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City, County Nominate New Members to Gateway Board

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Media Contact:
Kelly Woodard: (216) 250-6146,
Sarah Johnson: (216) 571-7644,


The nominees will enhance leadership and innovation on the nonprofit board

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH - Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland announced the nomination of Virginia “GiGi” Benjamin as Chair of the Gateway Economic Development Corporation of Greater Cleveland. Gateway owns Progressive Field and Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse and leases these facilities to the Cleveland Guardians and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively. The joint appointment requires city and county approval.

If approved as Chair of the Gateway Board, Benjamin will bring her expertise and leadership to contribute to the organization’s strategic direction. Before her retirement last year, Benjamin served as Partner and then Senior Counsel at Calfee. She has a proven track record of public finance for municipalities, counties, the State of Ohio, and related agencies, including airport, water and sewer system revenue bonds, and tax increment financing.

“GiGi Benjamin is a civic leader with a deep understanding of finance and is uniquely prepared to take over the chairmanship of Gateway Economic Development Corporation of Greater Cleveland. She will bring a rich blend of knowledge, energy, and a collaborative style to the board that will propel economic development in Downtown Cleveland and throughout our region,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne.

“Cleveland is certainly a land on the rise, and there is so much potential for continued growth and positive change. With innovative and forward-thinking leaders like Virginia at the helm, there is a renewed commitment to the economic revival of Cleveland. I'm excited to see the transformation that her leadership will bring,” said Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb.

In addition to Benjamin, Bryce Sylvester and Debbie Berry will join the Gateway Board as Cuyahoga County’s nominees. Sylvester has been the Team NEO’s Senior Director of Site Strategies since 2022. As a former City Planner and Director of Planning and Development for the City of Lakewood, Sylvester’s extensive knowledge of economic and real estate development, land use, and project management will be an asset to the Gateway Board.

Berry is the Deputy Chief of Staff of Integrated Development for Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne. She leads the county’s vision for long-term integrated development, housing, mobility, transportation, and public works strategies to invigorate the region. In prior positions, Berry has led regional civic development initiatives, including the lakefront, riverfront, and downtown redevelopment.

Virginia Benjamin will replace outgoing chair Ken Silliman. Debbie Berry and Bryce Sylvester will replace board members Ron King and Matt Carroll. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the outgoing members of the Gateway Board. Their dedicated service has been instrumental in steering the organization, and we appreciate their contributions,” adds Executive Ronayne.

Visit the Gateway Economic Development Corporation of Greater Cleveland for more information.