Columbus (2544)

Friday, 03 January 2014 02:29

Weighing in on health care reform: Columbus

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called the Affordable Care Act represents some of the most far-reaching government overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since 1965 when Medicare and Medicaid came into being. It will be phased in over time, but a number of changes have been delayed and won’t be in effect until 2015.

The act focuses on increasing the rate of health insurance coverage for American and reducing health care costs. Here’s what some area businesses have on their minds about health care reform as the time nears for the full impact of the ACA: 

Rich Johnson

How is your company preparing for changes associated with health care reform? 

ViaQuest has been working with local third party administrators to assist us in evaluating the financial impact of the Affordable Care Act. These TPAs have been able to work with us from not only the financial perspective, but also from the perspective of determining plan changes that are best for our employees and the company to meet the many requirements of the ACA.

Have you studied or instituted wellness programs to contain health care costs for your employees? 

Our wellness program is in its infancy. We have taken a stair step approach in the implementation of our wellness program. The first step has been to brand the program to our employees in a passive manner so that they are familiar with our wellness program and our approach to encourage participation and employee buy in. Over the next couple of years we plan to implement a more aggressive wellness program to require employee participation which will drive employee contribution levels for medical insurance. 

What other things are you doing specifically to contain health care costs for your employees? 

The wellness program is key for ViaQuest in containing healthcare costs for our employees. A large part of the program is making our employees aware of preventive actions that they can take, at no cost to them, to ensure their health and control health plan expenses. The company has also been encouraging participation in consumer-driven health plans to encourage cost savings to both the employee and the company. 

We also recently switched from fully insured to self-insured which is a strategic decision to contain healthcare costs for the company as well as our employees. A large part of containing healthcare costs for our employees has been selecting the right TPA for our organization and continually staying in contact to build and grow that relationship. 

Do you foresee having employees pay a larger share of company-offered health care coverage? 

While we continue to work to contain additional expenses and often have the company absorb healthcare increases, we do expect that employees will have to contribute additional amounts toward health care coverage in the future.


Amy Schultz Clubbs
Molina Health Care of Ohio 

How is your company preparing for changes associated with health care reform? 

At Molina Healthcare, we believe that everyone should have access to high quality health care and we are looking forward to the opportunity to care for additional Ohioans that will be eligible for Medicaid or for a Marketplace plan. 

Have you studied or instituted wellness programs to contain health care costs for your employees? 

We know that healthy people are happier and more productive so we encourage Molina employees to take part in healthy activities. At our new office building, we are building a fitness center (opening in January) that will be free for employees and will feature group fitness classes. One of our physicians is also leading a “Biggest Loser” competition as a way for employees to manage their weight in a healthy way. In an effort to make healthy choices easily accessible, we are ensuring the building’s café has plenty of nutritious options available. 

What other things are you doing specifically to contain health care costs for your employees? We are also planning a wellness fair where employees can get blood pressure screening, meet with a nutritionist and learn how to manage stress. 

Do you foresee having employees pay a larger share of company-offered health care coverage? 



Dave Michelson
President and CEO
National Interstate

How is your company preparing for changes associated with health care reform? 

National Interstate typically reviews all our benefit programs on an annual basis. The enactment of health care reform has not materially changed that process; it has simply added another layer of compliance-related items that we must be mindful of.  Our primary goal of providing benefit programs to meet the needs of our employees and their families remains unchanged. 

Have to studied or instituted wellness programs to contain health care costs for your employees? 

Over the last several years, National Interstate has implemented a variety of wellness programs primarily in response to our employees including initiatives such as an onsite flu shot clinic, monthly newsletter, health fairs including screenings and wellness vendors, as well as lunch and learn speakers. There is no question employees have greater access to information and resources promoting healthy lifestyles than ever before. For an employer, it can often be difficult to quantify the results of individual employees reaching their health goal. It may simply mean that employee was able to attend a son or daughter’s soccer game. Those kinds of results are important in addition to focusing on healthcare cost containment. 

What other things are you doing specifically to contain health care costs for your employees? 

