Cincinnati (1116)

The Treasury Department made it a little easier for companies to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by delaying the employer mandate to provide health insurance for companies with 50 to 99 employees.

Those businesses will have until January 2016 before facing potential penalties, while companies with 100 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees still face a Jan. 1, 2015, compliance deadline.

“Some of it was about giving companies time to come into compliance, but they also don’t know yet how penalties will be enforced or collected. The law doesn’t allow the IRS to collect any penalties, so they have a real challenge trying to figure out how to collect the money,” says William F. Hutter, CEO of Sequent.

Smart Business spoke with Hutter about changes in the ACA and what they mean for employers.

What break have companies with 100 or more employees been given regarding the first year of the employer mandate?

For 2015 only, instead of being required to extend coverage to 95 percent of employees they have been granted a grace period and only need to offer coverage to 70 percent of employees.

But plans still have to meet minimum essential coverage standards and have to be affordable.

While companies are getting that break, one of the most difficult aspects of the ACA is the complexity of the reporting and tracking requirements for companies. Most companies with 100 or more employees are already meeting these criteria, but it’s really a challenge for companies with variable-hour workforces.

It can be pretty challenging for retail and hospitality businesses. When you have 70 full-time employees and 50 part-time employees, tracking those variable-hour employees to get your FTE count can be pretty challenging.

What do businesses need to be doing now?

A lot of the administrative details — creating your policy, and your measurement, administrative and stability periods — need to be done now. Make sure your HR and payroll systems can handle the necessary reporting because it’s going to be virtually impossible to track it with a pencil. You need a way to extract that data from your system in a way that matches the reporting criteria.

For larger companies — 100 employees or more — their look-back period to determine employee eligibility for coverage starts this year, correct?

Yes. A large retailer based in Columbus, Ohio, decided a few months ago that employees would either be full time and eligible or part time, never working more than 27 hours a week. More companies will adopt that tactic because it’s easier. They don’t want to worry about who might become eligible in such a volatile environment as retail.

Almost every company has part-time employees who could become eligible based on the measurement period. Let’s say they work 40 hours a week during peak season, are offered and take benefits, then drop back to 20 hours a week. Normally under IRS code, going from full-time to part-time status would create an open enrollment period. But the ACA says they’re still an eligible employee because they met the criteria during the measurement period, and the change to part-time status no longer produces an open enrollment opportunity because of the stability period.

We’re trying to figure out if there’s a nuance in the ACA that address this issue, but haven’t found it. The IRS says you entered into a contract for benefits until the next open enrollment period or change in family status. So the employer would still have to provide coverage and the employee would have to pay his or her share, even if it’s too expensive on a part-time salary.

That’s one of the challenges with the ACA — it’s constantly changing and evolving. Once you digest and understand the implications of it from a business operational standpoint, it changes again. Because of the latest delay, businesses with 50 to 99 FTE employees don’t need to worry about it for a while and can probably wait until things calm down.

William F. Hutter is the CEO of Sequent. Reach him at (888) 456-3627 or

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Smart Business spoke with Phil Scott of Sequent Retirement and Benefits Group about trends for plan sponsors.

What are some areas of growing interest and focus for plan sponsors?

One area that continues to be explored is automatic contribution enrollment and automatic contribution increases as ways to boost participation.

By providing better education and communication platforms, plan sponsors are enabling employee participants to be more prepared for their retirement.

Finally, plan sponsors are continuing to keep a close watch on their administrative duties and regulatory requirements.

What are plan sponsors doing to help protect themselves and manage fiduciary risk?

They have leaned on third-party administrators, recordkeepers, investment advisors and legal counsel to identify their responsibilities to maintain plan compliance.

Companies that have embraced outsourcing elsewhere in their organizations have also outsourced segments of their retirement plans to 401(k) fiduciaries. That can be 3(38) investment advisors, who assume responsibility for monitoring, maintaining, selecting and removing investment plan options; or 3(16) advisors, who accept responsibility for plan administrative functions.

Some plan sponsors have adopted or explored the option of joining a 413(c) multiple employer plan. The multiple employer plan option provides an alternative for companies seeking relief from the burdens of independently operating and maintaining their own plan.

How do safe harbor plan designs create advantages?

One great advantage for participants is that all employer matching and non-elective contributions vest at 100 percent immediately. Also, all participants, whether they’re considered highly compensated or non-highly compensated, are allowed to maximize their elective deferral limits. Elective deferral limits, set by the IRS in 2014, are $17,500 for those age 49 or under and $23,000 for those age 50 or older.

Without safe harbor protection, highly compensated participants would only be able to defer approximately 1.5 to 2 percent more than the average contribution of the non-highly compensated group.

From a plan sponsor perspective, safe harbor plan designs are great tools for recruitment and retention of top talent. In addition, the IRS permits a safe harbor plan to be top-heavy, meaning that 60 percent or more of plan assets are attributable to key employees: an officer of the organization, whose annual compensation exceeds $170,000; any employee, who owns more than 5 percent of the company, or owns more than 1 percent and has an annual compensation exceeding $150,000.

What are the implications if a plan is deemed top-heavy?

The plan must meet minimum contribution and vesting requirements for non-key employees for each year the plan is top-heavy. The minimum contribution to bring the plan back into compliance is the lesser of 3 percent of annual compensation for all non-key employees or a percentage equal to the highest percentage contribution of any key employee. Top-heavy penalties are painful infractions, which plan sponsors are able to avoid when utilizing safe harbor as a strategy within their compensation and benefits package.

Phil Scott has over two decades of experience in the financial services industry. He is a registered representative with LPL Financial and investment advisor representative with Advantage Investment Management.

This information is provided as a courtesy and should not be considered specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Please consult your tax professional before taking any specific action. LPL Financial nor Advantage Investment Management are engaged in the rendering of tax or legal advice.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Advantage Investment Management, a Registered Investment Advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.

Phil Scott is with the Sequent Retirement and Benefits Group. Reach him at (888) 456-3627, (937) 521-1911 (direct), or

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Expansion of the Medicaid program in Ohio was approved by the state Controlling Board because there wasn’t enough support to get it passed in the legislature. But there’s no economic reason for anyone in Ohio to oppose the expansion, says William F. Hutter, CEO of Sequent.

“The battle about Medicaid expansion was based on principle; it was about certain forces resisting an additional expansion of federal government in Ohio. And that somehow expanding Medicaid to the less affluent population in Ohio was an endorsement of health care reform,” Hutter says. “That is one view. I started taking a view that Medicaid expansion in Ohio is good for business and good for the population.”

Smart Business spoke with Hutter about how the Medicaid expansion helps businesses and what companies are doing in response to the program.

Why is Medicaid expansion good for businesses?

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), if an individual meets the criteria of having an income of less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level they can apply for Medicaid benefits.

Consider industries like hospitality and retail, which deal with a lower-cost, transient employee population. They’ve taken a position that they have employees they would like to move to full time, but have health care to deal with under ACA and the benefits cost too much. One of the advantages for that group of people, and those industries, in Ohio is that they might qualify under Medicaid.

If employees are covered under Medicaid, they are exempted from the full-time equivalent (FTE) count of businesses. That means they aren’t included in determining whether a business has 50 FTE employees and would be subject to penalties starting in 2015 if they do not provide health insurance coverage for employees. Normally, hours of all part-time employees are totaled to compute how many FTE employees are added to the number of full-time employees to see if a business hits 50.

Having more employees exempted from the FTE calculation could allow businesses to hire more people and get them qualified for Medicaid. Employees get medical coverage, the business gets exempted from the ACA and health care providers benefit.

How do health care providers benefit?

Providers complain that they don’t make money on Medicaid patients because reimbursement rates are lower. However, hospitals and urgent care centers do not turn people away; they provide medical care 90 percent of the time whether or not someone can pay. What’s better, to be paid zero for providing $500 worth of medical services, or to be paid $400? From a patient standpoint, while Medicaid might not cover all costs, it takes some pressure off because there is reimbursement from the federal government.

Have businesses developed strategies in response to the Medicaid expansion?

Absolutely. They are trying to get employees signed up for coverage. We’ve been working with clients on helping them with the Office of Healthcare Transformation, which built the Medicaid application portal in Ohio. Director Greg Moody has done a good job creating a portal that makes it easy for people to sign up.

There have been comments that only 30 percent of the people who register get qualified, but it’s a financial qualification — it’s not arbitrary. It’s a set amount based on income being up to 138 percent of the poverty level.

This is one of the more worthy social benefits that helps keep people healthy and is in-line with the intent of the ACA. It will be good for small and midsize businesses and keep more people employed. Yes, it’s not in high-wage positions, but it is an improvement and will move more money into Ohio and create economic flow.

Employers are starting to figure this out. They want to do what’s best for employees, the company and shareholders. For the current circumstances and environment, Medicaid expansion is good for Ohio.

