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Kevin Kabat

president and CEO

Fifth Third Bank

(800) 972-3030 | www.53.com


Fifth Third Bank encourages and empowers its leaders, managers and employees to determine and engage in opportunities to volunteer their time and talent, both during and outside of working hours

The bank, led by CEO Kevin Kabat, has made a particular effort to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati, an organization that provides a supportive “home away from home” for families and their children who are receiving medical treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center or other area hospitals, regardless of their ability to pay.

Fifth Third and the foundations for which its associates serve as trustees have contributed ongoing capital contributions and project support in excess of $50,000 since 2009.

In addition to financial support, Fifth Third employees volunteer their time in various capacities, such as preparing home-cooked meals and snacks in the charity’s kitchen.

Since 2005, groups from the bank have provided more than 200 meals to Ronald McDonald House guest families. Financial support for these meals may total well over $60,000, and such funding is either bank-funded or employee-volunteer-funded, depending on the department or group coordinating the meal.

Fifth Third groups also turn out for the Corporate Days program to devote a day to the charity’s daily housecleaning and maintenance chores. And volunteering doesn’t just take place at the ground level — Fifth Third Bank employees serve on Ronald McDonald’s grants and development committees, as well.

Published in Cincinnati


Stuart Aitken



(513) 632-1020 | www.dunnhumby.com/us


Stuart Aitken, CEO of dunnhumbyUSA, leads by example to encourage employee volunteerism and donation efforts toward local nonprofit organizations.

He and many within the company, along with their families, are active in its “Helping Hands” program. Each year, employees vote to select the charities that dunnhumbyUSA will support. Then the company assigns a team to manage the relationship with each organization to determine its needs, establish goals and organize events.

One organization chosen year after year is the American Cancer Society. More than 20 dunnhumbyUSA employees, along with friends and families, participated in ACS’s Relay for Life this past year. Between dunnhumbyUSA’s sponsorship of the event and employee donations, the company team raised nearly $10,000 of the $32,000 raised by the event in total, making them the top fundraising team for the event.

Company employees also voted to support Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Oyler Elementary School, Freestore Foodbank, Ronald McDonald House Drop Inn Center and Women Helping Women over the past year.

Since joining dunnhumbyUSA in 2009 and relocating to the Cincinnati area, Aitken has been as active in the community as he has within the company — serving as a board member for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, a director on the board of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, a board member for the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation, the former president for the European-American Chamber of Commerce, and a former judge for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards.

Published in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Pillar Award Finalist

Rick Theders


Jonathan Theders


Clark-Theders Insurance Agency Inc.

www.ctia.com | (513) 779-2800


Alison Bushman says it’s tough not to cry each time the employees at Clark-Theders Insurance Agency Inc. open their hearts to her nonprofit organization Bake Me Home.

Bake Me Home uses homemade cookies to brighten the days of the less fortunate who are experiencing a tough time in their lives. The CTIA Cares Program stepped up to provide the nonprofit with baking supplies to provide cookies to families at area homeless shelters.

The Clark-Theders staff, led by CEO Rick Theders, donated the supplies at a catered lunch that was held in a room decorated to reflect Bake Me Home’s mission. They offered prayers to the people who make the charity work and wished them much success in the future.

CTIA also used Bake Me Home’s homemade cookie mix to bake cookies on their own and deliver them to people who were struggling in order to help promote the charity’s work in the community. In return, they made a generous donation to Bake Me Home.

This work all stems from the idea that Jonathan Theders, president of CTIA, had in 2006. He had a vision for a community outreach program that could make a difference in people’s lives. A voluntary committee leads the program, and employees are given 30 paid hours a year to volunteer their time to any nonprofit they want to support.

In 2012, that amounted to more than 500 hours of time given.

Published in Cincinnati

2013 Nonprofit Board Executive

Entire board nomination

Cincinnati Black MBA Association

Brandy Williams, president

(888) 864-4410 | www.cincyblackmba.org


The Cincinnati chapter of the National Black MBA Association is part of a national organization that is dedicated to creating partnerships that result in creating intellectual and economic wealth in the black community. The Cincinnati chapter hosts monthly events, including networking, executive recruiting, speaker panel sessions, training sessions and additional events and services to members, along with the broader Cincinnati community.

