Meet the Team

Liz Martin
Executive Director

Liz is a Cleveland native who adopted Columbus as her home nearly 15 years ago. Feeling a special pride for this great city, she loves giving back to the community. In her 9-5 role, she’s a community development manager for an Ohio nonprofit, organizing fundraising and recognition events. She is also a loving mom the sweetest dog in the world. When she has free time, Liz enjoys local music, tea, friends, and travel.

Keith Miles
Operations Director

Keith is a Navy brat from Florida but came to Ohio in 2010 and never looked back. He connected with Columbus’s spirit, charm, and sense of community – and immediately fell in love. His passion for customer service makes him the perfect fit for Columbus SOUP. He’s been with Chase Bank for 12 years and spends his days surfing the internet to see what people say about the bank. A recent graduate from National University, he hold a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications. Now with more free time on his hands, he’s figuring out how to occasionally find time to watch TV, eat, and sleep.

Bryant Miller
Director / Event Host

Bryant is a Louisiana native who came to work in Columbus for a few weeks, and almost a decade later, never went back. He has a great love for the city and all things local, so joining SOUP was a perfect fit. By day, he’s the Columbus Community Manager for – hosting events, writing communications, and connecting people with great local businesses. And when he’s not Yelping, Bryant loves riding his bike, checking out local markets, and meeting friends at Jeni’s for the world’s best ice cream.

Tara Brewster

In her own words, Tara loves “fast cars, good conversation, and craft beer… usually not all at the same time though.” A graduate of the Ohio State University Department of Design, her design passions include motion graphics, video, UX/UI, and branding. Her deep love for Central Ohio and keen eye for design make her a great asset to the Columbus SOUP team.

Mary Sundermeier

Mary is incredibly passionate about the Columbus community and people in it. She’s a communications professional, part time art model, and President of Y.E.S! Columbus, a young professional women’s organization that champions the cause of Dress for Success Columbus. She loves art, start-up concepts, and thinking outside the box. She believes that if you have more than enough resources, you should be building a longer table, not a taller fence.

Joe Giessler

Joe brings his passion for community service and volunteering to Columbus SOUP. He believes strongly in being an active participant in making Ohio’s capital city a shining example of community engagement. The former Executive Director of Columbus Gives Back, he’s excited to bring SOUP lovers together with opportunities to give a leg up to some great organizations in the city.

Ryan Kovalaske

A native Ohioan, Ryan previously served as the primary contact for Columbus SOUP at our fiscal sponsor, Community Shares of Mid Ohio. Since leaving that organization in late 2016, Ryan has joined us directly to coordinate our grant applications and outreach. His diverse background also allows him to assist in development, networking, and partnerships across the community. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and journalism from Ashland University.

Past SOUP Team Members

Catey Seiser
Co-Founder / Director Emeritus

Catey is a Michigan native who called Columbus home for over a decade. She heard of the SOUP concept during a trip to Detroit in 2012 and was eager to make it happen for Columbus. After co-founding SOUP, she relocated to North Carolina where she enjoys wine, reading, shopping, gardening, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Jorie Emory
Co-Founder / Director Emertius

After launching a successful SOUP project in Humboldt Country, California, Jorie came to Columbus to finish her PhD and quickly heard that a Columbus version of SOUP was starting up. Eager to lend her experience to the team, Jorie helped the team earn early support from organizations such as the Create Columbus Commission. After completing her studies, Jorie left Columbus and is now the Institutional Giving Manager for The River Network in Portland, Oregon.

Steven Schalwitz
Director Emertius

Steven joined the SOUP team in 2014 as the Graphic Design Director. Lending his talents to SOUP, he boosted the organization with his creative designs and professional images. In 2015, Steven left Columbus for the mountains of Colorado but his passion for Columbus left a mark on SOUP that will not be forgotten.

Christina Christian
Co-Founder / Director Emeritus

As a Columbus native, Christina’s love of the city comes shining through everything she does. Her experiences at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and made Christina the perfect fit for the Columbus SOUP team. In 2015, Christina joined StartUp Week as their Program Coordinator, a role that takes her to cities across the country as they launch great entrepreneurial ideas. In her spare time, Christina enjoys sampling craft beers and fine wines, traveling, running, cycling, and indulging in delectable foods.

Lisa Steward
Director Emeritus

Lisa was born and raised here in Columbus but has traveled across the globe. Swearing she hasn’t found anything else quite like home, Lisa is an avid fan of the Capital City and will alert you of all the great things (food, beer, music, and art) it has to offer. Lisa enjoys reading, cooking, and being a freelance artist. After spending much of her youth volunteering, the urge to give back to her community hit again, and she has been with Columbus SOUP ever since.