William F. Hutter is the CEO of Sequent. Reach him at (888) 456-3627 or

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Medical Mutual 2014 Pillar Awards For Community Service, Cincinnati

Mike Sims
AdvancePierre Foods


Helping provide a meal

AdvancePierre Foods’ volunteers aid relief work in storm-damaged areas

Whether it’s donating thousands of pounds of food products to aid victims of storms or holding a company-wide volunteer day and donating burgers on National Burger Day, AdvancePierre Foods is committed to helping people in need.

After Superstorm Sandy ravaged the East Coast in 2012, AdvancePierre Foods donated 40,000 meals to help with relief efforts. Nearly 3,600 cases of food were delivered to Long Island’s Island Harvest Food Bank, which offered meals to people at local shelters and soup kitchens.

When tornados devastated Moore, Okla., last May, the company sprang into action to assist in relief efforts by donating more than 175,000 servings of food to feed relief workers and replenish food banks. The company also gave $10,000 to the American Red Cross to aid in the recovery work in addition to matching associates’ donations up to an additional $15,000.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, AdvancePierre Foods is a leading supplier of value-added protein and handheld convenience products, including packaged sandwiches, chicken and beef products and bakery items.

AdvancePierre Foods’ associates hope to make a meaningful impact in the community, and participate in events that allow them to touch the lives of those facing hunger while providing meals to thousands of children and families across the country. Those leading the philanthropic efforts include Paul Telenson, SVP, human resources; Mike Zelkind, SVP, operations; and Lisa Gallagher, SVP, corporate marketing and strategic accounts. ●

Andy Park
Director, Cincinnati practice lead
Centric Consulting

Igniting passion

Centric Consulting encircles positive differences for the community

One of Centric Consulting’s core values that guides the company’s culture and priorities is “Ignite Passion for the Greater Good.” That includes a commitment to making a positive difference in the communities the company serves.

Centric is a founding partner of Flywheel Cincinnati along with the Leadership Council for Human Services Executives, the Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati and the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Miami University.

Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub’s mission is to be the community’s thought leader in social enterprise and contribute to the launch and sustainability of social enterprise ventures in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana.

In order to facilitate this, Flywheel helps nonprofits through a process of exploration, ideation, validation, design and launch. This process is known to build more meaningful and sustainable social enterprises. Flywheel also works alongside existing social enterprises to make them even stronger and more impactful in their communities.

Another Centric Consulting project is Adopt A Class. Centric Consulting employees are beginning their fourth year as pen pals to a fifth grade class at Winton Hills Academy. They meet each September with the students and establish pen pal relationships.

Volunteers exchange letters with students once a month. In 2012, Centric incorporated the “Character Quality of the Month” in each letter and continued this in 2013. There is a follow-up visit in December as well as a spring outing to take the students to a Reds game.

The projects are overseen by Steve Bernicke, director, Cincinnati; Jeff Lloyd, National partner, strategic growth & operations; and Andy Park, director, Cincinnati practice lead. ●

Julia Poston
Office manager
EY Cincinnati

Volunteering where it counts

EY Cincinnati employees show they care by getting involved 

Volunteers at EY’s Cincinnati office have been active in several projects ranging from leadership development to helping people with disabilities on their journey to independence.

Camp Joy offers outdoor education and leadership development. Its vision and mission are to encourage participants to become better people in order to make changes in the community and create a better world by helping people grow and succeed through lifelong experience-based learning. 

The Freestore Foodbank’s vision is to lead the community to help end hunger and address its causes. EY volunteers assemble food boxes for projects such as the Senior Box program and assist with components of the food bank’s upcoming events.

Stepping Stones aids people with disabilities, helping them find their way to independence by improving their lives and enabling them to fully participate in their communities. For example, EY volunteers painted a playground and built “cubbies” for a pool house.

Gorman Farms’ mission is to support the connection between the food everyone eats, the life everyone lives and the health of the community. EY volunteers performed outdoor work there, such as weeding, planting and cultivating.

The Redwood Center guides children and adults with severe and multiple disabilities to achieve independence and reach their highest potential. EY volunteers performed maintenance work and painted, while some engaged in activities with the residents. ●

Jim Waters
The Hillman Group

Here to help

The Hillman Group strives to make a difference 

Helping out in the community is a way of life for employees at The Hillman Group. Members of the company’s community involvement committee meet at the beginning of each year to lay out philanthropic plans for the new year and see what new ideas can be explored.

In 2013, the distributor added Autism Speaks of Cincinnati to the mix and volunteers participated in their first Walk Now for Autism Speaks event. The Hillman Group also partnered with Toys for Tots and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Cincinnati.

