutions. Over the years, Hazel Tree has also delved into public space design, reimagining Lock 2 Park and then Ohio & Erie Canal Park with Akron Civic Commons, creating outdoor living room spaces for the University of Akron and Stark State College Akron, and working alongside Akron Parks Collaborative on City of Akron park spaces.

Karen loves to co-create and support experiences and events that celebrate life in Akron and that unite people around common passions. Karen co-founded Free Outdoor Movie Night in Glendale Cemetery, which later blossomed into Free Akron Outdoor Movies. She co-founded and helps organize the Highland Square PorchRokr Festival with Highland Square Neighborhood Association, and she collaborates on a variety of projects within Hazel Tree’s neighborhood, working with West Hill Neighborhood Organization on public art and placemaking initiatives.

Karen serves on the Summit Artspace Board of Directors, where she sits on the Building Facilities Committee and the Artist Resource Committee.

She also serves on the ArtsNow Board of Directors and was a member of the Akron/Summit Cultural Plan Steering Committee led by ArtsNow.

Karen lives in Merriman Hills and is a singer with local rock-and-roll bands Roxxymoron and The Fourons. She has the most fun when she’s creating art with her hands, relaxing in or near the water, or dancing like nobody’s watching.

Your Well-Being: Mental Health for Artists

Sign up if you are looking for guidance on how your mental well-being, self-talk, and personal beliefs can affect and center your artistic practice.

Dr. William C. Washington

William C. Washington aka, “Dr. Will” is “Mind & Music.” Becoming a living icon.
Dr. Will is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, MDMA-assisted therapist, researcher, Clinical Hypnotherapist, IFS therapist, member of Black Therapist Rock, virtual reality therapist, and has a Ph.D. in Health Psychology. He is an expert in Moral Distress and is currently writing a theory to change how we look into trauma. Dr. Will owns Washington Wellness Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, focusing on holistic, integrative care and clinician-centered support. He created a model called Restorative Enhancement Modality to apply a holistic approach to healing. His biggest goal is to take mental illness and transform it into holistic wellness.

William has another side that keeps him grounded. He is a well-accomplished musician, trained in over nine instruments, and has been playing local, national, and international shows. He is currently touring with internationally acclaimed Mourning [A] Blkstar while locally leading Da Land Brass Band based in Cleveland, OH. William has performed and created music in notable areas such as Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, The Kennedy Center, and Christoph Winkler Company in Germany.

Since the pandemic, William started a nonprofit called Viewunity, which focuses on content creation while advocating for inclusive and healthy spaces for content creators. Viewunity has raised over $10,000 with art collaborators to help sick kids in hospitals.
William states, “Healing isn’t a moment, it is a lifestyle. We must heal ALL ways.”

Ashley Pippin

Ashley’s diverse background prompted her passion for community, diversity, and mental health. Ashley Pippin is the Artistic Director of Genesis Theatre and a Marriage & Family Therapist Trainee.

As a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience in theater education, nonprofits, and ministry, Ashley is a strong believer in transparency and authenticity in the workplace. Ashley regularly develops mental wellness and theater curricula to assist art professionals with effective mental health techniques. Ashley is an advocate for the arts, human trafficking, and the mental health community. Ashley is available for private consultations and coaching.

Ashley holds a Master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy from Capella University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Liberty University, specializing in Religion & Counseling. Ashley enjoys eating & cooking, a good puzzle, and music.

Finding Your Audience: Branding & Vision 

Sign up if you’re looking for guidance on how to communicate about your vision, artwork, and business with others. 

Kristen Dowey 

Kristen has over 10 years of experience across multiple industries including consumer products, healthcare, and higher education, from early stage to industry leader. She spent the past 3 years diving into home care and studying the impact of the pandemic on the space to develop and found OneKey Virtual Care. Kristen serves as the CEO, overseeing the strategic vision of OKVC and ensuring day-to-day operations, partnerships, client relations and employee management. Kristen attended Boston College Carroll School of Management for her undergrad studying business with a minor in American Studies. In college she worked for a hair salon in her native Ohio and a mapping software company, Esri, in SoCal. After graduating, she managed product development at Abercrombie and Fitch. She then ventured to Florida to work for a jeweler to lead marketing and learn graphic design. Simultaneously, she realized self-financing BC was akin to taking out a mortgage minus the house, so she founded a consulting company to work with startups and take on positions including the Creative Director of Kitu Super Coffee (a company now valued at $500M with $131M raised), where she developed materials and strategy to secure their spot on NBC’s SharkTank and win the Peter Thiel Fellowship for a $100,000 grant. She was then recruited by her Alma Mater to build an alumni platform and teach a 1-credit career prep course to freshmen. She has since returned to Northeast Ohio and founded OKVC in the home care technology space. She and her husband, Jarrett, spend time renovating their house, checking out local art exhibits and museums (she serves on the Board at Summit ArtSpace), touring old mansions, going on ghost tours and obsessing over their two little sons.

