The Medina County Women’s Journal will honor these exemplary women leaders from our community at this third annual signature celebration award dinner ceremony.
October 7, 2015 at Williams on the Lake in Medina
Thank You To Our Sponsors for the Third Annual Women of Our Community and ATHENA Awards Dinner!
2015 ATHENA Nominees
Melanie Kasten -Finalist
Melanie Krause has served SHC/The Arc of Medina County for the past 33 years; since 2012 as Executive Director. She is frequently sought out as a speaker in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Melanie makes time for service to the Ohio Provider Resource Association Board of Directors, Family First Council, Medina County Service Coordination Team and Transportation Consortium. Her focus is improving the quality of life of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. In her spare time, Melanie gives to the community by serving on the ADAMH Board as Vice President, as a court appointed volunteer guardian, on the Medina City Uptown Park Advisory Committee, UCC Bell choir and the Medina Breakfast Kiwanis. She serves as a mentor for social work students at various colleges and is not only a valuable resource but also an inspiration for the women who work with her. Melanie likes to garden, hike, read and word puzzles.
Theresa Laffey -Finalist
Theresa Laffey has been the Assistant Director for the Medina County District Library since 2011. Theresa, an advocate for librarians throughout the system, has worked to ensure they receive expanded responsibilities and training opportunities to prepare them for the next level of leadership. Theresa is a member of Medina County Arts Council and Art League. During the Library’s expansion project, Theresa chaired the Art Committee which honored local artists by displaying their art throughout Medina’s Libraries. Theresa has been instrumental in forging partnerships with community groups. Working with ORMACO, Theresa is involved in bringing cultural groups to the Medina Libraries. Recently, Theresa partnered with the Medina County Park District and established the Story Walk® at Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park. Theresa volunteers in the community, at Holy Martyrs Church and for the Medina Guardianship Program. She is a past recipient of the United Way Volunteer Award and the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Award. She is active in LMC and a member of the 2006 class. In 2004, Theresa was selected to participate in Library Leadership Ohio.
Ann Reusch -Finalist
Ann Reusch, Vice President Business Banking for Westfield Bank, a company who is invested and engaged in the community, which affords her the opportunity to be involved. Ann learned to be an active member and participate in the community from her mother, a teacher, who was always very engaged with her school and students. Ann is a prolific promoter of women; through her continuous and heartfelt involvement with the Medina Creative Housing, Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio, The American Red Cross of Medina, Summit and Portage Counties, she has worked to support recognition for the value so many women have brought to their communities. She is a constant and vast source of wisdom and knowledge in advising and mentoring women both personally and professionally. This enables her to help mentor young professionals and serve as a guidepost to the more experienced. Ann’s community commitment and leadership also extends to membership involvement with The Wadsworth Chamber of Commerce, The Greater Medina Chamber and the Greater Akron Chamber and their Knowledgeable Network of Women program (KNOW) and Leadership Medina. She is married to Gene; they have three sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.
Cindie Schneider -Finalist
Cindie Schneider has lived in Medina County since 1972, currently residing in Brunswick. Cindie was hired as the Executive Director of the HANDS Foundation in October 2001 and is passionate about their mission of “Improving the quality of life for Medina County seniors.” Giving back to the community has always been vitally important to Cindie. She has served on a multitude of boards and committees in many different capacities including Leadership Medina County, Medina Metropolitan Housing Authority, Medina County Senior Services Network, Wadsworth Professional Friends, Medina County District Library as well as the Brunswick, Medina and Wadsworth Chambers of Commerce. She believes, “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.” Her main interests are spending time with her family and through partnerships and collaborations making the HANDS Foundation the premier non-profit in Medina County thereby, helping take care of the people who took care of us.
Leigh Anne Best
Leigh Anne Best has been the Marketing Director for Mighty Auto Pro since 2006. Leigh Anne is the Co-Founder of Brakes for Breasts. Laura Frank, Leigh Anne’s good friend and co-founder, always says “small business is visibility, and with visibility comes responsibility”. Brakes for Breasts was created out of a desire to make the world a better place. It began in 2011 with 5 local Ohio repair shops, and spin the clock forward, in 2014, 142 independent repair shops joined hands across 29 states and raised $115,236. To date, Brakes for Breasts has raised $224,584 which is contributed to the Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Fund. Brakes for Breasts is a true grass roots fundraiser, 100% of the proceeds go directly to research. Dr. Tuohy and his team have created a vaccine that after 13 long years is going to bedside within the next 12 months. Dr. Tuohy believes prevention is the cure, and Brakes for Breasts supports his helping hands (research team). We want a world free of breast cancer; we do not want to lose another mother, daughter, sister, friend.
Sandy Frommeyer came to Medina in 1973 and is proud to call it home. Having worked in a variety of industries in her past, she brings to the Adult Education department of the Medina County Career Center a unique perspective and understanding of the business community throughout Medina County. As a community advocate, Sandy sat on the board of the American Cancer Society and the Society of Human Resource Management. She holds memberships in the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce, Wadsworth Chamber of Commerce, Medina County Economic Development Corporation, Leadership Medina County, Woman’s Network and Society of Human Resource Management. She has volunteered for Western Reserve Masonic Community, Medina County Community Fund, Noon Kiwanis Christmas Shopping with Students and Hands Foundation in addition to others. Her commitment to educating individuals on business issues from students to adults is clear in the committees she participates in, including the Medina County Economic Development Corporation’s Workforce and Education Committee, Medina Chamber’s Business Development Committee, Wadsworth Chamber’s Ambassador Committee and Leadership Medina County’s Business and Industry Day, Awareness Breakfast, and Out and About Committees.
