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Billnitzer Named Executive Director of Empowering and Strengthening Ohio's People (ESOP)

By Jeanne Hoban | | August 2019

(Cleveland, OH) Michael Billnitzer has been named Executive Director of Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP), a subsidiary of Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. He will also serve as Vice President of Benjamin Rose. The appointment is effective July 29, 2019.

Billnitzer began his career with ESOP in 2009 and was part of the staff that merged with Benjamin Rose in 2017. He became a member of the senior management team at Benjamin Rose as the Associate Vice President for Organizational Development.

“Mike has provided stability and unwavering leadership for ESOP in developing strategic initiatives and goals, including the design and implementation of a performance management system,” Orion Bell, President and CEO of Benjamin Rose, said. “He has the full support of his team and our board, and I am confident he will continue guiding ESOP to even greater success.”

Before being named Interim Executive Director in April 2019, Billnitzer served as Associate Director of ESOP, overseeing strategic development, operations and implementation of programs. Throughout his tenure with ESOP, Billnitzer has led several key strategic projects including: Board Transformation and Development; Strategic Planning Implementation; and Human Resources and Organizational Development Transformation.

Katherine Hollingsworth, Chairperson of the ESOP Board of Managers and Managing Attorney for the Economic Justice Group of The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, noted, “Mike and I have an extensive history of working together for the good of ESOP. I’m excited and eager to build on that foundation to help lead the organization as ESOP’s programming continues expanding to address the social determinants of health.”

Billnitzer earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Toledo with additional studies at Harvard University. He is a Senior Certified Professional with the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP), a certified management trainer and a 2014 graduate of the Social Transformation Project's "The Art of Transformational Consulting."


Founded in 1993, Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP; is a HUD-approved housing and financial counseling agency headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Historically, ESOP was known for our foreclosure prevention and has helped more than 45,000 people across Ohio save their homes. Today, ESOP's integrated programming is provided through two complementary initiatives: The Senior Financial Empowerment Initiative, an innovative, integrated suite of programs designed to increase the financial stability of NE Ohio's growing older adult population, and the Affordable Housing Initiative, which prepares low-to-moderate income individuals and families for long-term sustainable homeownership. ESOP is a subsidiary of Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.