Medical Mutual 2014 Pillar Award for Community Service, Nonprofit board executives of the year

Laura Yaroma
YWCA Columbus  

The power of teamwork

How Laura Yaroma keeps things moving during tough times at YWCA

Laura Yaroma keeps a busy schedule as senior manager at Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. and chair of the board of trustees for YWCA Columbus. But that only drives her to work harder to support the women and children of Central Ohio as well as other charitable causes that are close to her heart.

She has worked hard to create a strong partnership between Honda and the YWCA, often recruiting volunteers from the company to take part in community projects. In 2011, 70 Honda associates volunteered at the Griswold Building and the Family Center to help paint, organize and complete a landscaping project.

In March of that same year, Japan experienced a devastating earthquake that affected many companies, including Honda. It damaged a number of Honda and supplier facilities in Japan which resulted in production slowdowns.

Yaroma arranged for Honda to develop a number of alternative work options for associates on days when assembly lines could not operate, including signing up for local community service projects at the YWCA.

It hasn’t been easy to make things go at the YWCA as the economic times continue to be tough for many, including those in the nonprofit sector. The proof of this is the fact that the organization’s Family Center is seeing some of its highest number of homeless families. Yaroma has worked hard to ensure that despite the increase in numbers and the tightness of funds, these families will still receive the care they so urgently need.  

Mark A. Pizzi
Operations board chair, member of the Holding Company
The Buckeye Ranch

Singing his praises

Mark A. Pizzi helped The Buckeye Ranch expand coverage, meet its budget

The leadership of Mark A. Pizzi, president and COO at Nationwide Insurance, has been invaluable for The Buckeye Ranch, which offers an array of mental health treatments for children and their families. The ranch serves nearly 1,200 children and families every day who are struggling to overcome abuse, neglect, mental illness, suicidal tendencies, addictions and behavior disorders.

Pizzi leads the ranch’s operations board, which is responsible for the day-to-day work of the staff and programming. He’s also helped revise the ranch’s strategic plan, a crucial part of the organization’s growth and ability to provide greater services to children and families.

Pizzi is one of the leaders of the ranch’s capital campaign. During his time with the board, the ranch has benefited from continued financial growth, allowing it to meet the goals of a budget that has grown to more than $10 million. He has also served as the chair of the program and services committee, the largest division of operations for the ranch and the one responsible for revenue generation.

Staff members continue to sing the praises of Pizzi for empowering directors and leaders to become more innovative to increase service delivery. This has been manifested through two acquisitions that have allowed for more growth of services as well as the absorption of various foster care programs. This helps provide a continuum of care for those who use the ranch’s serves.

Through Pizzi’s efforts, the staff is more focused and guided to help accomplish the ranch’s significant goals. 

Thomas H. Welch
Chair, board of directors
LifeCare Alliance

Growing needed services

Thomas Welch leads the LifeCare Alliance board to expand its offerings

Thomas H. Welch was elected to the LifeCare Alliance Board of Directors in September 2001, and from the day he began his volunteer service, he took his commitment seriously.

He has a passion for serving, and a compassion for serving those in need. Welch, president and CEO of Grange Insurance, freely shares his time and talents as well as his corporate resources with LifeCare Alliance, a home and community-based nonprofit health organization providing programs such as Meals-on-Wheels and visiting nurses.

LifeCare Alliance ultimately benefits 15,000 clients who depend on the agency to provide basic life-sustaining services.

Welch’s leadership skills were apparent early on, making him an ideal future board chair. He moved through the board leadership ranks, making significant contributions along the way.

LifeCare Alliance is currently celebrating its 115th anniversary of providing health and nutrition services to those in the community who founder Catherine Nelson Black said, “Nobody pays any attention.”

Because of the agency’s leadership, there is no waiting list for services, which is unheard of today given the economic challenges facing many people.

Over the past 10 years, LifeCare Alliance has seen unprecedented growth under Welch’s leadership. Five mergers were completed with Madison County Meals-on-Wheels, Project OpenHand-Columbus, The Columbus Cancer Clinic, IMPACT Safety and Marion County Meals-on-Wheels.

Today, the agency is bigger, better and serving thousands of clients in need, while at the same time operating more effectively and efficiently. This would not have been possible without Welch’s leadership. ●