We believe educating employees about the plan they participate in is a key factor in containing health care costs. Most medical plans have discounts and incentives already built into the plan design, yet many times employees don’t fully utilize these features. We work in conjunction with our health care provider to disseminate information to employees so they can make informed health care decisions. 

Do you foresee having employees pay a larger share of company-offered health care coverage?

It is impossible to predict what the future holds in terms of health care costs. What we do know is if our employees collectively work as a team, we have the best chance of minimizing health care costs for our organization. While we make health care choices as individuals, the impact of those choices from a rate perspective is felt amongst the group participating in the plan.

Anthony McBride
Principal, human resources
Edward Jones

How is your company preparing for changes associated with health care reform? 

We have been making changes to eligibility and benefit levels as required by the regulations since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. We have made required modifications to our group medical plan to ensure that it meets the guidelines for 2014. We will continue to closely monitoring the regulations so that we are prepared to meet future requirements of the law.

Have you studied or instituted wellness programs to contain health care costs for your employees? 

We have had a wellness program in place for several years, and anticipate it will help contain cost increases in the future by motivating our plan members to be aware of and gradually improve their health over time.

Due to health care reform what other things are you doing specifically to contain health care costs for your employees? 

By 2009, we had moved to a consumer-driven health plan model. Our plan includes some pharmacy and medical treatment programs that help direct members to lower cost, higher quality sources of care. Soon we’ll introduce online cost/quality transparency tools to help raise awareness of the disparate cost spread that can exist even within an approved provider network. 

Do you foresee having employees pay a larger share of company-offered health care coverage? 

While we do not plan to shift a greater proportion of the cost to associates in 2014, the overall costs for health care continue to rise. In this regard, we have added a surcharge to cover spouses who have their own employer-based coverage available. We cannot speculate on what may happen in the future because the health care landscape is undergoing so much fluctuation.


The vast majority of my time these days is spent with young technology startup companies. These companies face overwhelming challenges with a multitude of uncertainties in all aspects of their operations model.

I help them remain focused on the simple truths that drive their business model, so as to not get buried with the complexities. The human mind has a limited capacity for conscious focus. In small teams, it is vitally important to reduce the work activity to a subset of the important activities — right action, right time.

Despite my manta of simplification, I was taken back when one of the founders of a company sent me a link to a TED talk by Simon Sinek that reminded me of the most fundamental of truths: The power of asking why. 

Breaking through assumptions

I’m not quite sure when I forgot to ask why. Twenty years ago, when I was working in the quality field on business process improvement, 5 Whys was a major component of the tool kit for Lean and the Toyota production system. The 5 Whys is a question-asking technique used to explore the cause and effect relationships underlying a particular problem. It also can systematically break through falsely held assumptions around legacy business practices.

Getting down to the nuts and bolts

Asking why is not just relegated to production processes, however; it encompasses the entire spectrum of business activity from the top down:

  • High-level strategy — Why are we in business? Why is our product/service important? Why are we changing/growing/shrinking?
  • Employees and partners — Why do you want to work with us? Why do we have these polices? Keep in mind that their reason may be different than yours. Understanding the differences in each person’s why is a key to successfully managing people. A lesson I learned many years ago when managing a call center was that my assumed motivations of my staff were completely different than theirs.
  • Marketing — Why are my customers buying? Why do they want to go to my site/store? Why are they willing to pay money? Why us and not our competitors?
  • Operations — Why are we doing this process? Why is this authorization needed?
  • Tactical  — Why is this key performance metric important? Why are we tracking these numbers, or not tracking them?
  • Founder/CEO motivation — Why is the work I’m doing valid?

Why is about getting to the underlying components. But more importantly, it’s about providing meaning and context to what we do. Obviously, what and how also are key in running a successful business, but the why should be central to our working life.

Underused, never overvalued

Do I sound obsessive with asking why? Maybe a little, but paradoxically for being one of the highest value activities, it is almost never systematically implemented — outside of Lean Six Sigma. I think the difficulty of asking why is that it is a little like introspection; with so much of our perspective outwardly focused, it takes extra effort to look inward.

