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  • September 19, 2017 6:00 AM | Women's Network (Administrator)

    On Monday, September 18, 2017 the Women’s Network hosted our 2017 Annual Meeting at the Bit Factory located inside the Akron Global Business Accelerator. Our Annual Meeting is a time of celebration and gratitude for our members, sponsors, funders and numerous community supporters.

    This year’s accomplishments as an organization included:

    Numbers are based on the June 30, 2016-July 1, 2017 fiscal year

    We heard from our founding members Judy Nicely and Barb Mushkat on why they started the Women’s Network, 40 years ago.

    “Our goal was to remove the barriers to get women on boards within the community.”  Judy Nicely

    “You do not have to be superwomen, we tried that in the 70’s and it was unsuccessful. The key is women supporting women.”  Barbara Mushkat

    Board President, Kirsten Lino, discussed the changes in women’s rights, community representation and representation in the corporate pipeline over the last 40 years and how we, as an organization, plan to do research in Summit County on the gender pay and leadership gaps in the companies and organizations right here in our own community.


    Board president Kirsten Lino discusses the legal progress made over the last 40 years and projects the change to come

    We were also treated to a very special keynote speaker, Christine Amer Mayer of GAR Foundation who spoke passionately about women who typically work behind the scenes stepping forward into leadership positions and the collective effort for change in our community. We thank her for sharing her stories of her family and how her parents have impacted the woman she has become.

    Christine Amer Mayer, president, GAR Foundation

    Finally, the members present voted on our 2017-2018 board slate and congratulated our 3 Members of the Year. Congratulations to them all: 

    Executive Committee

    Kirsten Lino – Board President

    Kathy Romito – 1st Vice President

    Michele Root – 2nd Vice President

    Montrella Jackson – Secretary

    Mary Wheelock – Treasurer

    Board of Directors

    Laura Allio

    Kelli Crawford-Smith

    Laura DiNicola

    Lashawrida Fellows

    Laura Jo Hawk

    Carin Helfer

    Michelle Highsmith

    Kim Huff

    India Kaczmarek

    Ann Reusch

    Dr. Jennifer Savitski

    Katie Sutter

    Stephanie Torok

    2017 Members of the Year: Nicole Davis, Kathy Romito and Michele Root

    We want to take this moment to thank our funders, community partners, sponsors, members and volunteers for a great year! Cheers to another 40 with Women’s Network.

    *Photos courtesy of member Marjorie Cook*
  • September 12, 2017 4:29 PM | Women's Network (Administrator)

    Christine Amer Mayer


    Meet Christine Amer Mayer, president of GAR Foundation, long time Women's Network member and the Keynote Speaker at our upcoming Annual Meeting on Monday, Sept. 18. 

    "I first heard of Women's Network through Kristen Lino. She was describing the organization at an event and her passion encouraged me to check it out on my own." - Christine Amer Mayer on how she first learned of Women's Network 

    How do you start your day? 
    With three children and a few pets in my home, I usually have a fair amount of running around and logistics to handle each morning. That said, before my feet hit the floor, I am intentional about lying awake in my bed, no phone in hand for just a minute (sometimes probably only 30 seconds!). It’s not complicated – it’s my moment to be thankful for another day, to set an intention or two, and to take a few deep breaths. 

    How do you end your day? 
    I try hard to read every night, even if it's just a few pages. The pure enjoyment I get from reading is a peaceful way to end the day. 

    What woman inspire you and why? 
    My mom Mary Ellen Amer inspires me. In partnership with my dad, she raised ten children. She has seen so much in her lifetime – so many people and things that have come and gone, so many highs and lows. And yet she just kind of carries on with grace, with the willingness to give people the benefit of the doubt, and the ability to find something positive in most everything. I feel better about our chances as a human race when I’m around my mom! 

    If you were to tell one person "Thank You" for helping me become the person I am today, who would it be and what did they do?
    I’d thank my dad. He taught me – through his own example – that a person who is willing to work hard can overcome many an obstacle. 

    What are your passions?
    I’m passionate about the outdoors – especially hiking, bird-watching, and gardening. I find nature to have a healing power that I don’t find anywhere else. 

