Jennifer has created a legacy through her work at The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo. She rose from Development Coordinator to Deputy Director to the Chief Operating Officer, a position she held until 2020. Her responsibilities have been quite extensive and the successful functioning of the organization is to her credit.
Jennifer is an impressive example of leadership. Her clarity about business, her direction and patience when explaining concepts, and her reception to ideas attests to her role as a model for women. She is the intelligent strength behind every group with whom she participates. Equality and kindness lead to her success.
Throughout the pandemic, Jennifer has raised a sense of focused urgency to make sure that our communities have meaningful ways to connect through the arts and that artists and creatives can sustain themselves during these unprecedented times. The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced their ARP (American Rescue Plan) grants to 23 Local Arts Agencies across the country. The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo will receive funding at the top award level of $500,000 and Jennifer’s impressive grant writing skills are to be credited for this honor. The funds will provide $350,000 in grants to arts and culture organizations across the 15-county region of Northwest Ohio and another $100,000 has been awarded to employ artists.
Jennifer has given countless hours of service to preserve and revitalize cultural institutions like the Ohio Theatre and Valentine Theatre. Bringing diverse performances to audiences makes these spaces more inclusive and creative for the communities they serve. She has served on many boards including Toledo Sister Cities International; Northwest Ohio Community Shares, Ohio Theatre and Events Center; Hostelling International – Toledo Area Council; and the Welcome TLC Steering Committee. As a long-standing Scrap 4 Art Board member, Jennifer has elevated awareness of repurposed materials in creative expression and ensured affordable materials and tools are available for artists. In 2015, Jennifer received the Robert Brundage Award for Community Service, presented by Community Shares of Northwest Ohio.
Jennifer herself is an accomplished dancer and performer, and she has developed showcases, even opening her home to share her passion and inspire others’ appreciation for dance. But, her efforts didn’t stop with personal activity. She encouraged her dance team to perform during Art Loops and the Paint the Town Fundraiser for Parkinson’s Research, a fundraiser benefiting the Parkinson Foundation of Northwest Ohio.
Jennifer has the vision to take a situation and improve it for the overall good of the community. Her dedication to advancing The Arts Commission’s mission to build a creative and cultural community in Toledo, inspire vibrancy in our neighborhoods, and celebrate life through art is exemplary.
Marsha joined the Fifth Third Bank team in 1983 and currently serves as Vice President, and Senior Trust Advisor for the Northwest Ohio region. She serves as a relationship manager and fiduciary advisor for trust administration and estate planning. Marsha acts impartially in managing and distributing trust property, while always keeping the interests of her clients and their beneficiaries in mind. She is an outstanding advocate and has built a reputation of trust and confidence from her clients as well as from her peers within the bank. She acts with sincerity and integrity which has helped to create an exceptional reputation for the Fifth Third Bank Trust department in Northwest Ohio.
Marsha is active in the community and has long been a part of the cultural landscape that makes up the fabric of the community. After receiving her Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo College of Law, she served as President of the Toledo Bar Association and as a Trustee. She was only the third woman to serve as President. She served as the first female Chair of the Medical College of Ohio Foundation. She also served on the board and as Chair of the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio, the Toledo Bar Foundation, Mercy College, St. Ursula Academy and St. Ursula Foundation. Marsha also served as a founding Director and Chair of Preferred Properties, which works to provides affordable housing choices to people with disabilities.
Marsha began her career at the bank at a time when the term “glass ceiling” was still relatively new and women were just beginning to take their rightful place within the corporate community. Armed with her law degree and a drive to succeed, Marsha brought a level of professionalism and expertise to the bank that not only broke that glass ceiling, but also enabled her to become an advocate for the empowerment of women within the corporate sector. Over the 36+ years that Marsha has been a part of the Fifth Third Bank team, she has served as a mentor for countless women within the organization. She has enriched their employment experience with valuable career advancement counseling and opportunities, while serving as a pivotal role model in the traditionally male-dominated banking industry.
Marsha is an outstanding example of integrity to her clients and her coworkers. She works tirelessly for those in the community to provide opportunities for education and advancement, and she serves as an inspiration for anyone that has had the privilege to be mentored by her, work with her and serve alongside her.
As the capstone to her progressive 30-year career as a practicing Certified Public Accountant, Mary Conlisk Werner made a dramatic intentional shift from financial development to human development. Her focus: empowering women.
Mary’s career as a CPA began at what is now Ernst & Young, followed by her advancement to partner at a leading regional CPA firm, and then owner of Business Valuations and Consulting, Inc. In the early years of 2000, she invested her time, resources and energy to retool her career and became an executive and leadership coach, launching Werner Coaching and Consulting, Inc., a professional services firm providing a range of executive coaching to leaders, and leadership consulting services to a wide variety of companies.
A 1974 graduate of St. Ursula Academy, Mary’s journey came full circle when she was recruited to be SUA’s 5th President in 2012. She educates the daughters who come to St. Ursula Academy from across Northwest Ohio to prepare each young woman for college, but most importantly, for a life of meaning.
This year alone is a good example of Mary’s impact on the school and its traditions. With 589 students in grades six through 12, SUA’s enrollment is the highest it has been in over 10 years, growth supported by consistent parent surveys that rate their satisfaction at 95 percent, or higher.
Mary led the process to create SUA’s College Quest Program which ensures that 100% of SUA students are accepted to 4-year colleges and that SUA graduates collectively earn millions of dollars in college scholarships. While academic excellence is the leading priority, SUA’s core values of Spirituality, Service, Leadership, and Development of the Whole Person are reinforced through her work. The Class of 2025 completed the inaugural course in the SUA Leadership Program – the only program of its kind in the country. St. Ursula Academy was selected to be the nation’s first high school to have the neuroscience based, character-led program in its core curriculum, a selection based on the leadership culture already present at SUA.
In 2020 with the support of the Board of Trustees, Mary instituted an official Board Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI), as well as a Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) internally, to intentionally facilitate an inclusive and welcoming environment for students, employees, and community members from diverse backgrounds.
Off campus, Mary has chaired and been involved in numerous community initiatives, including the Toledo Community Foundation, Northwest Ohio Scholarship Fund, and the Bishop’s Education Council of the Diocese of Toledo. Before returning to SUA as president, Mary served on and chaired the St. Ursula Academy Board of Trustees.
In addition to her CPA (inactive) credential, Mary holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters in Organization Development from Bowling Green State University. She received her professional coach certification from The Hudson Institute and earned her Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential from The International Coaching Federation.
Mary and her husband of 43 years, Marty, are proud parents of three accomplished daughters.
Her life’s work is devoted to the growth and development of women, individually helping them reach their full potential.
Perlean Griffin was the longest serving Affirmative Action director in the City of Toledo’s history, having served with distinction for over 23 years. She wrote the comprehensive Affirmative Action plan which included hiring and promotional goals to correct disparities and deficiencies throughout city government; a plan approved by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Perlean also developed a city-wide training program to sensitize all employees to negative behaviors, comments and actions which adversely affect minorities and women as well as the first sexual harassment and hostile work environment policies and procedures for the City of Toledo.
Perlean played an integral role in helping minorities and women gain employment and promotional opportunities within the City of Toledo workforce. She changed policies and procedures which ignored education and skills held by female and minority employees and removed barriers which inhibited their advancement. She also worked with the Department of Justice to ensure that all buildings, streets, parks and restaurants in the City of Toledo were in compliance with the American Disabilities Act.
A pioneer in advocating for women to engage and thrive in the workforce, Perlean initiated an annual recognition program and banquet recognizing women with exemplary performance and achievement in their field within city government. She recognized obstacles that prevented fair and equitable employment and also trained leadership to understand how and why this was problematic and unjust.
During her many years in community service, Perlean Griffin received numerous community service awards and recognition for her deep commitment to employees and advancement of women and minorities including the National Sojourner Truth Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club; the Rosa Parks Award from the Board Of Community Relations of Toledo; the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s Recognition Award; the City of Toledo Pacesetter Award; the University of Toledo’s Community Service Award; and the Community Service Award from “Save Our Children Inc.”
Joan Duggan’s career has been remarkably extensive in the fields of medical care, leadership, education, scholarship, academia and research. Her medical practice has emphasized women’s health and her roles as Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean Faculty Affairs promote, support and mentor women in the healthcare profession.
Since 1985, the University of Toledo has been the leading center in Northwest Ohio for HIV care. Dr. Duggan’s involvement with infectious diseases and HIV began in an era when there was a stigma surrounding HIV+ patient care. She is the Director and a founder of the Ryan White Program, a clinic that cares for the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Duggan oversees the grant funding care and wide range of services offered to clients including, medical care, gynecological care, nutrition, pharmacological and financial counseling, and mental health therapy among others. Thousands of patients and future health care providers have been to this clinic for healing, services and education.
In the early days of this pandemic, Dr. Duggan saw the need for a “one stop shop” for HIV care, especially for women. Stigma kept them isolated and they would attend to their children’s health but not their own. The Ryan White Clinic offered women’s and pediatric health care, prenatal and prevention services, HIV testing, social services, counseling and other supportive services. Medical staff, residents and future care providers learn about working with this vulnerable population in this teaching hospital. Hundreds of professionals have chosen women’s health as a career after working with Dr. Duggan. Her teaching and this special program continues to be an inspiration.
Dr. Duggan’s philosophy mirrors the YWCA mission of eliminating racism and empowering women as it was the inspiration for starting a specialty HIV clinic that treats people with dignity and respect. Women who are clients are empowered with knowledge, independence in decision making, and opportunities for emotional support and growth. Patients have called this clinic a safe place. This was Dr. Duggan’s dream from the very beginning and now, the clinic’s diverse staff is thriving and growing today.
Early in the AIDS pandemic, Dr. Duggan became involved and committed to healthcare for people living with a disease that was so often fatal. She turned an infectious disease clinic into a highly respected, life-saving, invaluable program. Now she is treating hospitalized COVID patients, as well as HIV + patients.
Dr. Duggan continues to inspire. Her drive, commitment and dedication to the best care for all has never waned.
Robin has actively worked to promote social and health equity in northwest Ohio for more than 20 years. She is committed to relational diplomacy, trust, and cultural humility. Her commitment to health equity and love for creativity and innovation has led to a variety of successful collaborations that address the various risks that affect people’s health and wellness.
In 2009, Robin established Toledo Help Portrait; a yearly program aimed to bring unhoused people together for family photographs. She used photography to reaffirm the dignity of people living in extreme poverty. In 2012 she was a speaker at the inaugural TEDx Toledo. As Oncology Outreach Coordinator for the ProMedica Cancer Institute, Robin has had the opportunity to connect the most vulnerable in the community to cancer education and screenings. She had a special role in ProMedica’s Revealing Hunger which documented the lives of ten families living with food insecurity. She has twice been nominated for the prestigious Albert E. Dyckes Ohio Health Care Worker of the Year Award. She is also a recipient of the 2019 ProMedica Philanthropy Champion of the Year Award and the 2019 Lourdes University Alumna of the Year and the Lourdes University Newman Award. She has been with ProMedica since 2009.
In 2017, she established ProMedica’s Men’s Health & Wellness at the Black Barbershop Initiative (2017 – present) to address health disparities in Black men’s cancer outcomes with eight barber shops in zip codes with high health inequity. This collaboration educates barbers and their clients on health and wellness and addresses the risks that negatively affect black men and their health. She has broken down barriers, working to build trust between medical providers and neighborhoods with health disparities. In addition to events at barber shops, she also collaborated with community partners to present Art of the Cut, an annual event held at the Toledo Museum of Art that examines the intersection of art and health while celebrating local Black barbers and their roles as artists and men’s wellness advocates.
Robin began her college education at Lourdes University at the age of 41 where she earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology. She earned a graduate degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Toledo and completed Servant Leadership Center training at The Servant Leadership Center in 2009.
Robin lives the YWCA mission to eliminate racism and empower women. Her work in the community strives to create a wellness mindset by identifying complex societal issues and actively engaging and assembling teams for problem solving and action.
Robin is self-directed, motivated, and committed to life-long learning.
Juanita is the executive director of the City of Toledo Board of Community Relations which mediates racial disputes, as well as educates, promotes and organizes programs for equal opportunity and social justice.
Over the years, her accomplishments continue to mentor and encourage women. Her goal is to use her knowledge of working with community leaders to eliminate barriers that women face when pursuing leadership roles.
Juanita volunteers on numerous community and government boards such as the Fair Housing Center and the Toledo Community Coalition as an officer and organizer of forums on racism, education and health. She has also worked with the Parents Institute Advisory Board, the Toledo Lead Poisoning Prevention Coalition, Toledo Firefighter Council, Toledo Police Department Chief’s Advisory Board, and YWCA’s Dialogue to Change, all of which affect families and women.
These opportunities have allowed her to collaborate, educate and organize programs and mediation sessions. Volunteering with churches and community non-profit organizations allows her to continue ensuring a better life for those underserved.
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