Melanie Hillebrand as the Director of Working Women Connection brings women together so they can inspire, motivate and celebrate each other as women in business. This group provides an organized format for women to support one another through business referrals during bi-monthly meetings and luncheons. Melanie loves helping others and loves that Working Women Connection believes in giving back to those in need. Each of the twelve chapters of WWC participates in various philanthropic projects throughout the year in their communities. Her enthusiasm and energy for helping others has enabled the organization to grow and offer more women the opportunity to network and support each other. She is very grateful for all of the assistance she has received through the years when she faced trials and tribulations and wants to do the same for others.
Tracey L. Ruffin
Tracey L. Ruffin, Founder and President of Sister Circle Medina (SCM), has a reputable gift for reaching, inspiring, and empowering others. Through the diversity of her community involvement, Tracey is a groundbreaking influence to women of all ages, nationalities, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. SCM, a faith-based, non-profit organization, gathers 30-50 women in monthly meetings to address and overcome everyday issues that hinder and inhibit women’s growth and success. She is a Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Advocate and a certified leader for Surrendering the Secret, a support group for post-abortive women and their loved ones. Tracey is also an ordained clergy and serves at the St. Paul Church Medina Campus as well as the Medina Ministerial Association. Her passion for women motivates her to tirelessly extend her encouragement to women wherever she can, but her light of hope and infectious energy also serve to present programs for Big Brother Big Sister in Medina County, elementary schools and the holiday Adopt-A-Child program through the Medina County Children’s Center.
Alberta Skraba is the manager and company supervisor of Legacy Hair Studio. She has been in the hair care industry for 30 years with the majority of that time spent in a leadership role. Her goal as a leader is to help young professionals in this industry to reach their full potential both personally and professionally, utilizing the extensive training she receives through Paul Mitchell Systems. She has launched numerous initiatives through Legacy Hair Studios to support many different causes including; Stuff the Bus, Feeding Medina County, Kitten Crazy, the Medina SPCA, and Autism Speaks. She is a committee member of the Taste of Medina and an active member of the Medina Chamber.
Kelly Rose Stallard
Kelly Rose Stallard Account Executive with ClearPath Family for Medina and Wayne County has been consistently involved in her community. Kelly is a huge advocate sharing with families their choices regarding home care and hospice services and selecting the company that is right for them. She is happy to present to area groups through workshops, presentations and outreach programs. She resides in the Chippewa Lake area with husband, Mike and bonus kids Tristan, Kendra and Ryan and 3 dogs. Kelly invests her time and efforts in making a difference in the lives through volunteering or participating in fundraising events like Dancing with the Stars for Faith in Action. There are many projects in the community that have her commitment and dedication. Kelly is a highly active networker and connector for health care professionals through multiple county chapters of the senior service network groups and as founding member to facilitate a local chapter of SSAMA (Senior Sales Admission and Marketing Association). Kelly has won regional and national awards for sales and growth through market development throughout her career: HCA/MDA Facilitator of the Year, William B Sanger Spirit Award, and the East Region Top Base Growth Award. Kelly is the Vice President of the board for the Hands Foundation, board member of ADAMH (Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Board for Medina County) and graduate of Leadership Medina County 2014. An exciting fun fact is she worked the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta Georgia.
ATHENA Young Professional Award Recipient
Amber McClain is a graduate from The University of Akron with her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She has served as a Direct Service Advocate for The Rape Crisis Center of Medina & Summit Counties since 2013. Amber strives to make a difference in the lives of the people she serves throughout Medina County. Her Leadership roles have included, but are not limited to: one of the founding members of The Medina County Coalition Against Human Trafficking, Tina Project Specialist; speaker on dating violence & sexual assault for 7th to 12th graders, and an ally for Blanket Buddies from Buckeye High School & United Way’s Youth Venture Program. She also serves on countless community partnerships: Domestic & Sexual Assault Coalition, Imagine Peace, Youth Advisory Consortium, Family Assistance Collaborative Team, Share Cluster, Children’s Center Multidisciplinary Team, United Way Youth Programs, Medina Coalition Against Human Trafficking & Sister to Sister. Amber is currently working on recruiting families through outreach efforts for the Non-Offending Caregiver Support Group she co-created with another co-worker from Rape Crisis.
Congratulations to all the nominees!
The WOMEN OF OUR COMMUNITY Award Program was created to recognize and honor all women that were demonstrating professional development, personal growth and improving the lives of others. The Medina County Women’s Journal congratulates all the 2015 Women of Our Community Award Recipients and look forward to honoring them at our dinner program October 7, 2015. Please join us to help celebrate these women!
The criteria for the ATHENA LEADERSHIP AWARD® Recipient is an individual who has achieved notable excellence, creativity and initiative in their profession, contributes time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community. Most importantly, actively assist others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential.