Interview by Derek Grosso
Name: Cheyenne Lenhart
Profession: Housing and Community Services Manager at Star House
Neighborhood: Merion Village
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with minors in Leadership Studies and Public Health
Community Involvement: CYP Club, Columbus Impact Academy, Franklinton Development Association (Outreach Committee), Franklinton Special Improvement District (Board Trustee), Star House Culture Committee (Co-Founder and Member), Columbus Women Leaders, The Columbus Chapter of the Women Leaders Association
Quote: “My love language is helping you win.”
Give us a snapshot of your path: I grew up in small-town Ohio but had an itching to get out and learn more, see more, do more. I came to Columbus for college at Ohio State University where I took a research position my junior year working with youth experiencing homelessness – and I fell in love, but I wanted to do more. The drive to do more for vulnerable populations pushed me to take on another position.. and another.. and another – all within the same organization – until I found myself [at Star House], overseeing a first of its kind residential living community housing young people exiting homelessness and coordinating all of the services they could need. Identifying innovative solutions to better serve marginalized communities is my sweet spot and I am so excited to be going back to school for my Masters Degree in Public Administration and Leadership to continue to grow personally and professionally to make an even bigger impact on the youth I love serving every day as well as our community!
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
Going to the gym is what gets me up in the morning! It is my favorite way to start my day (plus, my morning accountability partners always notice if I miss a morning). And coffee absolutely gets me through the workweek – with a sprinkle of smiles and laughter from the youth I love serving.
What advice has helped guide you along the way?
1. “Just breathe. What does not get done today, can get done tomorrow.”
2. “Expectation is at the center of most suffering.” I reflect on this statement a lot to remind myself of who I am, where I am going, and how I plan to get there.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
To unwind, I read a book, write a poem, or take a nice long shower. Watching reruns of 90s shows is also a major win.
What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
• High Bank Distillery – hello brussel sprouts!
• Club 185 – like Oddfellows, but for adults.
• Schiller Park – because my pup loves it.
• Bottoms Up Coffee – Cookie Butter Mocha latte, just try it.
• Mid-City Garage – in the summer, outside.
• North Market – Hoyos, hands down.
• COSI – COSI After Dark is always fun!
• Parsons North Brewing – Specifically on Mondays – it’s bingo night!
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a mailman. How fun I thought it would be to drive on the opposite side of the vehicle.
What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
It means I am doing something right in making and leading an impact on our community. That I am using my privilege in such a way to provide more equitable and belonging experiences for those that I love and serve. It means getting the word out about the hard work my team does every day at Star House to better serve youth experiencing homelessness. I think that is the best gift of all – providing knowledge of this resource to others in the community to increase care coordination for young people searching for a place to feel loved unconditionally.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
Welcoming. The pulse is always welcoming and what you make it out to be. It can be slow, it can be fast. It is shaped by experiences you learn about and choose to partake in. Like that one coffee shop meeting where you were introduced to someone who changed your entire career path or those lazy Sunday nights on your couch. The pulse of Columbus meets you where you are, because that is what welcoming environments do.
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 2022 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Spectrum for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2022” »