One of the highlights of 2013 was the assistance the company was able to provide to two young children who have had more than their share of challenges. Volunteers used their March Madness Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser to help a 3-year-old girl suffering from spinal muscular atrophy and a 6-year-old boy with leukemia. The girl’s family wanted to do a backyard makeover for their daughter and the boy, who loves trains, fulfilled his dream to see the Rocky Mountain Express.

Employees raised $15,700 and received a thank-you video from the boy’s family. The little girl’s family had a stone made with the Hillman logo that will forever be in her garden.

The commitment to helping begins at the top with Jim Waters, the company’s CEO. Despite a grueling travel schedule, Waters gets to as many volunteers events as he can and always brings one of his own children to demonstrate the value of helping others at an early age. ●

Mary Miller
JANCOA Janitorial Services Inc.

Dream big

An empowering culture energizes employees to give at JANCOA 

It’s one thing to step out of your daily work routine and give a little of your time and talent to those who aren’t as fortunate. It becomes much more meaningful when you, as the employee, get to pick a cause to support that is close to your heart.

When employees come to work at JANCOA Janitorial Services, they have an opportunity to not only help causes that mean a lot to them, they get to chase their professional dreams as well. “The Dream Manager” is not only a program founded by Mary and Tony Miller that inspires employees to pursue their dreams, it’s a New York Times bestseller by Matthew Kelly. Through one-on-one coaching sessions and group classes, employees are encouraged to identify their dreams and take steps to achieve those dreams. JANCOA employees are each considered a valuable employee and the company wants them to recognize their value and remove the limits they place on themselves to become all they can be in their lives.

The Millers are huge supporters of the American Heart Association and are proud of their employees who formed a team of 28 walkers to participate in the 2012 Cincinnati Heart Walk. The JANCOA Dream Team completed the 5K walk, raising more than $1,200.

Mary, who is the company’s CEO, leads the way on fostering, empowering and fulfilling culture. She is very active throughout the community, including her role on the Go Red for Women Leadership Team for the American Heart Association. ●

Bob Coughlin
Paycor Inc.

Bringing the smiles

How Paycor associates make a difference in their world 

There are two guiding principles employees at Paycor Inc. follow: take care of each other and do the right thing. These principles guide both the way associates approach their work and the commitment they bring to Community Partners, an associate-led community service organization that has filled more than 4,900 volunteer opportunities since 2010.

Every community needs help and Community Partners helps to get things done and makes sure those who need support can get it.

In many cases, associates have a deep, personal connection to a cause and are able to lead their colleagues in programs that will help that cause. One of the most meaningful programs at Paycor is the Adopt A Class initiative at Oyler School. Oyler serves students from pre-kindergarten through high school in Lower Price Hill. It has been ranked one of the poorest schools in the nation.

Adopt A Class sponsors a pen pal program and special events for the kindergarten, first grade and disabilities classes such as parties for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and other holidays. Paycor has a number of associates involved in the program, including seven team leaders and more than 100 pen pals.

Bev Brigner is the executive assistant to CEO Bob Coughlin and has been involved with Adopt A Class for 10 years. She has had the same child for the past five years.

“When he sees me and he jumps out of his seat with a big smile on his face and says, ‘Ms. Bev, come give me a hug!’ That makes my day!” Brigner says. ●

Bernie Stevens
PowerNet Global

Time to give

How PowerNet Global encourages employees to donate

Any successful company understands that it needs to pay close attention to its finances if it’s going to achieve success. You have to know where your money is coming from and where it is going in order to have a thriving business.

The people at PowerNet Global understand that, but they value personal time spent giving back to the community just as much as the scrutiny they give to their financial health. Bernie Stevens, the company’s president, believes the best way to give back to the community is to offer employees the chance to volunteer their time for the betterment of those communities.

To that end, PowerNet Global provides an option called Charitable PTO, which allows employees the ability to enlist up to eight hours of their time per calendar year to any charity of their choice. The belief is that this time will be a valuable, positive and fulfilling experience for everyone involved.

The PowerNet Global Social Committee works hard preparing a variety of events throughout the year that provides employees with opportunities for fun and fellowship, building the camaraderie that makes them better employees and better givers in the community.

The company hosts yard sales in the spring and fall and invites employees to donate their own new or gently used items. Proceeds from this event go to Crayons to Computers.

PowerNet Global has also done a Biggest Loser Contest to help employees stay fit and raise money for the Fairfield Food Pantry. ●

Sue McPartlin
Managing partner, Cincinnati market

Valuable lessons

PwC helps kids understand the world of money 

It’s never too early to learn about financial responsibility and PwC volunteers work to help students in the Cincinnati Public Schools do just that. PwC dedicates extensive volunteer hours to the district each year through its participation in the Accounting for Kids program.

In 2013, volunteers from PwC organized Accounting for Kids Day at Mayerson Academy. The day began with a continental breakfast and an informational meeting before volunteers headed out to their assigned schools to begin the day’s planned games and activities. One of the games was created by the Ohio CPA Foundation and teaches students the fundamentals of responsibly managing their money.

Students each received a certificate to recognize their participation in the program and the day ended with a pizza party for the students and PwC volunteers.

Under the leadership of Sue McPartlin, managing partner for PwC’s Cincinnati market, the firm lives up to the tenets of its national community service philosophy: responsible business, diversity and inclusion, community engagement and environmental stewardship.

Under the umbrella of community engagement, PwC granted $160 million to advance youth education and financial literacy in the United States through the Earn Your Future initiative.

The PwC office in Cincinnati has built strong relationships with the city’s school district, as well as organizations such as Junior Achievement, Newport Primary School, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, St. Francis School and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati.

Local staff members are encouraged to get involved and work toward the broader goal of developing and executing financial literacy initiatives for local youth. ●

Larry A. Sheakley

Thanks from the heart

Employees at Sheakley celebrated 50 years by helping others

As Sheakley embarked on the celebration of its 50th anniversary, CEO Larry A. Sheakley felt it was critical that everyone understand how many people, both past and present, played a part in helping the company achieve success. This included employees, partners, clients, vendors, family and friends.

The decision was made that one of the best ways for team members at Sheakley to express their appreciation for 50 great years was to give back to the community. Each employee who agreed to take part in an act of volunteerism received a special commemorative 50th anniversary T-shirt.

Sheakley employees have volunteered services for nearly 70 organizations in Greater Cincinnati, including St. Joseph’s Orphanage. Donations helped this organization provide wonderful gifts for 44 children as well as hats, gloves, scarves and socks for those in need. The funds also provided food for 150 people at their Christmas party, a new big-screen TV and a $550 donation to cover holiday expenses.

Sheakley is also a big supporter of the Hoxworth Blood Drive, the Free Store Foodbank, Lighthouse Youth Organization and Habitat for Humanity. Larry has personally invested a lot of time and effort in his support of the University of Cincinnati by challenging local businesses to raise funds for the new Sheakley Athletic Center.

He also serves as co-chairman of the Cincinnati Opera Capital Campaign, which is dedicated to creating innovative programs and advancing opera as an art form. ●


Many companies talk about the need for employee engagement, but few are taking the necessary steps to engage their workforce.

“While it’s a commonly used term, it’s not common practice. For example, 75 percent of leaders have no engagement strategy, yet 90 percent consider engagement to be a critical component of a company’s success,” says Beth Thomas, executive vice president and managing director of Consulting Services at Sequent.

“Right now, 70 percent of employees are disengaged at work, and it’s costing companies over $300 billion in lost productivity, turnover and diminished business success. Based on statistics, you would think that companies would view this as a critical initiative,” says Thomas.

Smart Business spoke with Thomas, author of “Powered by Happy: How to Get and Stay Happy at Work,” about how to boost employee engagement.

Why have companies been slow to address engagement?

There are several reasons. Some companies believe customer satisfaction is engagement — it’s not. You can have happy, disengaged employees who are genetically happy or pleased with the company, but are not engaged in their work or in the right role.

Surveys will address items like wages, benefits and the company café, but that doesn’t get into the emotional connection to work and employees’ desire to use discretionary effort to be the best performers they can be.

Sometimes companies conduct surveys and do nothing with the results, which creates even more disengagement.

What is the process of engaging employees?

We utilize a nine-step process:

  • Create a vision. What do you want to achieve? What’s the value proposition?
  • Determine the metrics of success. Use benchmarks and create performance goals needed to improve engagement, which will also build customer loyalty and your bottom line.
  • Align expectations. Once you have a vision and decided how to measure success, develop an employee engagement survey designed to get the information needed to improve engagement.
  • Execute the survey. We conduct an educational webinar first, so employees know why the survey is being done and their role in making it a success.
  • Create an action plan based on the survey results. The plan should prioritize tasks and assign ownership and timing to each milestone. Communicate the survey results and how they are being used.
  • Establish a team of influencers. This group will organize activities — based on survey results — to help achieve and sustain a higher level of engagement.
  • Develop leaders and frontline managers. They need to understand how to impact the company culture and employees every day. Many managers think they are prepared to coach and lead engagement, but they really aren’t.
  • Evaluate if course correction is needed. Training or action plan activities may need to be modified to ensure you’re set up for a successful journey toward engagement, rather than a pit stop.
  • Ensure sustainability. Creating that initial engagement is easier than sustaining or improving engagement. We have an engagement application that provides managers with a support network of tips, tricks and hints on how to continually drive engagement. You have to create engagement as a habit; it occurs naturally because of the way you manage people.