The organization has partnered with local colleges and universities to encourage continued education to students who want to pursue a graduate business degree. The chapter has hosted workshops at the University of Cincinnati and has partnered with business professionals from Procter & Gamble, GE and successful entrepreneurs, who have appeared as panel guests to share what they have learned with students.

Among the lessons the panelists have taught the students include the 30-second elevator pitch, resume writing and interview skills.

The national black MBA organization is also instrumental in supporting its Cincinnati chapter in administering the Leaders of Tomorrow, or LOT, program. Through the program, the chapter has recruited business professionals to visit a pair of inner-city high schools (Hughes and Withrow) on a monthly basis, teaching modules focused on career choice, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, business plan writing, college prep and selection, and communication and presentation skills.

The chapter also gives annual scholarships up to $2,000, available to selected students seeking to pursue a college education.

Published in Cincinnati
Thursday, 03 January 2013 15:55

How Barbara Gould is progressing Talbert House

2013 Nonprofit Board Executive

Barbara Gould, Advisory board member, Talbert House

(513) 751-7747 | www.talberthouse.org


Barbara Gould is an advisory board member for Talbert House, a progressive, multiservice agency that delivers services in criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse to a broad population, helping to improve social behavior and enhance personal recovery and personal growth.

For many years, she has been on a variety of local, state and national boards, councils, and committees, championing the causes of education, the arts, the legal system and public policy.

Talbert House operates multiple service sites throughout Greater Cincinnati. Within the areas of criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse, the organization provides services including assessment, case management, prevention and education, individual and group counseling, day treatment and residential services.

Each year, Talbert House serves more than 31,000 clients on a face-to-face basis and an additional 51,000 clients through prevention services that cover Greater Cincinnati. The organization creates innovative, evidence-based programs that are proven to solve tough social problems that impact all members of the community. Through comprehensive and proven solutions to behavioral health challenges, Talbert House seeks to build a stronger community.

The organization has expanded its service through its affiliation with Gateways, the premier drug and alcohol outpatient treatment center in Greater Cincinnati. Services are designed for adults and adolescents whose drug use or alcohol abuse is interfering with their personal safety, achievements and healthy family communication.

Gateways is an independent nonprofit organization with its own 501(c)(3) tax status and board; however, Talbert House is responsible for the financial, human resources, and quality and clinical services at Gateways.

Published in Cincinnati

2013 Nonprofit Board Executive

Charles H. Woode

Board treasurer/finance committee chairman

The HealthCare Connection

(513) 554-4100 | www.healthcare-connection.org


For more than 12 years, Charles H. Woode has tirelessly contributed his time and talent to The HealthCare Connection. Since joining the board in 2000, Woode has served the board in a number of roles, including as chairman from 2002 to ’05. Woode has also served as the chairman of the HR committee, and he currently serves as the board treasurer and finance committee chairman.

To demonstrate his commitment to maintaining a high service level, Woode attended the National Association of Community Health Centers board member boot camp training program. The program provides new and veteran board members with an overview of four key governance responsibilities: legal and liability, administration/personnel policy and procedural development, financial responsibilities, and clinical aspects of the health center.

Woode used what he learned during the training program to help The HealthCare Connection secure state and federal government funding to build a new Lincoln Heights Health Center.

With the help of Woode’s leadership, the capital campaign committee was able to raise $6 million in federal, state and local dollars to build the new community health center, which opened in 2004. Woode saw what a positive impact the center had on its immediate neighborhood and committed to extending its impact, allowing the center to reach other high-need areas of poverty beyond Lincoln Heights. The new center’s service area now extends to 13 political jurisdictions in northern Hamilton County, including Arlington Hills, Forest Park, Glendale, Greenhills, Lockland and Pleasant Run.

Published in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Pillar Award Finalist

Frederic Holzberger, Founder, Aveda Fredric’s Institute

www.avedafredricsinstitute.com | (513) 533-0700


Frederic Holzberger’s passion for giving has deep roots that stretch back to his childhood when he himself faced a number of struggles growing up.

It was with that history in mind that Holzberger, founder of Aveda Fredric’s Institute, became intrigued by Sister Bonnie Steinlage. Steinlage is a Franciscan sister of the poor who received her cosmetology license to cut hair for the homeless and less fortunate.

Holzberger was introduced to her by a mutual friend and instantly wanted to help. He donated much needed product and financial support to Steinlage’s new salon, St. John Daymaker, near downtown Cincinnati, and began plans to create a salon on wheels.