As a practice for the upcoming year, I challenge you to ask yourself one why question a day, and seek an honest answer. I’m confident you’ll soon find a greater understanding of your business, your customers, your employees and, just maybe, yourself.


Todd Whittington has had a winding career path focusing around innovation processes, user acquisition marketing and operations improvement with a strong bent towards measurement and analytics. Whittington serves as the executive director for 10xelerator, the technology startup accelerator in Central Ohio. For more information, visit


Many companies today are striving to differentiate their business by creating a better customer experience. But great customer service doesn’t simply come with the wave of a magic wand.

It must be woven into the fabric of an organization — into its very DNA. A leader can have a fantastic vision and strategy, but it’s the customer-facing employees who deliver on the promise. That’s why the first step to building a customer-focused culture begins with your employees.

According to Gallup’s 2013 report, “The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders,” only 30 percent of U.S. workers are engaged in their work, and 70 percent are not reaching their full potential. Research also clearly aligns engagement with productivity, quality, customer service and sales.

The following are three factors Safelite Group used to build a customer-driven culture. 

Clearly define your cultural expectations to employees

At Safelite, we believe that our people and their talent are what set our service apart from our competitors, so we aim to be a preferred place to work. We explain our commitment to our employees through our People Pledge, which reads as follows:

  • You’ll experience great leadership.
  • We focus on you first.
  • We hire top talent … that includes you.
  • You’ll work in a caring culture. 

Leadership must pave the way

To increase employee engagement and truly deliver on our People Pledge, it must begin from the top. If a company’s leaders do not live and breathe the company’s cultural values, they will not spread throughout the organization.

Consider this: Organizations are defined by the shadows their leaders cast. As a leader, people are watching you. Employees take their behavioral cues from what they see from you. If you yell and scream, they’ll think that is OK. If you don’t care, they won’t either. When standing in the afternoon sunlight, your shadow looms much taller — leaders must carefully manage the shadow they cast on their staff.

At Safelite, we’ve provided a customized People Powered Leadership development series to all of our managers, which is designed to make them the best leaders they can be. 

Gauge employee engagement frequently

To ensure Safelite has achieved employee engagement, the company uses several tracking tools. In addition to an annual company-wide employee opinion survey, monthly “pulse checks” are randomly emailed to employees to survey their feelings about the organizations.

Participation rates are even a way to gauge engagement — disengaged employees rarely take time to provide feedback. The surveys ask questions about ownership, satisfaction, commitment, pride and advocacy, which help us know if our employees feel fully engaged.

Once you have your employees engaged and aligned with your vision, they will naturally focus their energy on the customer. Creating a customer-centric culture is really a two-pronged approach: one that we’ve named “People Powered, Customer Driven.”

By being People Powered, we will drive business performance by putting our people first and having an obsessive focus on having talented people who are inspired to deliver great results. Meanwhile, the objective of being Customer Driven is to achieve extraordinary results by looking at our business through the eyes of the customer; making it easy for them to do business with us, ensuring their experience is memorable. 

Since our cultural transformation, Safelite has successfully doubled its business. That’s all thanks to our people.

In his 25 years with Safelite Group, Tom Feeney has been instrumental in establishing Safelite AutoGlass as a national company and a well-known brand. Since becoming president and CEO in 2008, he has set the course for growing Safelite’s profits by 200 percent through two core principles: People Powered and Customer Driven. He is the recipient of the 2011 International Service Excellence CEO of the Year Award, the 2011 1-to-1 Media Customer Service Champion, the 2013 Columbus CEO Customer Service Award and many more. For more information, visit



Typically, if I ask this question to a group of business owners or salespeople, I get a deer in the headlights reaction and an answer that is vague at best. Why is this? We want to grow our businesses and reach our sales goals, but we have no clear path for how we are going to develop that growth.

Sure, we have our typical marketing stuff such as forecasting sales from current customers, attending trade shows, conducting webinars, advertising, scheduling email campaigns and generating Internet leads. This is all good, but with a prospecting plan, it could be so much better.

