Pounds: Girl powerWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Northwest Ohio is home to many powerful and progressive women. Toledo Free Press has recently featured cover stories on a number of them. On April 14, TFP Community Ombudsman Brandi Barhite profiled Katie Rofkar, CEO of Nemsys, a technology support firm.
“I was one of those people while growing up here who was like, ‘I am going to leave’,” Rofkar said. “I went to Arizona — as far away as I could possibly get — but as an adult, I really realized that there was a lot to offer here in Toledo. That is why I decided to stay and build the business here.”
That business is contributing to a growing technology movement Downtown, and Rofkar’s commitment to the region is a strong vote of confidence for our potential to attract likeminded business leaders.
Another woman advocating for Toledo is Sara Swisher, the new director of EPIC Toledo, who was featured in our April 28 cover story by TFP News Editor Brigitta Burks. EPIC Toledo was founded by the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Wendy Gramza in 2007 as a way to combat brain drain. The organization has about 1,400 individual members and 62 corporate members. All corporate member’s employees have access to all EPIC Toledo’s benefits for free.
On May 5, TFP columnist Jeremy Baumhower wrote about Team 8, a group of young runners he assembled for a Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon event honoring 8-year-old Boston Marathon bombing victim Martin Richard. Baumhower wrote about his 9-year-old daughter Kacee.
“She was at the front of the pack during the first lap and gained momentum and rank during the second lap,” he wrote. “Then something happened. I saw her running the Glass Bowl a third time, meaning she had somehow followed the wrong person and now would be behind in the race. Not only did she lose ground, she added more distance to her run. When she was finished, she had tears coming down her face, her breath was gone and she was exhausted. When she finally caught her breath, I asked if she knew she had run an extra lap. Kacee’s reply warmed my heart and stole my breath.
“‘I knew 26 miles was not enough for a marathon,’ she said, ‘so I ran another lap for that boy.’”
We are collaborating with Baumhower on a new project, inspired by celebrity Demi Lovato’s call for famous women to post social network photos of themselves without makeup, as a way to empower young women with self-confidence and respect. We are recruiting local women to participate in the photos, to culminate in a late August fundraiser for Girls on the Run of Northwest Ohio, a group that combines training for a 5K event with healthy living education for girls in third through fifth grade. The organization uses “exercise, positive reinforcement and encouraging role models to help the girls discover the confidence they need in those critical preteen years and beyond.”
Look for more information soon. If you are interested in getting in on the ground floor, contact Lindsay McKibben, council director of Girls on the Run of Northwest Ohio, at lindsay.mckibben@girlsontherunNWOhio.org.
Toledo Free Press is proud to be a vehicle for positive messages for our region’s young women, and to learn from its female leaders.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.
Tags: Brandi Barhite, Brigitta Burks, Demi Lovato, EPIC Toledo, Girls on the Run of Northwest Ohio, Jeremy Baumhower, Katie Rofkar, Lindsay McKibben, Martin Richard, Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon, Nemsys, Publisher's Statement, Sara Swisher, Team 8, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tom Pounds, Wendy Gramza