Project Daymaker soon came to life as a Winnebago that had been transformed into a traveling salon where licensed volunteers could use their talents to provide much-needed haircuts to men, women and children. More than 10,000 people have been helped by this service and been re-energized to pursue a new job or just a better way of life.

Holzberger shares his philanthropic philosophy with his people using the words, “Giving back is not optional; it’s critical to the health and well-being of our community.” He teaches students about the power of giving back and the change that can be made through each person’s generosity.

The result is a group of students, staff and guests that always have their eyes open for the next opportunity to help someone who needs it.

Published in Cincinnati
Thursday, 03 January 2013 14:18

Movers and Shakers January 2013

Magnus International Group announced that its founder, Eric Lofquist, has been named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Distribution and Manufacturing Category Award winner.

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award is the country’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.


Alliance Solutions Group, a full-service staffing and recruitment agency with offices in Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage, Franklin, Lorain, Mahoning, Lake and Wyandot counties, appointed Mark D’Agostino as president of Alliance Solutions Group of Akron. D’Agostino is opening a new staffing “hub” facility in Akron that offers the company’s full complement of staffing and recruitment services from all nine of its business units. Previously, Alliance Solutions Group operated a smaller office in Akron that only served the manufacturing and warehouse industries


Medical Mutual recently announced that Kathy Golovan has been appointed executive vice president and chief information officer. Golovan will be responsible for the information technology division including IT infrastructure and development.

Before joining Medical Mutual, Golovan was a tax consulting manager at Ernst & Young. She joined Medical Mutual in 1998 as a tax coordinator. In 1999, she moved from finance to legal.


Kaiser Permanente Ohio recently announced that Dr. Nabil Chehade has been named the next president and executive medical director of the Ohio Permanente Medical Group (OPMG), the exclusive physician network for Kaiser Permanente members.

Dr. Chehade began his new role Jan. 1 and will lead more than 200 health care clinicians and professionals who work for OPMG in 15 Kaiser Permanente medical offices in Northeast Ohio.


C.C. Hodgson recently announced the addition of two architects, Mark Duluk, senior design architect, and George Gatta, design architect/project manager.

Duluk is a graduate of Harvard University and has more than 20 years of experience in master planning and design.

Gatta returns back to working with Hodgson where he had previously worked on the master planning and designing of several senior living campuses.


Interlake Industries Inc. announced that Lisa M. Habe has been appointed chairman of the board of directors. The corporation specializes in short- to medium-run metal stampings with facilities in Ohio and Florida.


Western Reserve Partners announced that David P. Mariano has rejoined the firm as a director. Mariano will focus exclusively on building Western Reserve’s buy-side advisory practice. ?

Published in Cleveland

We are barraged each day with opinions on the economy, jobs, health care costs and a host of other topics that can affect consumer confidence. Information is plentiful, but it is often contradictory, leaving people to decide who and what to believe.

As business leaders, you must face not only the realities of the business environment in which you operate but also the mindsets of employees and customers.

As the economy shows signs of improving, they look to see if you’ll react. But leaders often rely on others, and being fearful of making the wrong move, they wait for the percentages to improve and for more certainty to prevail. Even the optimists are finding it challenging to break out of the pack and do something bold.

Emergence depends on factors

The reality is that not every sector will enter or emerge from a recession at the same time. It is important that you understand your market and where your business is in the cycle. If you don’t already have a list of leading indicators, then you need to develop one.

Demand the best information from which to make decisions regarding your business. Rely on facts, trends and data to help make better and timelier decisions. Act quick, be decisive, and don’t be a naysayer. Focus on what can be done versus what can’t. Motivate and energize your organization and set goals to break out and show what can be accomplished.

Being an early mover can give your business a substantial competitive advantage. When you see signs of enduring strength, you need to lead changes in your organization to improve the mood and atmosphere, to build confidence that things are going to improve, and to implement the plans you have developed.

Time to take action

Here are some steps you can take:

? Leverage your competitive advantage

? Take price increases in key segments while locking in cost in others.

? Get aggressive in marketing and selling efforts

? Expand into new markets or launch new products

? Invest in training staff and hire high-quality people

? Make acquisitions of products or businesses

? Invest in incremental capacity to enable growth

? Create a contagious atmosphere where people can prosper and customers can enjoy themselves

These actions within a company become contagious and can foster creativity and risk-taking. When done effectively, these actions will position your business for success.