What mistakes do companies make when implementing engagement strategies?

One is rewarding performance without behaviors. Someone might be a great producer, but have a bad attitude. Knowing that they have a bad attitude and rewarding them based on sheer numbers or performance is a mistake.

The management and leadership team also has to believe and drive the engagement process; it’s not enough just to say it’s an important initiative.

The benefits of engagement are so great that more companies should make it an emphasis. Engaged employees generate 40 percent more revenue than disengaged ones and are 87 percent less likely to leave. So being able to recruit, retain and benefit from engaged employees will impact your bottom line and the success of your company.

Beth Thomas is executive vice president and managing director of Consulting Services at Sequent. Reach her at (614) 839-4088 or

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Christine Neitzke
President, co-founder
The Dragonfly Foundation

On the wings of hope

Christine Neitzke co-founded The Dragonfly Foundation to give support to ill youngsters 

Seeing a need for families and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to receive more support for young cancer and blood disorder patients, Christine Neitzke and her friend Ria Davidson founded The Dragonfly Foundation in August 2010. They have been working closely with the hospital, its staff, patients and families ever since to bring support and encouragement at times when it is needed most.

Christine and Jim Neitzke’s youngest son Matt was diagnosed with stage 3A Hodgkin’s lymphoma in February 2010. They almost lost him twice due to medical complications. During this time, the Neitzkes were fortunate to have the support of family, friends and community. Davidson, Christine’s friend for more than 20 years, was one of the people who helped the family through this time.

“We were fortunate,” said Christine. “We had people who dedicated themselves to making Matt and our family smile. We know that other kids and families are not as lucky.”

Thus, The Dragonfly Foundation was launched.

“Our multiple weekly, ongoing events also help us build relationships between families that enables them to support one another as they experience the horrors of treatment, the after effects of medications, the post-traumatic stress and the anxiety of reoccurrence that continually challenges patients and their families,” she says.

“While a number of nonprofit organizations support efforts of finding a cure, The Dragonfly Foundation is completely focused on providing C.A.R.E. (Caring, Community and Awareness that Results in better Emotional health). This is what we call ‘The Dragonfly Difference.’” ●

Greater Cincinnati SCORE Board of Directors
Mike Martin

SCORE-ing points

Mike Martin and his board members steer volunteers to help mentor business clients 

If there ever needs to be an example of entrepreneurial teamwork, the Executive Board of Directors of Greater Cincinnati SCORE will fill the bill. Led by Chair/President Mike Martin, the board is responsible for the operations and directing of more than 100 volunteers who provide free mentoring and educational seminars to eligible business clients in 19 counties in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana.

Most of the board members have been with SCORE for five years or longer: Jim Stahly, Gordon Daniels, Mike Tarren, Tom Moon, Dennis Murphy, Rick Johnston, Scott Stoeling, Michael Mulligan, Gregory Spontak, Paul Holzschuher, Bob Wiwi, William Haman and Mary Jane Good.

The members are responsible for the chapter receiving SCORE’s National Runner-up Award for fiscal year 2012. The chapter has won the top award once and has been runner-up five times in the last 10 years. The board members are responsible for the chapter being ranked in the top five nationally in every possible category for the last five years.

Two of SCORE Cincinnati’s clients achieved national recognition recently as they were awarded 2013 SCORE Outstanding Woman-Owned Small Business and 2013 SCORE Outstanding Non-Profit.

SCORE’s assistance to local businesses enabled them to create more than 350 new jobs in Greater Cincinnati last year. ● 

Stan Ross
Co-founder and executive director
Positive Influence Team

From at-risk to keeping the faith

Stan Ross and the Positive Influence Team work to guide youth away from violence 

Stan Ross leads the Positive Influence Team much like a quarterback leads his players on the gridiron. After all, he was the first African-American quarterback for Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati.

The Positive Influence Team was founded in 2011 to engage and connect with at-risk youth and young adults to help transition them toward a positive and fulfilling lifestyle. Ross created a Process of Transformation that includes the vital steps of building trust with members while fostering transformational relationships rooted in a sincere and caring spirit — and a sense of teamwork.