Finding Your Audience: Marketing & Communications 

Sign up if you’re looking for guidance on marketing strategies and digital communications content.  

Jeanine Black 

With more than 20 years of experience in directing marketing and PR strategies for mission-driven organizations, Jeanine is a strategic leader and communicator.

Most recently, she served as the Chief Strategy and Communications Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Bounce Innovation Hub, where she helped lead strategic planning, process improvement, and management of the nonprofit. She also oversaw all marketing and public relations, developing impactful campaigns; establishing and maintaining strong media and community relations; and exceeding the organization’s outreach goals, such as social media engagement, website traffic, and media coverage. Jeanine is passionate about empowering and inspiring others, problem-solving and innovating, and making a positive difference in the world.

Jeanine is a former member of the Summit Artspace board of directors and is a graduate of Leadership Akron Class 39. She grew up in greater Akron and currently lives in West Akron. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

Jaclyn Hale

Jaclyn Hale (she/her) is an artist and arts professional, who lives and works in Akron, Ohio. Through working in the arts sector for over a decade, her developed areas of expertise include digital and print arts marketing, art business, art sales & ecommerce, branding, copywriting, photography, design, public & customer relations, strategic planning, and project management. She currently serves in the position of Community Engagement Coordinator for the Akron non-profit, Summit Artspace. Previous employers include Zeber-Martell Gallery & Clay Studio, the Akron Art Museum, Artists of Rubber City, and Don Drumm Studios & Gallery. She is also a creative entrepreneur of Jaclyn Hale Designs & Studio, through which she creates and sells her silver smithed art-jewelry line. Hale graduated from The University of Akron’s Myers School of Art in 2016 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, specializing in metalsmithing and jewelry design. Rescue animals, yoga, fitness, the outdoors, and supporting and advocating for local businesses are some of her many personal passions.

Paying Debt & Saving Money: Budgeting 

Sign up if you’re looking for guidance on structuring daily finances to support your lifestyle as a working artist. 

Rachel Durci 

Rachel Durci is a Financial Wellness Coach & the Founder of Effortless Budgeting. Her business mission is to empower couples to feel comfortable having financial conversations with each another, and to empower individuals to feel confident in their financial decisions. She understands that financial wellness is not taught in schools, and money is typically something most people feel uncomfortable discussing. She wants to help people understand that they could learn a lot, and reach financial success, by discussing their own money stories. She offers individual and couples coaching sessions, corporate presentations, and quarterly accountability meetings. 


Protecting Your Art: Contracts & Agreements

Sign up if you’re looking for general guidance on executing contracts for commissions, services provided, or other business-related agreements.  

Michael Steel 

Michael A. Steel is currently the Vice President of Summit ArtSpace’s Board of Directors. He is a business attorney practicing in the Akron area for over 20 years. He manages the Steel & Company Law Firm in their offices in Fairlawn, Ohio. Attorney Steel has significant experience in setting up businesses, drafting and reviewing contracts, addressing financial matters such as bank loans and other debt and creditor matters, handling real estate transactions and leases, establishing succession planning and estate plans, and business and civil litigation. He provides general business and legal guidance to a number of local small business clients. Prior to becoming an attorney, he worked in the film and television industry in Los Angeles, California.

Protecting Your Art: Insurance 

Sign up if you’re looking for guidance on protecting your artwork in different environments. 

Larry Tucker 

Robert L. “Larry” Tucker is an insurance coverage attorney and law professor. Since 1999, he has held an appointment as an adjunct professor teaching Insurance Law at the University of Akron School of Law. After being awarded his Juris Doctor degree, he went on to earn an LL.M. in Insurance Law at the University of Connecticut. He serves as an arbitrator the American Arbitration Association, where he is a member of the Commercial Insurance panel and the Complex Coverage Neutral Evaluation panel, both of which are composed of nationally recognized coverage experts, academics, and former judges with insurance law expertise. He is one of just 24 attorneys who are certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in Insurance Coverage Law. He also is licensed in Ohio as an insurance agent in the property and casualty, life, and accident and health insurance lines.

Structuring Your Arts Practice: Fiscal Sponsorship 

Sign up if you’re creating an arts nonprofit or working on a project that requires grants or other fundraising. 

Heather Meeker 

Heather Meeker (Executive Director, Summit Artspace) is a results-driven nonprofit leader with a passion for achieving organizational vision in the arts, culture, and education fields. Her expertise includes strategic planning, team-building, partnerships, project management, relationship-based fundraising, external affairs, and financial oversight. Heather specializes in creating artist-centered, artist-led initiatives as well as arts education partnerships. Before joining Summit Artspace as Executive Director in 2021, she was Executive Director of The Musical Theater Project for twelve years. Prior leadership positions include directorships at Hiram College, Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio, National Inventors Hall of Fame, and The Repertory Project (now VERB Ballets). Heather earned her B.A. at Hiram College and her M.F.A. in Theatre/Arts Administration at Virginia Tech. 

Your Financial Future: Financial Planning

Sign up if you’re looking for guidance on long-term planning for your finances and retirement. 

Gina Betti 

Gina Betti’s passion is helping others and creating champions in the world. She began her career with Edward Jones in 2009 and has three areas of focus: personal finances, small-business retirement plans and non-profit strategies. She currently serves as a board member of North Coast Job Seekers, Limitless Ambition and Summit Artspace. In addition to my leadership roles, I also volunteer and advocate for Copley Community Outreach, Stewart’s Caring Place and Birthcare of Medina. 

My passion in life is helping people with their finances. Knowing that we help make a positive impact on clients’ lives and help them reach what is important to them is extremely satisfying. With more than 14 years of experience with Edward Jones, I believe in a holistic approach that begins by understanding and clarifying your expectations and goals before investing money. Providing comprehensive wealth strategies involves more than just investment guidance. I welcome the involvement of your CPA, attorney and other professionals to address the entire scope of financial concerns, including your tax mitigation, estate considerations and wealth protection strategies, as well as charitable giving, to tailor a strategy that is appropriate for you and your family. I’m proud to hold the Accredited Asset Management Specialist™ and Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist™ designations, which focus on deeper knowledge in topics important to my clients’ financial health. The College for Financial Planning awards the AAMS™ and CRPS™ designations to individuals who successfully complete a 12-module professional education program, pass a final examination, commit to its code of ethics and agree to pursue continuing education. Outside of the office, I am an active board member with Summit Artspace, Birthcare of Medina, Limitless Ambition and Copley Chamber of Commerce. I’m also a member of P.E.O. International and other local Chamber of Commerce groups.

David A. Freno, CFP®, CEPA®

David focuses on comprehensive customized financial planning and wealth management. He brings creativity and passion to his work as a highly motivated connector, strategist, and problem solver. David is committed to making sophisticated financial planning and education accessible to all, leading with empathy and awareness to help clients navigate the complex structures surrounding personal finances and life planning. His clients include physicians, lawyers, hedge fund managers, and entrepreneurs; and he has a unique focus on LGBTQIA+, artists, musicians, young professionals, Esports, and educators.

David Freno is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC, Member SIPC. Supervisory address: 2012 W. 25th Street, Suite 900, Cleveland OH 44113. (216) 621-5680 David is registered to transact securities business in OH, DC, MI, NY, MA, MD, IL, NC, CO, SC, SD, TN, TX and PA and licensed to transact insurance business in CA, IL, MI, NC, OH, PA, UT, GA, MA, RI, SD, UT, TX, WA. Request from individuals residing outside these jurisdictions cannot be responded to. CA insurance Lic. #4251242; state of domicile is Ohio. CRN202701-5793155

One-to-One is supported in part through grants from Akron Community Foundation Women’s Endowment Fund, Maynard Family Foundation, and ArtsForward, a grant program by ArtsNow.


How do I know which professional to meet with? 

 If you are having trouble deciding, please contact for help. 

Once registered, Summit Artspace staff will connect you with your chosen business professional to coordinate meeting logistics. Participants are responsible for hosting the virtual meeting. We recommend using Zoom, Teams, FaceTime, or Google Meet. If you need help setting up your meeting or a location to conduct it, dont hesitate to reach out to Natalie at 

Prior to your meeting write out questions or topics to discuss with your chosen professional, as these will drive your discussion. Rather than following a class or workshop format, the professional will tailor the conversation to you and your needs. Keep in mind that our professionals may not be able to answer all your questions, but will try their best to point you in the right direction for next steps and more information. 

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