Setting the tone

The way you think and talk about your business, the market and the situation you face will set the tone for the organization. Your actions and words can be the difference between breaking out or being a laggard.

Do you focus on the problem or the solution?

Do you think about the opportunities to grow share or focus only on retaining customers?

Have you ever noticed that, during tough times, the sales gap between the A and B/C players widens? Their attitudes shift and you start hearing excuses from B and C players as to why they “can’t” get sales.

Even when things start to recover, the A players will distance themselves even more from the others. When you go on sales calls with the A players, they acknowledge the circumstance with the customer but will quickly focus on what should be done to make the best out of the situation.

As leaders, we can set this expectation across the organization. It’s a mindset and an attitude. Do your part to create an environment where people can be creative, develop plans and execute with passion so they can win.


Tony Arnold is founder and principal of Upfront Management, a St. Louis-based management and executive consulting firm. He can be reached at (314) 825-9525 or tony@upfrontmgmt.com.

Published in St. Louis

Robin Sheldon had reached a critical point in the life of her business.

Through her strong will and determination, she had built Soft Surroundings from a small business that produced a single catalog for women’s clothing in 1999 to one that has seasonal catalogs, a chain of retail stores and an e-commerce website.

She didn’t do it entirely on her own, but Sheldon was definitely the driving force behind the company’s growth. However, she was beginning to realize that if she wanted the company to continue to expand, she was going to need some help.

“When you are part of a creative process as well as the traditional business side of the business, it’s very hard to let go of getting your fingers into absolutely everything,” says Sheldon, the company’s president and founder. “But there comes a point when you realize that you’re putting your business in jeopardy by doing this.”

Sheldon needed to get more people involved in the management of the 530-employee company. She also had to find a way to prioritize the really important things that needed to be done and separate those from the tasks that either could wait or didn’t need the same amount of effort to complete.

“So what that led to was the assessment of the type of people we needed to be hiring with what particular skill sets,” Sheldon says. “For myself, it was a matter of setting up my goals with parameters and guidelines that would get me to the point where I could let go.”

The challenge for Sheldon would be setting up that structure so she could get more comfortable with delegating tasks.

Know your priorities

Part of the problem Sheldon has when it comes to delegating is the high level of confidence she has in herself.

“I have an expectation of myself that is probably way too perfect and hard for anybody else to achieve,” she says. “I’m going to expect more from myself than I am from anybody.”

The result is that Sheldon believes she can do it all. And she saw no reason why it couldn’t be done to the absolute best of her abilities. But she finally started to understand that perfection isn’t always necessary.

“I realized I have to be satisfied with ‘good enough,’” Sheldon says. “I have to identify the few areas where it had to be great.”

There are certain tasks in any business that don’t have anything to do with the customer and have a negligible effect on the bottom line. These are tasks that just need to be done.

“You’re not going to drive yourself over the edge of the cliff trying to make it perfect,” Sheldon says. “You can get it ‘good enough,’ and that’s going to be good enough.”

Then there are things such as the photography that appears in her seasonal catalogs.

“We spend a great deal of money and time on our photography to give the customer an aspirational experience that is emotional so she forms a connection with the product,” Sheldon says. “She understands we are trying to do more for her than just sell her stuff. That’s a place we don’t give. You don’t want to settle on things that are integral to your brand.”

The solution for Sheldon to determine what requires maximum effort and what just needs to get done is a formula known as good, better, best.

“When people come to me and say, ‘I have 10 things that I’m supposed to have done in 48 hours,’” Sheldon says. “I’m being told that all of them are equally important. I ask them to go back and discuss it and come back and tell me if it’s a good, better or best. That helps people a great deal. Sometimes you have to talk to other people involved to see if you’re headed in the right direction.”

It was a lesson Sheldon wanted to impart on her team, but one she also needed to try to follow herself.

Have a plan for delegating

The next step for Sheldon was to accept that within those priority tasks that need to be done right every time, it would be OK to delegate.

“It’s a process,” Sheldon says. “You have to put some good planning behind it. But in order to do that, you have to have the right people. You have to have a very clear understanding of what motivates each individual person. They are not the same. You can’t treat them the same.

