Chamber News

Columbus Chamber of Commerce Names 2024 Columbus Award Recipient

January 9th, 2024

Melissa Ingwersen to be recognized at Chamber Annual Meeting, February 6.

The Columbus Chamber of Commerce will honor Melissa Ingwersen, retired Central Ohio District President at Key Bank, as this year’s recipient of the Columbus Award. Ingwersen will be recognized during Next Era, the Chamber’s 2024 Annual Meeting.

Melissa Ingwersen is a career banker with deep experience in commercial and corporate banking as well as strategic planning and leadership in matrix managed organizations.  She has served clients ranging from Fortune 50 companies to start ups, and in every role has been known for her ability to understand and bridge client needs with sound banking practices.   She has recruited and built teams, and in each role has driven growth in the businesses for which she was responsible.   Ingwersen began her career at BancOhio (now PNC) as a credit analyst and rose through positions of increasing responsibility culminating in serving as the Central Ohio Market President for JP Morgan Chase from 2000-2010 and as Central Ohio Market President for KeyBank from 2011-2021.  Ingwersen retired from Key in July of 2021.

Throughout her career Melissa has been actively engaged in the Central Ohio community serving both as a volunteer and leader for many organizations.  Ingwersen served as the first female board chair of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Franklin University Board of Trustees, Chair of the YWCA of Columbus board, and has been a member of numerous other boards and commissions.  She was a longtime member of the Columbus Partnership, and prior board service included: ProMusica, Columbus Museum of Art, the Ohio Banker’s League and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.  In many cases she also served on the Executive Committees of those Boards (not surprisingly often in the role of Finance Committee chair!).  Ingwersen was also appointed to and served for several years on the boards of Columbus Downtown Development Corporation and Capitol South Urban Redevelopment Corporation.  She is currently still an active member of the board of the Bexley Public Library (having served twice as Board Chair), a member of the board of Ohio Living Communities and serves on the board and several committees of the newly formed Adelphi Bank. Throughout her career she was regularly called upon to speak on a variety of topics related to banking and often, women in banking.  In recognition of her leadership and contributions Ingwersen has received a number of awards including:  YWCA Woman of Achievement, “Business First 40 under 40”, and was selected to the Leadership Columbus Hall of Fame.

Melissa and her husband Frank live on the east side of Columbus and have two adult children.  She enjoys travel, a variety of sports and a good book.

The Columbus Award has recognized exceptional community leadership and business success since 1964. Past honorees have included Stephen Steinhour, Guy Worley, Stephanie Hightower, Lisa Bachmann, and Cathy Lyttle.

“Melissa Ingwersen, as the trailblazing first female board chair of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, has left an indelible mark on our community through her unwavering dedication, visionary leadership, and innovative spirit,” stated Don DePerro, President and CEO of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. “During our Annual Meeting, we proudly celebrate Melissa’s profound impact on Columbus, acknowledging her remarkable legacy. With great enthusiasm, the Columbus Chamber presents Melissa Ingwersen with the prestigious 2024 Columbus Award.”

Ingwersen will receive the award during the Chamber’s Next Era program on February 6 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in the Union Station Ballroom.

The 2024 Small Business Leader Award recipient – presented by First Merchants Bank – will also be recognized at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting. This year’s finalists include: 

Deonna Barnett, Aventi Enterprises
Peter Coratola, Jr., EASE Logistics
Cheryl Stauffer, Crimson Design

Each finalist was selected following an extensive vetting process by a committee of judges considering a competitive set of criteria.

The Chamber’s 2024 Annual Meeting will feature keynote presentations from Dr. Angela Chapman with Columbus City Schools, Jordan Miller with Adelphi Bank, and Kurt Kushner with Hirschvogel. Registration information for this year’s event can be found at

The Chamber would like to thank the following partners for their support of Next Era:

First Merchants Bank | Wright-Patt Credit Union | Ahola | Columbia Gas | Columbus State Community College | Dupler Office | Huntington Bank | CVS Health | The City of Columbus | Ruscilli Construction | USI | Vorys | Medical Mutual | Sedgwick | Bartha | LocaliQ | Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea | Morgan Services | Buckeye Innovation | Camelot Cellars | Hunter Marketing | Improving | MCR Medical | Royal Document Destruction | Simple Plan IT | wemblr | Yard Solutions | Accelerating Angels | Atchley Graphics | Bake Me Happy | Dancor | JustDiidz | Leverage HR | PSI | Remington Road Group | SEA, Ltd.

Current as of 01/12/2024


About the Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber of Commerce is a mission-driven nonprofit organization serving more than 2,300 organizations throughout the Columbus Region. The Columbus Chamber, founded in 1884, is committed to advancing a thriving business community and provides support in the areas of research, government affairs, marketing, diversity, equity, inclusion and access, education, and talent and workforce development. Learn more:

About the Annual Meeting
The Columbus Chamber’s Annual Meeting is the most distinguished event of our calendar, uniting a remarkable assembly of Columbus Region business and community leaders. It symbolizes our deep recognition of the profound impact that innovation, creativity, and a shared vision have on our future. We extend a warm invitation for you to partake in this transformative experience. Registration information for this year’s event can be found at