Chief development and marketing officer, Specialized Alternatives for Families & Youth
About: Farris joined Specialized Alternatives for Families & Youth in 2015 where she executes programs to secure funding to support its programs and clients. She also oversees its branding and content strategies to increase awareness of its programs, thought leadership and the need for foster parents. Farris has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Notre Dame College of Ohio and an MBA from Ashland University. She and her husband, Kevin, live in Blacklick and have three children—Kayla, Kevin and Kaden—and a mini goldendoodle.
Columbus must consider the thoughts and ideas of the next generation as part of our decision-making and planning.
Outside of work: Farris is a member of the board of directors for Homes on the Hill. She also has mentored youth for the past 10 years, including through Big Brothers, Big Sisters, her church and 4-H youth development clubs. Farris also has volunteered with The Center for Healthy Families.
What does Columbus need to thrive? Columbus must consider the thoughts and ideas of the next generation as part of our decision-making and planning. The city has an abundance of boards, councils and commissions, which are comprised of adults making decisions that impact the lives of everyone, both young and old. Including a youth committee as part of these organizations will. bring fresh ideas to the table. Additionally, I recommend establishing a Youth Advisory Council composed of high-performing high school and collegiate students from diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to encourage thinking around policy issues, identify the challenges facing our youth and develop commonsense solutions. This would also help to build up future leaders in and around Central Ohio while fueling diversity and inclusion.
Farris’ idea: Forming a citywide Youth Advisory Council could become our annual project. The Future 50 could collaborate with each other to bring this idea to life—from developing the strategy to defining its mission, objectives and goals to outlining the governing practices to ultimately launching and finetuning as we go.