Mayor-Elect Shammas Malik Announces Additional Cabinet Appointments

Akron, Ohio, Dec. 29, 2023 — In the final announcement before Mayor-Elect Malik is sworn in as Akron’s 63rd Mayor, he is welcoming three more Cabinet members to the administration as well as an additional appointed position. Mayor-Elect Malik is proud to announce Esther Thomas as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Casey Shevlin in the newly created role of Director of Sustainability and Resiliency, Stephanie Marsh as Director of Communications, and Patricia Porter in an appointed role as Digital Media Assistant. 

“As we quickly approach day one of my administration, I’m happy to welcome these exceptional leaders to the team,” said Mayor-Elect Malik. “Esther Thomas, Casey Shevlin, Stephanie Marsh, and Patricia Porter will each add a level of expertise, creativity, and energy to our growing group of leaders. Each one of these women is the best possible candidate for their respective role and I’m excited for the work ahead with this outstanding group.” 

Esther Thomas - Director of DEI

An Akron native and lifelong student of justice and equity, Esther L. Thomas joins the City of Akron with 20+ years of public service. She has held positions of Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Magistrate with Summit County Juvenile Court, and Human Resources Director with Community Action Akron Summit. Additionally, Thomas has been the chair of the Akron Civil Rights Commission for 3 years. 

While at the Sheriff’s Office, Thomas was the project director for year-round Faith & Blue events, designed to unite community and public safety professionals. She looks forward to working with City of Akron employees in courageous conversations and increasing equity in City government.

Thomas earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Amherst College in Amherst MA and her Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

She is an avid theatergoer and was last seen on stage in Weathervane’s 2022 production of The Color Purple. She is a proud auntie and great aunt to a dozen.

Casey Shevlin - Director of Sustainability and Resiliency

As the city's first Director of Sustainability and Resiliency, Casey Shevlin will be responsible for helping coordinate and grow the city's focus on environmental issues. Shevlin most recently served as the senior sustainability analyst in the Corporate Responsibility department at FirstEnergy, where she was responsible for improving the company’s performance on a range of sustainability topics, including climate change. Shevlin has previously worked in a variety of communications, research, and academic positions.

Shevlin serves on the Women’s Network Leadership Institute’s Advisory Council and on the Board of the Conservancy for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

She is originally from New York and received her B.A. in English from Emmanuel College and her M.A. in English from the University of Akron. She lives with her husband Brian and their dog Maverick in the Firestone Park neighborhood of Akron. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in our local and national parks, practicing yoga in Highland Square, and eating her way through the downtown Akron restaurant scene. 

Stephanie Marsh – Director of Communications 

Stephanie Marsh obtained a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from Kent State University where she studied English and graduated with University Honors in 2012. Before joining the Mayor’s Office communications team in 2019, Marsh was a Senior Customer Content Specialist at PR Newswire/Cision and was the President of Cision’s global LGBTQ+ employee resource group. She was promoted to her current position as Chief Communications Officer in early 2022. 

In her current role, Marsh oversees City of Akron professional communications, event coordination and press relations from the Office of the Mayor. She leads citywide marketing strategy as well as ideation and execution of City communications initiatives, community engagement and events. In the last year, she has been responsible for creating and launching the city’s new website, implementing Zencity as the city’s first data-driven engagement platform, maintaining the city’s weekly newsletter, and rebranding citywide communications. 

Marsh also serves as one of the LGBTQ+ liaisons to the Mayor’s office, and is a board member and advocacy committee chair at CANAPI (Community AIDS Network and Akron Pride Initiative).

Patricia Porter – Digital Media Assistant 

Born and raised in the City of Akron, Patricia Porter obtained a Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication magna cum laude and a Diversity Studies Certificate from Ohio University. She graduated in May 2023 and will join the City of Akron Mayor’s Office communications team in January. While in college, Porter worked as the Marketing and Communications Manager at a local arthouse theater from 2019-2023. 

In her new role with the Mayor’s Office, Porter will work with other communications team members to create, design and deliver public relations, marketing, and informational materials for the Mayor’s Office. She will assist with written material and all digital collateral as well as aiding in content creation. She will assist with social media management, including community engagement and feedback.