    What advice would you give to your younger self?

    Hey Christine, why don’t you replace messages of perfectionism and “never enough” with self-love and acceptance!

    What book would you always recommend and why?

    I would always recommend “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. (In fact, I persuaded a man in the airport bookstore to buy it last month!). It is a beautifully written tale of human connection that transcends nationality, history, and circumstance. 

    What's the best advice you have received? 
    You’ll never be better than a second-rate copy of someone else. Instead of always trying to measure up to others, focus on being the very best version of yourself.

    What’s an experience that changed you?
    Being the mother of a child with special needs has changed me more than anything else I’ve experienced. You come to understand just how many expectations and assumptions the world in general and parents in particular lay on our children. I am working to “un-learn” long-held habits of pushing Elizabeth in particular directions; instead I am more focused on trying to see the world through her eyes and helping her to be happy and fulfilled in it. 

    What are you currently watching on Netflix?
    I just finished Thirteen Reasons Why (mandatory watch for a parent of teens) and I am eagerly awaiting the next season of Stranger Things.

    Hear more from Christine and join us in celebrating 40 years of Women's Network on Monday, Sept. 18. Registration closes Friday, Sept. 15. 

    About Christine Amer Mayer
    Christine Amer Mayer is the president of GAR Foundation, the largest private foundation in Summit County, Ohio. Mayer guides the foundation's strategic direction and annual grant making which focuses heavily on education and economic development. GAR Foundation's mission is to help Akron become smarter, stronger and more vibrant. 

    An Akron native, Mayer practiced commercial litigation and business law for eight years with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs. She joined GAR Foundation in 2001 as a program officer. She was named president of the foundation in 2012. 

    Mayer received a Bachelor's degree in English from Duke University and a law degree from The Ohio State university. Her happily chaotic household includes her daughters Julia and Elizabeth, her son Jimmy, their spirited golden retriever Leo and their street-smart tiger cat Finian. When she is not spending time with her family or exploring Akron, Christine can be found digging away in her reasonably productive vegetable garden. 

  • July 24, 2017 1:26 PM | Anonymous

    Margaret Jordan, J.D., M.S.

    Margaret Jordan is the Business Development Manager for BDO’s Northeast Ohio practice. She is responsible for business development in the Akron and Cleveland markets.

    I recently had the opportunity to interview Margaret about the Women of Achievement Awards, the following are her responses.  

    “Thank you to the Women's Network for awarding me the 2017 Woman of Achievement Award. I am honored to have been selected as a finalist and winner of this prestigious award and I am humbled to be in the great company of the amazing past award winners. I am looking forward to getting more involved with the Women’s Network and to serving as the honorary chair of next year’s awards luncheon. The Women’s Network provides a wonderful service to professional women in our community and I feel strongly about ‘paying it forward’ to help other women achieve their personal and professional goals.”- Margaret Jordan

    What is the best feedback you’ve ever been given?

    My first boss explained to me that a full-time, salary employee works till the job is done. That was great advice and prepared me to have the right mindset about working and my career.

    What are your passions? What excites you?

    I am a competitive person and I love to win. I am also passionate about helping other women and girls in the way that I have been helped in the past through mentorship and encouragement. I feel that it is my responsibility to ‘pay it forward’ to other women and to our community because I have been very lucky.

    What are three ideas you want to be known for?

    I would like to be known for working hard, sharing my time and talents generously and for being a cheerleader for Greater Akron.

    What has been the one quality that has fueled your success, and set you apart from the pack (i.e. personality, passion, perseverance)?

    I have always been one to raise my hand to volunteer and to get involved in projects and this has given me the opportunity to work with many high-level people who I have been fortunate to get to know and learn from.

    Who is your role model and why?

    I have so many it is hard to name just one. My mother for her generosity and intelligence, my sister for her big heart, Carina Diamond for her polish and professionalism, Sherry Neubert for her accomplishments and humility, Barb Greene for her wonderful, giving spirit and great mentorship skills.