You might say, “Well my salespeople came up with their sales numbers, so they must have a plan.” Are you sure? Do you know what it is? Is it aggressive enough? Does it include new business development? Your future growth is in their hands. Why leave it to chance? 

Getting started

Make succeeding at sales a part of your company’s culture. Make it a habit by having an action plan and make it fun by rewarding the right behavior and celebrating successes.

Understand and document your company’s prospecting process. Break it into bite-size steps based on what has been working best.

Use the practices of your top sales producers to set the stage for the rest of the team. Each salesperson should reference his or her past sales metrics to guide the amount of new business activity that needs to occur to result in actualized new business.

Once this is known, you can begin to narrow in on exactly how many prospects are needed in the queue.

Do you already have a list of viable prospects or are they suspects? A suspect is a name and email address obtained from a list. A prospect is a company that has an identified need and the potential to buy from you.

If you are starting with a list of suspects, the sales plan will need to start with a prequalification process to net a list of viable prospects. 

Make it a habit

Establish a selling habit and use time efficiently by planning prospecting activities to occur at the same time each week. Plan calls and emails for the best times to reach prospects. Prepare mailings or letters and sales administration work during times prospects are typically not available. Use multiple techniques in your company’s prospecting process: phone, mail, email, case studies and so on. 

Circulate and be visible where prospects hang out

Include networking events, referral requests, social media and other sales-related activities into the plan. You want your salespeople to hang out where your potential customers are present.

Make it a part of your prospecting process to ask for referrals. Invest in relationship building for the long term. There is not always an immediate opportunity, but with an honest and focused effort, it will come. 

Prepare your marketing arsenal for ready position

Have your opening statement ready. Have your voice mail message ready. Have your follow-up email ready. Know the questions your sales team needs to ask. Have relevant examples and success stories ready to share.


Planning for the results you need to achieve your sales goals will assure you will reach them. Managing the prospecting process will help assure your organization is executing on plan.


Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for GREENCREST, a 23-year-old brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into market leaders. Borth has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership. She serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 30 certified brand strategists in the U.S. Reach her at (614) 885-7921, or on Twitter @brandpro. For more information, visit 

Twitter (company): @GreenCrest
LinkedIn (company:

We all know the paradox of growth in business: On one hand, expansion is a major objective of virtually every company. On the other, navigating growth can be a company’s greatest challenge — especially when it happens fast.

Molina Healthcare is no exception. When I started with Molina Healthcare of Ohio in January 2006, the company had some 40 employees, 1,000 providers and a few hundred members. Today we have about 600 employees, 16,000 providers and 262,000 members, with no end of growth in sight.

This year also marks the beginning of Molina’s first foray into a commercial product with the health insurance marketplace, as well as significant changes in our government-sponsored health care products such as the integration of care for dual eligible members in Ohio and Medicaid expansion.

Luckily, we’ve dedicated time and resources to planning this period of unprecedented expansion. Our research has helped us identify several principles for maintaining stability while we grow rapidly. 

Put the needs of those you serve first

Your customers are the future of your company. If you are to continue as a go-to resource for them, it’s critical that you remember their perspective in everything you do.

For Molina members, that means removing barriers to getting health care, providing the highest quality care and making sure our members’ have a great experience each time they interact with us.

Stay true to your corporate mission

In all probability, one reason you’re growing is that more people want your service or product.

Molina’s mission to manage the care of members who are eligible for government health programs has allowed us to grow, because we’ve done it in a way that improves the health outcomes of our members while saving costs for the state.

Capitalize on what sets you apart from the competition

What makes your company special should be obvious to everyone who works for and with you. Make sure to communicate this internally, as well as to customers at every opportunity.

Part of knowing how your business is unique is by learning from the businesses that share your market. 

Show your employees you value them

Employees who are appreciated go the extra mile on the job. We differentiate ourselves by offering unique benefits, such as paid time off for volunteering in the community in addition to traditional dental, health and 401(k) matching benefits.

In order to maintain an engaged team, give employees perks where you can, treat them with respect, provide constant coaching and performance feedback, and connect the dots to the goals of the company for them.

Form relationships in the community

Participate in strategic charitable giving, and you can strengthen relationships with community partners. Molina encourages the leadership team to give back by participating on nonprofit boards and donates not only funds but food and gently-used clothes to organizations who share our mission of serving those in need.

Your involvement also educates potential customers about what your business offers, and further inspires employees who give back to the community with both time and money. It demonstrates your integrity as a company.

Amy Clubbs is the plan president for Molina Healthcare of Ohio, the state’s second largest Medicaid Managed Care plan with 262,000 members. For more information, visit




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. ●

Sheri Tackett
Founder and CEO
Delta Energy Services LLC

The past year has been a time of significant change at Delta Energy Services LLC. The company sold the natural gas commodity portion of its business and acquired a Canadian company in the spring, changes that resulted in a head-count reduction of almost 30 percent. It would have been easy to accept that with fewer people there wouldn’t be enough time or manpower to do a lot of work in the community.

It was just the opposite under the leadership of Sheri Tackett, the company’s founder and CEO.

There was an understanding that the company’s financial contributions might shrink, but an emphasis on volunteerism resulted in many wonderful stories of help and support to organizations across the area.

Homeless Families Foundation, Welcome Warehouse, The Salvation Army, Down Syndrome Achieves and the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio are just a few of the organizations that benefit from Delta Energy volunteerism.

Financial support was still there, too. The company’s longest running charity program is the Jeans Day Fund. Employees are given the option to wear jeans on Fridays in exchange for a $2 donation. The funds are matched 100 percent by the company and at the end of the year, the money raised is donated to a handful of charities nominated and voted upon by Delta employees.

There is a similar program called the Soda Fund, in which employees make a 25-cent donation if they take a beverage from the company refrigerator. Donations made this past year totaled $53,000. ●

The Safelite AutoGlass Foundation, created in 2005 as the giving arm of the Safelite Group, supports organizations that promote the health and well-being of families, donating more than $5 million to that end.

Month-long national giving campaigns are held annually, during which employees’ host fundraising events. Employees also make one-time or ongoing electronic donations to a charity of their choice through Safelite’s partnership with the United Way of Central Ohio.

Safelite gives all employees two paid days off work to volunteer — one at an organization of their choice and one as a team or department — and they are encouraged to give of their free time as well.

Tom Feeney, Safelite AutoGlass’s president and CEO, has been the leader in creating a culture of giving at the company.

Central to his charitable activities is his involvement with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, of which he is president emeritus of the board of directors. The charity recently honored Feeney as the first Hall of Fame recipient for his 10-plus years of support.

During his time with the charity, Feeney helped bring the 2010 McDonald’s High School All American Basketball Games to Columbus, and Safelite AutoGlass donated $100,000 to the games. Under Feeney’s leadership, the organization raised  $1 million, which enabled them to pay off all debt on its facility.

Feeney also was instrumental in the successful $6 million campaign to fund the expansion of the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio, making it the largest in the world. 

How to reach: Safelite AutoGlass, (855) 405 0204 or

Great companies, great employees, work for the greater good of Central Ohio

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
Tom Feeney
Safelite AutoGlass®

Delta Energy Services

Nonprofit Board Executives of the Year Awards
Laura Yaroma
YWCA Columbus

Mark A. Pizzi, CPCU
The Buckeye Ranch

Thomas H. Welch
LifeCare Alliance

Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Directors of the Year

Elfi Di Bella
YWCA Columbus

Mimi Dane
Flying Horse Farms

D. Nicholos Rees
The Buckeye Ranch

Pillar Awards for Community Service

The Crane Group
Diamond Hill Investments
Fifth Third Bank
Franklin International
Molina Healthcare of Ohio Inc.
White Castle

2014 Pillar Award for Community Service, Columbus

Rea & Associates Executive Directors of the Year

Elfi Di Bella
President and CEO
YWCA Columbus

Empowering women 

Elfi Di Bella’s leadership has made YWCA Columbus a national model

As head of one of Central Ohio’s largest organizations focused on eliminating racism and empowering women, Elfi Di Bella, president and CEO of YWCA Columbus, is passionate about helping women succeed.

