Ingenuity's Staff

Emily Appelbaum

Emily Appelbaum, Executive Artistic Director

Emily joined Ingenuity in 2015, after returning to Cleveland from the Bay Area where she helped make places awesome through collaborative design, large-scale public art, earthshaking events, and outreach to underserved communities.

She has a degree in Architecture and Urban Studies from Yale, and she has a passion for creative place-making through artist involvement. She serves as Art Director for Brite Cleveland, and worked previously with LAND studio, City Architecture and Westlake Reed Leskosky (Cleveland); and (in San Francisco) American Steel Studios, the Box Shop and the late, great San Francisco Bay Guardian. She has been instrumental in visioning and bringing the Hamilton Collaborative to life.

Alyssa Perna, Managing Director

Alyssa joined Ingenuity as their Managing Director in 2019, coming to the organization with over a decade of operations and event leadership experience. Prior to joining Ingenuity, she led the business performance for the Americas division at a global conference production company which produced 30+ events in North and South America. Her experience includes designing and producing events, overall budget management, and leading a diverse team of event professionals towards achieving financial growth.  As Managing Director for Ingenuity, Alyssa is charged with managing general operations and revenue-generating efforts including individual and corporate giving, planned giving, sponsorships, event rentals, memberships, our IngenuityLabs incubator program, and many facets of the Ignite! program.

In 2016, she was named Corporate Event Planner Rising Star of the year by Cleveland Business Connects Magazine. Alyssa is a Cleveland native, and a graduate of Notre Dame College, and owner of Experience Events. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 daughters, gardening and playing with her backyard flock of chickens.

Alyssa Headshot_RET

Russa Wenzel, Operations Manager

Russa is a Cleveland native who has spent the last decade overseeing all kinds of events within our city! With a strong passion for inclusive spaces and community engagement Russa first came to Ingenuity in 2018 as a Volunteer Coordinator, her role has since grown to Operations and Sustainability Manager- helping to grow Ingenuity's programming, Ingeneers and annual festival.
In her free time she enjoys kayaking and exploring the outdoors with her dog Kovi.

Hannah Maier, Marketing Coordinator

Hannah earned a bachelor’s degree in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship from Baldwin Wallace University and brings a passion for working on events that allow arts and culture to reach the widest possible audience. While at BW, Hannah worked for the nationally-recognized BW Music Theater program as the Producer of their New York showcase. She has also served as Arts Administration Intern at Beck Center for the Arts, Marketing and Program Coordination Intern at The Musical Theater Project, and Education/Audience Engagement Intern at Great Lakes Theater.

Hannah now manages marketing and media for Ingenuity as well as development and fundraising. Hannah also handles event logistics for Ingenuity’s annual Festival & Bal as well as day-to-day office administration and maintenance.

Outside of the office, Hannah loves attending other local arts events, cheering on Cleveland's sports teams, trying out new Cleveland restaurants & breweries, and soaking up the sun at beautiful Cleveland parks.


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