Young Professional Profiles

Jordan Davis

Photo by Ryan M.L. Young

Age: 24

Occupation: manager of events and development for the Columbus Partnership

Education: bachelor’s degree in political science and leadership studies, Ohio State University

Hometown: Westerville

Community and board involvement: member, Central Ohio Leadership Academy and Create Columbus Commission; committee member, Highball Halloween

Neighborhood: German Village

Personal: single


What do you value about your work?

Probably what I value the most is the engagement with the community and the opportunity to contribute to the community dialogue. And second would be to learn. I learn a tremendous amount, not only from our members, but from Alex Fischer and Steve Lyons.


What do you enjoy about living in Columbus?

I enjoy the youthfulness of the community. I love how active it is.

I love how open it is. I love the culture. I love how accepting it is. I love the diversity and … I love the size. I feel like it’s a perfect place to grow your career because it’s not too big where the decision-makers or the community leaders are out of touch.


How can Columbus attract more young professionals?

We need to do a better job in offering internships all year round. I think we have a tremendous opportunity to compete with the Chicagos and the New Yorks of the world by offering summer internship programs where we are bringing in students from outside Ohio to intern with some of our fantastic Fortune 1000 companies and constantly bringing people into our community.

Two, I think we need to fix our public transportation. It’s very hard, if not impossible, to get around the community or to go to different areas of town quickly without a car. And that really needs to change.


What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday night?

One hundred percent in the Short North at dinner with a group of friends, and then who knows where. Anywhere down there, you can’t go wrong.


What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?

Brunch. We go to Aab India in Grandview. We go there all the time.

John Lowe

Photo by Ryan M.L. Young

Age: 40

Occupation: CEO of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Education: bachelor’s degree in political science, University of Illinois; Juris Doctor from Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law

Hometown: South Side of Chicago

Neighborhood: Upper Arlington

Personal: married with three boys ages 8, 5 and 2


When and why did you move to Columbus?

August of 1995. I had never been to Columbus. I had no intention of staying. I was here because Moritz offered me a good deal to come. [After graduation, Lowe got a job practicing labor and employment law at Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter.]

I met Charly Bauer and Jeni Britton Bauer back when I was a first-year lawyer. They became very good friends of mine. When they decided to get Jeni back into the ice cream business, I helped them set up the company in return for a pint of ice cream [Salty Caramel] and a beer.


What do you value about your work?

One whole wall of my office is chalkboard paint, and it says, ‘Can you imagine doing anything else?’ The point of that is I consider myself one of the luckiest guys in the world. I get to come to work every day with friends, and my job is to build a team around the Michael Jordan of ice cream.

The opportunity to grow a great little business that helps the community, that shows people that you can run a business the right way, is really exciting, really fun. The hopes I had when I gave up my prior career to join Jeni’s have all come true.

We’re having success. We’re on the shelves of something like 750 locations across the country. The ice cream’s carried in Dubai, Kuwait. We’ve increased from four to 11 stores, and we’ve got plans for more. We’re getting to take on big challenges with an energized, focused group of very dedicated employees.


How did founding in Columbus contribute to Jeni’s success?

Columbus has been incredibly supportive of Jeni from the very earliest days through today. … When I first met Jeni, every place we went, people would come up to her and say, ‘You’ve got to get back into the ice cream business, you’ve got to give it another shot.’ Scream had not worked out for a number of reasons, but she had developed a cult following, and those people were very supportive of her.

In numerous ways, Columbus has been supportive ever since.


Would you have stayed in Columbus had it not been for Jeni’s?

When I decided to leave GE [as general counsel for various divisions] it was a major, major life change. I was trading in pay and Fortune 500 corporate success for the opportunity to do something unique with my friends in growing Jeni’s. [For] the opportunity to have a quality of life where I could be a husband and a father in a way that I was unable to in my prior roles.


What are some things you enjoy about living in Columbus?       

We’ve lived in a number of cities. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to get to live in Columbus. We are only seven minutes away from the Short North. We get to take advantage of the great diversity, creativity and small business culture that has developed in Columbus. We can get to Crew games, Clippers games, and I think our very favorite thing is to attend OSU basketball games. We’re very fortunate to have such easy access to [that] sort of world-class entertainment.