The Positive Influence Team works with clients from a strengths-based approach and is committed to never lose faith in the clients’ inner power to succeed and move forward.

Ross has been involved for years in a mission to reduce violence. His earlier efforts include creating the Cincinnati Youth Street Worker program and being the outreach director at the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence.

Along with members of the Positive Influence Team, Ross developed the Real Gunz Anti-Violence Program, which addresses the realities behind the domestication, programming, beliefs, thinking, attitudes, feelings and behaviors associated with violence.

“With Stan, there were no expectations, except that he wanted to get to know me, build a relationship, and he was an influencer. It was more of his influence and the way he was living his life, that made me want to be like him,” says Dante Ingram, a former at-risk young man who turned his life around and is now a positive influence coach with the Positive Influence Team. ●

Rick Chouteau
Adopt A Class Board of Directors

Making connections

Rick Chouteau makes sure students have positive role models through Adopt A Class Foundation 

Under his leadership as the first president of the board of directors of Adopt A Class Foundation, Rick Chouteau has overseen the group’s growth from three members in 2008 to 12. But that’s not all. AAC has increased its number of participating schools from nine to 24, increasing the number of students served by 167 percent.

And that’s a welcomed situation by the organization’s benefactors — preschool through eighth grade students in Greater Cincinnati schools with at least 65 percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunches. With that focus, the organization fosters personal, sustained connections between members of the business and civic community and the students with the purpose of developing practical and social skills as they provide positive role models and build the culture of philanthropy and teamwork for business and civic groups.

Aside from the demands on Chouteau’s time and talent as a senior vice president at Paycor Inc., he finds time to meet the needs of his community. Chouteau was an inaugural board member when the organization was founded 10 years ago alongside founder Bill Burwinkel and one other community member.

In 2012, AAC hired a full-time director under Chouteau’s direction. With a staff person now in place, Chouteau and the board are mapping out a strategic plan for the future growth and sustainability of AAC. His corporate experience and business skills have been essential in helping to create a vision of independence and sound financial sustainability for the program. ●

Dennis Barron
Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries
Secretary, Board of Directors

Decades of service

Dennis Barron has been a guiding light at the Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries 

During his service for the Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries, Dennis Barron has donated more than an estimated 20,000 hours of his time, effort and energy toward governing the organization. He began serving in 1965 and has had more than 40 years of service, including roles as secretary and chairman. In that time, the Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries has grown from $1.6 million in annual revenue to more than $40 million.

As a result of this growth, the agency is now able to serve a diverse population that includes veterans, the homeless and people with cognitive, physical and sociological challenges.

In addition to growing revenue to such a substantial level over that time period, the organization has served more than 60,000 people with disabilities.

Goodwill’s program for the homeless, under Barron’s guidance, now serves more than 650 veterans and other at-risk individuals. The agency each year serves 3,100 men and women with disabilities and assists more than 800 to obtain employment.

During Barron’s tenure, the organization expanded its partnerships with the developmental disabilities agencies of Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Warren counties. The result allows Goodwill to serve more than 650 individuals a day.

As a board member and former chairman of the board, Barron has offered counsel on the day-to-day operations of the facility and financial guidance on the operating budget.

This expansion of services is a tribute to Barron and his contributions to the growth of the Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries over the past four decades. ●

Stuart Aitken


Leading the pack

How employees get energized to help the needy at dunnhumbyUSA 

Philanthropy is a worldwide commitment for dunnhumbyUSA and employees get to decide where the effort to meet that commitment is directed. Each fall, through the science company’s Helping Hands program, everyone gets together to decide which nonprofits dunnhumby will support that year.

The IRS must recognize the charities chosen as legitimate charities, and the effort to help must provide opportunities for everyone to volunteer through team activities with clear goals. These have been fundamental to the effort under the leadership of CEO Stuart Aitken.

Employee participation runs Helping Hands and a dunnhumby team is assigned to manage the relationship with each charitable organization to determine where the need is. The team must also establish goals for working together effectively and organize dunnhumby events throughout the year.

In 2013, a total of seven nonprofits were selected: The American Cancer Society, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Oyler School, Freestore Foodbank, Ronald McDonald House, Drop Inn Center and Women Helping Women.

With the American Cancer Society, dunnhumby participates in the Relay for Life. In 2013, the company participated in a new event called the Bark for Life fundraiser. It’s a noncompetitive fundraising/walk event that honors cancer survivors, remembers loved ones lost to cancer and celebrates the caregiving qualities of dogs. The dunnhumby team had more than a dozen participants in this event and was able to raise more than $1,200 for the American Cancer Society. ●

Great companies, great employees, work for the greater good of Greater Cincinnati

Medical Mutual, along with our co-founding Pillar Award partner Smart Business, welcomes you to the annual Pillar Awards.