Under her leadership, the YWCA Family Center — an emergency shelter for families — has continued to serve as a national model. Cities and organizations countrywide have reached out to Di Bella for guidance.

Since 2009, the Family Center has seen a 70 percent increase in homeless families seeking help. Di Bella has worked to improve the YWCA’s processes to care for these families while raising the necessary financial donations to cover the costs.

Di Bella has grown YWCA Columbus’ budget by more than $1 million, increasing fundraising efforts through events. She has also instituted giving circles and engaged constituents who haven’t been involved in decades.

Despite a rocky economy, the YWCA’s largest fundraiser of the year, Women of Achievement, has seen a record number of attendees. The 2013 event hosted nearly 2,100 attendees, raising more than $550,000. The organization’s second largest fundraiser, Woman to Woman luncheon, saw a 20 percent increase in attendance this year. Both examples illustrate Di Bella’s community following.

Di Bella has led the YWCA through a feasibility study for a capital campaign and application for $15 million in tax credits. YWCA Columbus has been given the No. 1 priority for 2014, an achievement for which Di Bella is largely responsible as she leads the organization into a new chapter. 

Mimi Dane
Flying Horse Farms

Serious fun for children

Mimi Dane hit the ground running to make Flying Horse Farms soar

Mimi Dane left a successful 21-year litigation career as a partner at Squire Sanders to become the CEO at Flying Horse Farms, a fledgling camp for children with serious medical conditions — and hasn’t looked back.

Within days of taking over as CEO, she led an effort to make Flying Horse Farms a full member of the SeriousFun Children’s Network, an international family of camps founded by the late actor and Ohio native Paul Newman. Flying Horse Farms is the only camp of its kind in the Midwest.

Dane recently recruited and hired a team of experts to fill many crucial roles at camp: medical director, nursing director, VP of advancement, camper recruiter and database manager. This additional staff has made it possible to expand camp programs, recruit more campers and deepen donor relationships.

Ensuring the safety and security of the campers, volunteers and staff are Dane’s top priorities. Flying Horse Farms is the first camp in the SeriousFun Children’s Network to implement a crisis communication plan.

Perhaps the biggest impact she has made on Flying Horse Farms is her commitment to offer camping experiences for more children with serious illnesses. In just three camp seasons, the total number of campers served has increased more than 40 percent.

Dane’s greatest strength as CEO is her servant leadership approach. Flying Horse Farms has a set of 10 core values, one of which is “All Crew. No Passengers.” which means employees should take on other duties as “unassigned.” Dane lives this core value every day to the fullest. ●

Stan Ross
Co-founder and executive director
Positive Influence Team

For children and families

Nicholas Rees leads The Buckeye Ranch to new heights in programs and services

In four years as president and CEO of The Buckeye Ranch, D. Nicholas Rees has driven the programs and services offered by the nonprofit entity to a higher level, focusing on hope and healing for children and families.

These include a 24-by-7 residential program; day treatment schools, one at the Rosemont Center and the other at Cross Creek; foster care program; Protective Families Solutions Network; outpatient services; and community-based outreach services around Central Ohio. Expansion areas include the development of the Common Ground Program; increased presence in foster care around Ohio; acquisitions of MyPlace, a transitional living facility and the Rosemont facility, which now offers outreach with Somali families; Functional Family Therapy; and additional foster care homes.

The staff at The Buckeye Ranch says it will be exciting to see the next phase of success as Rees starts to revise the strategic plan and launch a rebranding to help increase knowledge and awareness of The Buckeye Ranch.

Rees has led The Buckeye Ranch from being a moderate-sized nonprofit to a nearly $50 million operation. He has helped streamline processes to improve how teams work together, thus producing more impact to afford more hope and healing to children and families. The staff has grown from just less than 400 to almost 500 members.

Rees helped The Buckeye Ranch meet its goal of a $5.2-million capital campaign for the physical needs of The Buckeye Ranch facilities. This was accomplished through outside donations as well as generous contributions from the staff. ●