Shannon Hardin

Photo by Ryan M.L. Young

Age: 26

Occupation: external affairs manager for the city of Columbus, Mayor Michael Coleman’s office

Hometown: South Side of Columbus

Education: bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations, Morehouse College

Community and board involvement: vice president, Franklin County Young Democrats; member, IMPACT Community Action and Kids Voting Central Ohio

Neighborhood: South Side of Columbus

Personal: single


What do you value about your work?

There are a lot of things around that everybody sees on any given day that they would want to change or want to help with. Being in the mayor’s office, I have very few barriers to actually working on those things.

If you see a need in the community, there’s no better place to be to help change that need than the mayor’s office. We are thought leaders. We answer the calls every day coming in from folks that have concerns big and small. Being able to help in a real way is really, really a cool thing about working in this office and working in government in general.


What do you like about living in Columbus?

I love a lot of things about Columbus. One, the price of living is low. We’re at the beginning of our careers, but we can still have some sort of a life and a lifestyle here.

People are friendly. I’ve traveled a lot and I don’t know another city, another place that has folks as welcoming as Columbus. It’s the nuances of, you know, you’re crossing the street and somebody will smile and say hello. If you go to other big cities or cities our size, you don’t always get that community decency.

I really love the opportunity to move up in Columbus. I think that we have a professional community that looks to young professionals and values their input. That calls upon them and takes their role seriously.


What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday night?

Truthfully, the best part about being in Columbus is my family’s here, my entire family. … I’m an outdoorsy guy, I like to be around a bonfire with my family hanging out.

What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?

I’ll be at church.


Would you consider relocating?

I’m very interested in going into political office … but my passion to run is so that I can help my community, and my community is Columbus. I would only want to represent Columbus. I would only want to work for the city of Columbus. That’s where my heart is and my passion to work the long hours and get things done comes from.

I couldn’t see me living anywhere else, especially permanently. I would potentially go to D.C. for a job … but that would just be a stop on the way back home.


Michelle Galligan

Photo by Ryan M.L. Young

Age: 34

Occupation: CEO and cofounder, ViaVero

Education: bachelor’s degree in management information systems, University of Dayton

Hometown: Springboro, a Dayton suburb

Community and board involvement: board member, Beagel BioProducts and Entrepreneurs’ Organization Columbus; advisory board chair, Bad Girl Ventures Columbus; advisory member, Ohio State University Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer, Student Commercialization board

Neighborhood: Downtown

Personal: Single


When and why did you move to Columbus?

(Galligan took a job in Ernst & Young’s Columbus office in 2001.)

Ernst & Young, in my personal opinion, and probably any big-four firm, is a great place to be a young professional. It really has this high-performance, collaborative culture about it, and they encourage a lot of community involvement. It’s this work-hard, play-hard philosophy that works really well for young professionals.


What do you like about living in Columbus?

I moved up here from Cincinnati because I really was looking for a much more vibrant young professional scene. Because we have a lot of people who stay after they leave Ohio State, I think that it’s a really energetic community. One of the things I see that’s different from other cities … we have a lot of young professionals who are really involved in the community, which I think is really cool. Some of them even starting their own nonprofits, sitting on boards of nonprofits, getting involved in networking organizations. It seems like people really just embrace that here.


What could Columbus improve?

We could use a little more innovation from the current companies in Columbus. I think that’s an attractor for talent. When you have really, really bright students graduating from, not just Ohio State, but the other universities in town, a lot of people are looking to do something different and do something interesting. We don’t have a lot of the large corporations here in Columbus that are really focused on innovation. 

I think we need to continue to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem here. I think that we still have a little of the Midwest mentality that the thing to do when you graduate is to go get a job with a big corporation. There are a lot of examples of young professionals who’ve really built some amazing businesses. So I think we need to build an even stronger ecosystem to support those individuals.


What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday night?

Definitely in the Short North. Rossi is definitely my favorite. … Also, just kind of walking around and stopping in wherever it seems like people are having a good time.


What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?

Grabbing some coffee at Cup of Joe or One Line [and then] walking around the Short North or taking a run on the Scioto Path.