We are honoring an outstanding group of companies and organizations of varying sizes.

While this year’s diverse group of honorees may be different in many ways, one thing that they all have in common is their commitment to strengthening the bond between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

It occurred to us many years ago that few things are more meaningful and important than investing time and resources in supporting our community, and we felt the need to honor companies and their employees who have gone above and beyond the call. While support and direction come from management, companies are only as great as their employees.

For that reason, we are quite proud to present the Medical Mutual SHARE Award. This unique award was founded to recognize companies whose employees best exemplify the ideals of Medical Mutual’s own employee SHARE Committee. SHARE stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate and is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s charitable giving effort.

The SHARE committee, comprised of Medical Mutual employee volunteers, helps coordinate more than two dozen community events involving nearly half of the company’s 2,500 employees.

On behalf of Medical Mutual and Smart Business, we congratulate all our 2014 Pillar Award recipients. ●

Rick Chiricosta
Chairman, president and CEO
Medical Mutual



Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award (to be announced Jan. 23)


Nonprofit Board Executive Awards
Rick Chouteau, Adopt A Class Foundation
Dennis Barron, Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries

Executive Directors of the Year
Christine Neitzke, The Dragonfly Foundation
Executive Board of Directors, led by Mike Martin, Greater Cincinnati SCORE
Stan Ross, Positive Influence Team


AdvancePierre Foods
Centric Consulting
JANCOA Janitorial Services Inc.
Paycor Inc.
Powernet Global
PricewaterhouseCoopers LP
The Hillman Group



Friday, 22 November 2013 01:29

Mastering Anxiety: What keeps you awake at night?

Written by

If you were to assemble some of the world’s outstanding business leaders in one place and ask them their secret to sleeping well at night amid the pressures of running a successful business, you might think you’d collect the best tips to handling anxiety in the business world.

The truth is that top business leaders often don’t have a secret to reveal — they rely on the strength and confidence they’ve developed over the years.

At the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year conference, held earlier this year in Monaco, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year country winners assembled to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year title.

We took the opportunity to collect the thoughts of the world’s most accomplished entrepreneurs — innovators, futurists, turnaround specialists and problem solvers — about dealing with worries. ●


“There’s nothing that keeps me up at night. I sleep very well. The challenge we have as a company is to keep delivering the culture we have created and expand it, keep evolving at the speed our customers expect us to evolve and keep creating value for them as we have for the past 10 years.”

Martin Migoya
Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Argentina


“The main thing is to make sure that we are always looking for new, creative ideas that keep our business updated with new technology and creativity. The other thing is making sure we are working faster than before.”

Lorenzo Barrera Segovia
founder and CEO
Banco Base
ntrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Mexico 


“Business has its highs and lows, because let’s face it, it’s not easy. It has its challenges. They asked Steve Jobs what was the most important thing in business and he said, ‘Passion.’ If you don’t have passion you would give up when things get difficult. We have so much passion and love for what we do that it becomes a part of our life.”

Hamdi Ulukaya
founder, president and CEO
Chobani Inc.
Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 United States
2013 World Entrepreneur Of The Year


“What if the stock market crashes? What if there is some unknown thing that happens? What if there’s another 9/11 type of situation? Companies need to carry on, but maybe they don’t need to do events. Maybe they cut back on entertainment and speakers. The worry is what happens if something happens that I can’t control.”

Corey Shapoff
President and founder
SME Entertainment Group


“We are in recovering times. I feel very positive about the economy in general, but I’m still very worried about Europe. And while we are recovering, it’s still choppy and choppy times are times when there are more needs out there.”


Jim Turley
Retired global chairman and CEO


"I guess there is a point in my life where I thought it is all about me, and I am going to be the guy that guides everything and controls everything. What I have learned is that the best thing that I have done for our business is learn to let go and learn to get people who are better equipped to manage specific areas, do their thing and not get in the way."

Dr. Alan Ulsifer
CEO, president and chair
Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Canada 


“Nothing keeps me awake at night becase my work is solid.

My father married at 60 and my mother was 23. They had four children. Then he died, and we quickly had to start thinking about what to do. There was no money — nothing. We had to leave the little town we lived in because of violence there. Thanks to that, I am where I am right now because I still could be on the streets of my village selling tobacco. There is no wrong that can do good. That's what I have to teach people.”

Mario Hernandez
founder and president
Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Colombia

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