Program Description:

IGNITE is a racial equity and inclusion action planning program that includes a virtual two part orientation session that provides racial equity data relevant to Greater Cleveland and the historical context of racial disparities; a debrief of the information; and assistance developing goals for participants’ and their organizations’ growth. Prework will help orient the participants to the experience and two virtual check-ins will review progress toward the goals. The program is designed specifically for leaders within the business community.

Program Objectives:

Build awareness of the racial inequities caused by systemic racism and the history and policies that lead to these disparate outcomes.
Understand the implications that will negatively impact the region’s economic development and growth.
Explore personal reactions to content presented and the responsibility to act differently with greater awareness.


Fall Cohort 2021 Dates | Session 3:  

•Friday, October 1, 2021 – 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. -– Orientation Part 1
•Friday, October 8, 2021 – 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.  – Orientation Part 2
•Friday, October 22, 2021 – 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.   – Midpoint
•Friday, November 5, 2021 – 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. - Final

* Both orientation dates are required. 

Cost: GCP Members: $125.00          Nonmembers: $175.00 per person

Facilitator: Erica Merritt, Founder & CEO, Equius Group, LLC

Program Contact:

Jejuana C. Brown, Director of Equity and Inclusion Programs,


Erica HeadshotErica Merritt, Founder & Principal Consultant, Equius Group LLC

Erica Merritt is the founder of Equius Group, LLC a consulting firm committed to supporting individuals and organizations to see and experience the world and their work through an equity lens.  She uses her expertise in social justice, team dynamics, individual change and the power of inclusion to help leaders transform themselves, their teams and organizations in powerful and sustainable ways. 

Erica has been training, speaking and facilitating around issues of social justice for more than 15 years.  She has designed programs and facilitated workshops focused on race and racism, oppression and social change just to name a few.

Organizational clients, training participants, coaching clients and colleagues find her knowledgeable, insightful and disarming.  Her gift for asking powerful questions and building deep connections make Erica a valued partner in her client’s growth and success.  She has partnered with organizations and individuals in the corporate, nonprofit, governmental and academic space. 

Committed to positive change in the civic realm, Erica is a leadership coach for the Neighborhood Leadership Development Program --- A program that develops grassroots leaders to have maximum impact in their neighborhoods. Erica served as a part-time faculty member in Cuyahoga Community College’s Psychology Department for more than ten years.  She has blogged for She In The CLE on women’s leadership, diversity and issues important to fellow Clevelanders. Her past work experience includes leadership roles at Case Western Reserve University, The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio and YWCA Greater Cleveland. 

Erica holds a Bachelor of the Arts Degree in Public Relations from Ursuline College and a Master of the Arts Degree in Psychology with a certification in Diversity Management (NTL) from Cleveland State University.  She also holds coaching certifications from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland and the Center for Credentialing Education.