By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer
Editor’s note: This year we are highlighting some of the Rock the CATWALK community models – showcasing their talents, passion and careers leading up to the annual fashion show.
With years of broadcast experience, but none in modeling, Eddie Harrell Jr. will be taking the runway for the first time at this year’s Rock the CATWALK.
Regional manager with a local impact
Regional vice president and general manager for Radio One, Harrell handles the media company’s Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland markets. A media powerhouse in its 36th year, Radio One and its subsidiaries TV One, Reach Media, Interactive One, and One Solution dominate 16 markets, reaching 82 percent of African Americans in the United States.
Harrell’s career with the urban media conglomerate began in 2011 as vice president/general manager of the Columbus stations — four FM bands including a mainstream, two classics stations and a faith-based broadcast. Now, he manages 11 stations across three major cities.
“I have direct responsibility for the operations for our Cleveland market, and our Columbus and Cincinnati markets report to me as well,” he said. “I’m responsible for the business operations and top-line revenue growth and expense control — ultimately the profitability of these markets in Ohio.”
Though this is his first major involvement with United Way of Greater Cleveland, he was a board member for United Way of Central Ohio, which covers Columbus and the surrounding area, before moving to Northeast Ohio.
“I’ve seen the results and the impact of United Way across many communities,” he said. “Whether its addressing educational issues, taking a direct stab at eradicating poverty, to community organizing — I’ve just always been very respectful and attached to the work of United Way because of the great work it does and the organizations it supports that are doing such good work, particularly where I was from in Central Ohio.”
Former CEO of the Columbus Urban League (CUL), his organization was a direct beneficiary of United Way funding. An affiliate of the National Urban League, CUL works to “empower African American and disenfranchised groups through economic, education and social progress.”
Since moving to Cleveland, Harrell joined the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission Board of Directors. He also served as co-chair of the Marketing and Community Relations Subcommittee for the 2016 Republican National Convention Host Committee. Currently, he serves as vice chair of the board for Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.
“I’ve always been a big believer in supporting initiatives tied to education,” he said. “Whether supporting programs designed to strengthen reading skills with young people, to being an advocate at the university level, my passion has always been around providing young people the tools and skills to be successful in our global marketplace.”
A first time for everything
While fashion is not in his job description, Harrell is excited to take part in this year’s event.
“I’ve been a big believer in United Way and what it stands for and ultimately it was a no-brainer to say yes to doing the Catwalk because it’s supporting United Way,” he said. “This is my first time doing something like this, so I’m pretty excited.”
While the only major expectation he has for the event is not to fall, he joked, he plans to have fun, limited runway experience aside.
“The expectation is to have fun, it’s for a good cause, and I think it’s just part of my desire to always do good business, do good for the community in which we serve and it’s the least I could to do be helpful — to wear nice clothes and benefit a great organization such as United Way.”
J3 Clothing in Moreland Hills will be providing Harrell’s attire for the night. While no one can prematurely pinpoint what Harrell will be styling that night, boutique co-owner JB Dunn did preview some fall fashions this year, which will include layers, cashmeres and warm autumn colors.
This year’s Rock the CATWALK is Thursday, November 3 at the Global Center for Health Innovation. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact Megan Shadrach at firstname.lastname@example.org.