    About Margaret Jordan

    Margaret joined BDO through the SS&G expansion as a marketing specialist. She started her career focused on legal matters in academia and prior to moving into public accounting, used her background in law along with her marketing and business development talents to help non-profits and educational institutions thrive.

    Margaret is active in the community and serves on several boards including the Goodwill Industries Board of Directors where she serves as the Second Vice Chair and Chair of the Board Development and Nominating Committee and the Akron Community Foundation’s Women’s Endowment Board where she serves as the Co-Chair of the Communications and Marketing Committee. She is a graduate of Leadership Akron Class 31 and serves as the President of her class. She is also a member of the Leadership Akron Alumni Board. Previously, she was appointed by the Governor of Ohio to serve as a member of The University of Akron Board of Trustees.

    For more information on the Women of Achievement Awards luncheon and for a list of all winners check out our previous blog.

  • July 14, 2017 5:01 PM | Women's Network (Administrator)

    Through our recent partnership with NASA’s Glenn Research Center for the Women of Achievement Awards luncheon, we learned about their Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). This program was established to promote and integrate all small businesses into the competitive base of contractors. The OSBP even takes time to develop small businesses in high tech areas while providing maximum, practicable opportunities to participate in NASA contracts and subcontracts.

    We were excited to discover that the OSBP has an initiative specifically for women-owned small businesses. They want to increase the number of annual contracts by women-owned small businesses in Northeast Ohio. Additionally, they are investing in our community by providing outreach to women-owned small businesses through participation in the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce events and attending conferences where they are building partnerships with small businesses in high tech areas.

    Women’s Network is proud to call NASA’s Glenn Research Center a partner and we applaud their efforts to increase awareness of and promote stability among women-owned small businesses.

    For more information on what NASA is currently working on, read below.

    On Earth and in Space:  NASA's Glenn Research Center is Shaping the Nation's Future

    By Frank Jennings, Jr. 

    Named for native Ohioan and the first American astronaut to orbit Earth, NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland is currently developing the technologies that will increase the efficiency of air travel on Earth and improve NASA's propulsion capability for future exploration missions in deep space.  Creating such diverse technologies is nothing new for the center.  The men and women of NASA Glenn have been leading the research needs of the nation and the aerospace industry for more than 75 years.

    Begun as the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory (AERL) in 1941, responsible for developing the aeronautical technologies that would give the United States a tactical advantage in battle, the AERL helped ensure allied victory in World War II.  Since then, NASA Glenn has built a portfolio of research and technologies that have allowed our nation to explore, discover and innovate, not only on Earth but in space.  The center's technologies helped launch the jet aircraft age, send American astronauts to the moon, send robotic probes to every planet in the solar system and unlock the secrets of the microgravity environment of space.

    Today, the center is leading NASA's development of technologies that will advance the efficiency of future commercial passenger aircraft.  These include the use of biofuels to reduce emissions; using boundary layer ingestion to reduce an aircraft's fuel consumption; increasing use of electrified aircraft propulsion components and furthering development of composite materials to make aircraft engines and airframe components lighter and more fuel efficient.  And, while the center is developing technologies for the future of aviation, it continues to develop the aircraft safety technologies, such as icing sensors, which ensure the continued safety of aircraft currently in the fleet.

    Although NASA Glenn does not launch rockets from either of its campuses in northeast Ohio, its testing facilities ensure the success of NASA rocket launches at the agency's launch sites around the country.  Equally important; NASA Glenn is a critical player in the Journey to Mars, providing testing services for the nation's newest human-rated spacecraft, Orion, and its crew service module.  The testing NASA Glenn conducts, both at its Lewis Field campus in Cleveland and its Plum Brook Station campus in Sandusky, Ohio, thus ensuring mission success from launch to in-space flight. 

    As part of the Journey to Mars effort, the center is overseeing the manufacture of a Universal Stage Adaptor (USA), a crucial hardware component that will connect NASA's new space launch system rocket body to the Orion crew service module and capsule.  The USA will also have the capability of storing additional payload and in-space science experiments that can be activated prior to separation during a mission's flight.

