Ms. Vanessa Whiting – 2019

Vanessa L. Whiting, Esq. is the President of A.E.S. Management Corporation, a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen franchisee in Northeast Ohio. (A.E.S.). A.E.S. employs over 350 Cuyahoga and Summit County residents at its fifteen (15) Popeyes locations, giving workforce experience to those in our community. After the sudden death of her husband Anthony E. Smith, the founder of A.E.S. Management Corp., Ms. Whiting took the helm and currently serve as CEO. Ms. Whiting is a prominent attorney in the Cleveland area and has extensive experience in economic and community development law, real estate law, tax credit law, and public finance. Ms. Whiting has been recognized by Northeast Ohio Live Magazine as one of the top 100 attorneys in the State of Ohio. Ms. Whiting began her 30 year legal career at the law firms of Bryan & Cave and Calfee, Halter & Griswold. She established her own firm in 1995 and practiced as a sole practitioner until 2007, when she became a partner at the law firm of Roetzel & Andress. She re-established her firm in 2011 and continued to assist her clients in revitalizing Cleveland’s neighborhoods. While practicing law, Ms. Whiting was licensed in the states of Missouri, Ohio, Illinois and the District of Columbia. She still maintains her Ohio license. 

Ms. Whiting graduated cum laud with a B.S. degree in public policy from Duke University. She received an M.S. in urban affairs and public policy from Southern Illinois University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urban. Her interests include social justice, minority business development, community development, the arts, politics, education and health care. 

Ms. Whiting is the current Board Chair of the Metro Health System. She established the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and chairs the Legal and Government Relations Committee and the Governance Committee. She also served as Board Secretary. Ms. Whiting is a member of the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation Board, the Greater Cleveland Partnership Board and. chairs the Capital and Sustainability Campaign for Karamu House. 

Previously she served on the Boards of the Cleveland Housing Network (Vice President), Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, New Village Corporation (President), Playhouse Square, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Cleveland Branch of the NAACP (Co-Chair Economic Development Committee). 

Ms. Whiting has received a number of honors and awards including the 2018 National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc., Cleveland Chapter, Woman of Vision, the Women of Color Foundation Hall of Fame and Women of Achievement Award, The Women’s Business Center, 2018 Women of the Year, Crain’s Women of Note, Northeastern Neighborhood Development Corporation Community Builder, and the Kaleidoscope Magazine 40 under 40 recognition. 

Ms. Whiting is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Alpha Omega Chapter, The Links, Incorporated, Cleveland Chapter, the Northeasterners, and the Jack and Jill of America Incorporated, Associates Chapter, Cleveland, Ohio. Ms. Whiting is an elder at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, and has served on its Session and has served as the Clerk of Session. She has chaired the Mission Committee, served as a confirmand Mentor, taught Sunday School and is currently on the personnel committee, Session, and Faith Formation Committee. Ms. Whiting is a mother of three adult children, Taylor, Lorin and Anthony Smith, II.