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Next Up Columbus 2021: Colin Page McGinnis

Colin Page McGinnis
Colin Page McGinnis

Photo by Matt Reese / CityPulse Columbus

Interview by Derek Grosso

Name: Colin Page McGinnis
Pronouns: he/him
Age: 27
Profession: CEO, South Side Early Learning
Neighborhood: Downtown
Education: Colin holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science from The Ohio State University (’15) and a Masters of Arts in Educational Psychology from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln (’17). He is completing a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School, and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science from The Ohio State University.
Community Involvement: National Coalition of School Diversity (Individual Member), Future Ready by Five Planning Team, Future Ready Columbus (Executive Committee), Future Ready Columbus, (Early Childhood Advisory Council), Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Vital Signs (Kindergarten Readiness Advisory Council), Human Services Chamber (Public Policy Council Member)
Words to live by: “Play is the Highest Form of Research” – Albert Einstein
Connect: LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Give us a snapshot of your career path:
Prior to joining SSEL, I taught at the University of Nebraska Lincoln while in graduate school, and served as the Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Research for Being Black at School. I joined South Side Early Learning in 2018.

What gets you up in the morning and what keeps you going through the workweek?
The littles. Every day I wake up and do the work that I do because I am in the unique position where I get to have an impact on littles today, but also build a better Columbus for tomorrow.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
I am fortunate to have had three amazing Board Chairs while at South Side Early Learning (Mary Cusick, Shiloh Todorov and Beth Fisher) who have each helped provide insights and advice along the way. However, I also really want to stress to rising leaders how much advice they can glean from their friends and peers. We often make the mistake of thinking mentorship needs to come from someone more experienced or senior than ourselves. The problem in doing this, and I am guilty of it myself, is we end up devaluing what those around us—those who often know what we need most in that moment—have to say. Some of the best advice I received has come from my closest friends.

What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
I train at Short North Muay Thai which is an amazing gym with exceptional people. I also have “the loop” which is a walk from the Scioto Mile through Arena District to OSU’s campus that is a great time to reflect and think.

What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
Some of my favorite local spots are any of the Three Bites Bakery pop-ups, Stauf’s (German Village), Parson’s North Brewing, Land-Grant, South Village Grille, and the Scioto Mile.

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
Growing up I wanted to be an exotic veterinarian, and actually started at Ohio State as an animal science major! A few research projects later I ended up moving from horses to cancer cells to littles. While not working in that space, I still love going to the zoo.

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
Does South Side Early Learning’s podcast Circle Time count? All jokes aside, I am a compulsive NPR listener so “It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sander,” “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,” and “Up First.”

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
It is an honor to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award. There are so many amazing individuals recognized this year, and I am thrilled to watch as they advance in their careers and make an impact on our community.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
I don’t know if I can name what the “pulse” of Columbus is, but I can tell you how to feel it. Go down to the corner of Neil Avenue and Nationwide Boulevard before a Blue Jackets, Crew or Clippers game, take a scoop of Jeni’s to Goodale Park, stroll through the Moonlight Market on Gay Street, or mosey through the Columbus Arts Festival. Look up at the planetarium at COSI, reflect at the Washington Gladden Social Justice Park, or catch a show at the Ohio Theater. Share a meal at a local restaurant, grab a drink at a local brewery, or even walk outside and talk with your neighbor. I can’t say what it is, but I promise you’ll feel the “pulse” of Columbus.


The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2021 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Future Possibilities and Zipline Logistics for their support of this awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2021” »

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