    Besides space hardware, NASA Glenn leads the agency's effort to develop solar electric propulsion (SEP).  The center has been the lead for electric propulsion since research on ion propulsion began at the center in the 1950s.  NASA's first ion engine was built by Glenn in the late 1950s.  Today, NASA Glenn's SEP technology developments are a critical piece of the Journey to Mars and, in particular, NASA's recently announced "Gateway" plan, which will send astronauts back to the moon before eventually journeying to Mars.

    Whether on Earth or in space, NASA Glenn plays an important role in the nation's continued pursuit of exploration and discovery.  And, the technologies that the NASA Glenn men and women are developing, today, are shaping the nation's future for the benefit of all.

  • July 10, 2017 3:07 PM | Women's Network (Administrator)

    Leadership Akron Announces Class 34

    The signature program is one of several programs provided for leaders across generations through Leadership Akron. The Women's Network would like to congratulate the following members for their acceptance into the Leadership Akron Signature Program, Class 34: 

    Kirsten Lino, business banking team leader, Huntington National Bank, board president, Women's Network

    Andrea Conti, clerk of court at Cuyahoga Falls Mayor's Office, Women's Network CLI graduate, class 4

    Shana Earle, director of finance & business systems, Akron Children's Hospital, Women's Network CLI graduate, class 3

    Kathy Romito, community outreach manager, Western Reserve Hospital, board member and Women's Network CLI graduate, class 3

    We would also like to recognize and congratulate: 

    Laura Wallerstein, 2017 Women's Network Emerging Leader winner (past member)

    Jacqui Ricchuti, Women's Network CLI graduate, class 2 (past member)

    Studies show diversity in leadership can positively impact a company's performance and success*. We applaud Leadership Akron's continued effort toward diverse leadership in our community. Hats off to 56% female representation in class 34. 

    For a full list of the new class, click here.

    About Leadership Akron
    For over 30 years, Leadership Akron has equipped participants for community involvement and leadership. The signature Program offers intensive study of community issues and interaction with top decision-makers, enabling participants to expand their effectiveness as community leaders. In addition to the Signature Program, Leadership Akron empowers leaders across generations through its other programs. 

    About the Signature Program
    Over the course of the year, Leadership Akron Class 34 will develop a well-rounded perspective on the Akron community and set the stage for further involvement as community leaders. Beginning the year with a City Tour and two-day Opening Retreat, they will spend a full day each month focusing on a specific aspect of the community. Topics include Social Services, Healthcare, Education, Justice and others. Each day gives the class a hands-on look at the key organizations, decision-makers and the issues in that sector of the Akron community. Upon graduation, the class will be poised with new knowledge, connections and commitments to empower their service to the Greater Akron community. 

    *Read more on diversity in leadership here. 

  • June 23, 2017 12:48 PM | Anonymous

    The annual Women of Achievement Luncheon was a great success!


    On Friday, June 16, 2017 the Women's Network proudly hosted the 18th annual Women of Achievement Awards luncheon at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn. Our committee worked hard this year to honor more female leaders than ever before!

    Over 300 guests were in attendance and were treated to a very special keynote speaker Robyn N. Gordon of NASA Glenn Research Center, who discussed the importance of small businesses in our economy. NASA is currently working to promote and integrate small businesses into the competitive base of contractors that pioneer the future of space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research. Their dedication to the local economy and the small businesses in Northeast Ohio aligns with the commitment of Women's Network to our community and members.

    Robyn N. Gordon, Director, Center of Operations Directorate, NASA Glenn Research Center


    The Emerging Leader award, honoring a young woman professional aged 25-39 went to Laura Wallerstein, attorney, Roetzel. We also honored recent high school graduate, Molly McGinnis with the Judith Resnik Memorial Scholarship


    Emerging Leader winner Laura Wallerstein (left) and Judith A. Resnik Scholarship winner Molly McGinnis (right) with board member, Kathy Romito and honorary chair, Jennifer Savitski, M.D. 

    Our three Women of Achievement Finalists far surpass the qualifications and expectations associated with this award. Their work and dedication to the organizations in which they work and the communities in which they serve is honorable and we are proud to recognize them. Congratulations to our two finalists LuAnne Decker, Fedex Custom Critical and Robin Doerschuk of TalentLaunch!