“You have to learn each person and figure out how you’re going to make them happy in what they are doing, productive and wanting to do more.”

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in business is assuming that with a few brief words in your office, an individual can take a task and run with it.

“You can ruin a perfectly good career if you take somebody who is a super performer for you and you elevate them into a management position and don’t give them any management training,” Sheldon says. “Before you know it, you have a perfectly good person who has such good skills, but now is floundering in the job because you didn’t give him or her any management training.”

Develop a plan for the person you want to give responsibility to and then share your plan with that person. Take the time to see how the person feels about it and go over areas that you’ll need to work on with the person.

“I have high hopes for being able to give you some new responsibility and I know you’re up to it,” Sheldon says. “I’m thinking this is the area that we will work with and here’s the goal. Let’s sit down together and come up with how we’re going to do this.”

A key barometer that helps Sheldon know if she’s done her job training or if she needs to do more, or perhaps has chosen the wrong person, is whether she hears her name invoked as tasks are being worked on.

“‘Robin says,’” Sheldon says, repeating the phrase she doesn’t want to hear. “If I’m hearing that too much, it means people aren’t taking responsibility for their own work and they aren’t becoming their own experts. They are having to rely on my name to get their jobs done.”

Sheldon’s goal is to make sure the person has all the knowledge and skills to make it happen on their own.

“They don’t need to use my name,” Sheldon says. “They will build their reputation and their confidence by saying, ‘This is what we need to do, and I believe this is the way for us to do it.’”

Help your people

If you run into a situation where you have a leader who isn’t invoking your name but is struggling with the role of leadership, you need to step in and give them some support. Sheldon recalls a manager he was training who wasn’t getting respect from the people she was trying to lead.

“She had to follow up on projects and things that needed to be taken care of regularly,” Sheldon says. “She just couldn’t get their respect. We worked on that for six months together.”

What Sheldon found was that this new leader was struggling with the language she used to engage people in tasks.

“One of the areas we dug into was, ‘How do you get your point across in a pleasant way? How do you get people to want to help you and want to do what you need them to do?’” Sheldon says. “There’s a whole psychology there, and we studied it. Now she is a power negotiator, and she’s still here.”

The act of delegating has to be about more than just you saying to your employees, ‘Hey, you need to do this now.’ It’s a process that you have to be actively engaged in if it’s going to be successful.

“For me, things get tested,” Sheldon says. “It could be our clothing design. It could be our creative print design. It could be copy. It could be many things. As soon as I can get to a comfort level where I’ve seen it go the way I’d like it to go three or four times in a row, then I back off. I only check every now and then.”

When you do check in on how your people are doing, don’t just look for problems.

“None of us probably give positive feedback as often as we should,” Sheldon says. “If your business is moving fast, chances are you might be leaving that out and that’s so important. Along with positive feedback is making time to care about these people.”

The numbers show Sheldon is making the right moves with her business as the company hit $120.8 million in 2011 revenue. Two new stores were announced in Boston in September, and Sheldon feels good about the future. She says keeping it fun will be a big key.

“If you don’t allow people to feel they are having some fun in their job, you may lose them sooner than if you give them a little relief now and then,” Sheldon says. ?

How to reach: Soft Surroundings, (800) 240-7076 or www.softsurroundings.com


The Sheldon File

Robin Sheldon

president and founder

Soft Surroundings


Born: New York


Education: University of Denver. I was actually working on an English lit degree, which had nothing to do with what’s happened the rest of my life. I wanted to write, but not in journalism. I was not a business person or thinking about business much at that time. It’s an unusual situation, not one that most women would find themselves in today. It’s interesting how somehow the business finds you.


What was your first job?

I was a research assistant to a newspaper in Long Island, N.Y. I started to fall in love with the written word. I have a book that I’m working on and I do it when I get a moment to breathe. Maybe I will get to finish it someday. It’s a mystery, certainly fiction.


What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?

In the world of business, it’s, ‘Know your customer.’ I guess that came from Dennis Pence, who is president and chairman of Coldwater Creek. If you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes and see what you’re doing from their perspective, it will change the way you do things and it will make you more successful. We all get lost in our own little world and think we know why we’re doing things. Sometimes we’re doing things that the people we’re trying to do them for don’t want.





Know what tasks require maximum effort.

Help your people achieve their potential.

Make sure you praise a job well done.

Published in St. Louis