    Woman of Achievement Finalists LuAnne Decker (left) and Robin Doerschuk (right) with board member Kathy Romito and honorary chair Jennifer Savitski, M.D. 

    We want to offer out congratulations to the 2017 Woman of Achievement winner, Margaret Jordan, J.D., M.S.! Stay tuned for a special feature on Margaret Jordan!

    2017 Woman of Achievement Margaret Jordan, J.D., M.S., business development manager, BDO

    We had 30 Women of Professional Excellence, the highest amount in the 18-year history of the awards! These women were honored for their high quality of work within their companies. Congratulations to all of the honorees

    This years' Dorothy O. Jackson award recipient was The Blick Center. The organization has worked with the community for many years helping those with physical and emotional disabilities. Their organization's culture is one that promotes diversity and inclusion at all levels. Congratulations to the Blick Center and their team for their continued dedication to our community.  


    This event is made possible through local support and sponsors. We would like the thank the following companies for their support in our organization and the women working in theirs: Akron Area YMCA, Akron Children's Hospital, Bober Markey Fedorovich, Brennan Manna & Diamond, Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC, Cleveland Clinic Akron General, CliftonLarsonAllen, Huntington National BankKastner, Westman & Wilkins, LLC, OMNOVA Solutions, Robert W. Baird, Inc., Sikich, Western Reserve Hospital and Westfield Bank

    Save the Date

    Be sure to save the date for next years' award ceremony. Friday, June 15, 2018; 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn. See you there!

  • May 01, 2017 10:30 AM | Women's Network (Administrator)

    Frequently Asked Questions/Concerns

    My company doesn’t prioritize training, is it really that important?

    Many employers believe training is not necessary, and therefore not a priority. However, training actually makes an employee feel more engaged and increases productivity. Additional training provides the employee with greater confidence, increased knowledge and skills and makes them more adaptable. Employees who receive regular training are more satisfied with their jobs and are ultimately more loyal to their employers. True capability is developed over time with reinforcement. Therefore continual training is necessary to keep employees in a state of perpetual learning. Leaders are not born leaders, they are made into leaders with support and training.

    I have been told training is too costly, how can I justify the cost to my supervisor/company?

    Training is an investment that will last a lifetime. It costs a company more resource to keep untrained, unhappy and less productive employees, than it does to train their current employees. Time, money and resources are needed to fire and rehire. Training empowers employees and increases the likelihood that they will remain in their current roles.


    My company does internal training, do we really need outside training?

    Absolutely! Employees need to feel safe from retaliation when discussing sensitive topics. Discussing work issues with and among peers can be intimidating. Thus, leadership training outside of the company provides a confidential place to tackle work related issues. Also, it is helpful to learn from your peers and get an outsider's view on issues faced in the workplace. Outside leadership training allows access to new people with new ideas. Further, employees don’t learn in a vacuum and need access to varying forms of learning.

    I don’t have the time to add another commitment to my schedule!

    Personal growth and discovery ultimately lead to more productive, efficient and timely work habits. Carving out time to build you up can lead to happier and more satisfied outlook. The Women’s Network offers many options for events, training and classes at varies times to help fit into everyone’s busy schedule. This truly is an investment in yourself for your future.

    I know of several women’s organizations in the area, what makes the Women’s Network different?

    The Women’s Network is not just another networking group! The focus of Women’s Network is authentic leadership training. Building strong relationships with other women is a secondary but important benefit. There are many good organizations for women in our area. Women’s Network uses industry experts to teach and train. Women’s Network focuses on teaching soft and hard skills and provides training on challenges faced specifically by women. We are slowly moving the needle on issues like unconscious bias and wage inequity.

    How do I get started?

    The best way to get started is to become a member! Once you are a member, you are have access to everything the Women’s Network has to offer, including events, training, CLC classes and networking.  Join today and see how you can take your skills and career to the next level.


    For additional information about the Women's Network membership opportunities visit:

    Membership Information

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