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At a very young age Tod Kowalczyk was determined to become a college basketball coach. Growing-up in a small town near Green Bay, Wisconsin, he was shaped by his blue-collar upbringing, education and athletic minded parents, and a series of college coaches that served as mentors. In 2010 the University of Toledo hired Tod to resuscitate a basketball program that was in shambles. Now in his 13th year as head coach, he has tallied a 193-103 win-loss record, six 20-win seasons, and three MAC regular season championships, including back-to-back league titles the past two seasons. In 2021 he was named the MAC Coach of the Year. His emphasis on building positive relationships with players and assistant coaches and cultivating team chemistry is at the foundation of his coaching and leadership approach. 
The foundation for Wendi’s personal and professional trajectory was set by her goal-oriented and highly supportive parents. She draws upon her experience as a lawyer, church worker, and college athlete to tackle poverty and food insecurity in the Toledo region. 
For over 40 years Dr. Longenecker has been teaching, writing and speaking about all things leadership. His work with collegians, CEOs, and private sector and nonprofit organizations gives him a robust perspective about leadership effectiveness. A highly acclaimed business professor, author, and keynote speaker, Dr. Longenecker displays a relentless positive outlook and ability to connect with and motivate people around him. Serving others, relationships, spirituality, and athletics anchor his leadership approach. 
Kadee Anstadt worked 20 years in the private sector before making a career pivot into education. Her lifelong desire to be a teacher and a serious health incident were the motivating factors behind this change in direction. Whether as a teacher, central office administrator, or superintendent, Kadee brings a purposed-driven and student-centered approach to her role. The enthusiasm and energy that she displays during school visits, meetings, and community events reflect a deep personal conviction to make a difference for others.  
Jim’s experiences as an educator and high school football coach planted a seed about the importance of the human dimension within every organization. He took what he learned from school administration and the gridiron and built a dynamic business consultancy company that serves major corporations around the world. For the past 35 years Jim and his team at Root have helped CEOs and senior leadership teams find ways to connect with employees and execute strategy. A bestselling author and highly sought-after speaker, Jim’s perspectives and approach are grounded in servant leadership. 
Stuart was born with osteogenesis imperfecta. His parents never treated him like he had a disability and never dampened his dreams. As a result, Stuart pursued goals, stretched himself, and attained prominent roles in the private and nonprofit sectors. His strong advocacy for independent living and full inclusion for people with disabilities is at the core of who he is as a leader.  
Ann is a driven, compassionate, and down-to-earth leader who works tirelessly to help people experiencing extreme hardship. Cherry Street Mission Ministries, located in downtown Toledo, Ohio, has been serving the homeless in NW Ohio and SE Michigan for 75 years. Using a Christian service approach, the goal is to reverse the cycle of poverty and help people living on the margins lead productive lives. Some of the services provided by Cherry Street Mission include warm meals, a place to sleep, healthcare and mental health support, and job skills training. Prior to assuming her current role as CEO, Ann’s professional career path included stops in healthcare administration, dog training, and church ministry. 
Alongside a highly successful career at a prestigious law firm, Stephen Rothschild always gave generously of his time and talents to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. A rewarding stint as a school board member made it clear to him that he was ready to pivot from the private sector to a public, mission-based organization. He now leads the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo, an umbrella organization that provides services and programs that enhance the health, welfare, education and cultural awareness of the Jewish community.  
Since 1921, the Toledo-based Mancy family has been providing an exceptional dining experience to customers. In this episode Gus Mancy shares how he, his brothers/cousins, and first and second generation family members built an iconic restaurant brand. His insights about running a high-profile establishment, the customer experience, creating a positive culture, making decisions, and adapting/improvising thru COVID provide a glimpse into what it takes to thrive in the always demanding restaurant business.   
As an educator, pastor, and executive director of a community-centered non-profit, Christine Sweeney lives a purpose-filled life. Her servant leadership approach is embedded into the mission of the Art Tatum Zone: improving the human condition one person and one family at a time. Christine’s life story and reflections about the Junction Neighborhood, her love of teaching, the three steps she uses to prepare for homilies, the value of feedback and being direct when communicating, a summer of being homeless, and keeping Art Tatum’s legacy alive leave a lasting impression. 
At a very young age Florida native Vicky Hurst emerged as a golf sensation. As a high schooler she was a two-time Florida Player of the Year, member of the US Junior Solheim Team, and the top-ranked US amateur. She turned pro during her senior year of high school and burst onto the Symetra and LPGA Tours. The early victories and Top Ten finishes earned her a coveted spot on the 2011 US Solheim Team. In late 2012 Vicky’s rocket trajectory skyward hit a stumbling block when she sustained a serious golf-related wrist injury that impacted her game. After years of focused physical therapy, she was able to work her way back to competing on the LPGA and Symetra Tours. In this candid episode, Vicky describes the rigors/rewards of being a professional golfer, her highest/lowest moments, the inner game of golf, handling pressure/adversity, and staying positive while continuing her comeback journey. 
In 2013, at the age of 37, Dr. Romules Durant became the CEO/superintendent of the fourth largest school district in Ohio. Purpose-driven, highly accomplished, student-centered, and homegrown are just a few ways to describe this dynamic school leader. During this episode, Dr. Durant talks candidly about his upbringing, his love for Toledo, the role athletics played in his development, handling adversity, and the importance of personal discipline and living a healthy lifestyle.  
In this episode, high-impact leader Sharon Speyer describes a serendipity career path that merged her legal experience and business skills. Her insights about collaboration, the 2008 financial crisis, vulnerability, surviving cancer, social equity, and community development point to a higher purpose that she attaches to her professional role. The person she admires most… her father, Rabbi Alan Sokobin. 
Rita Mansour is a highly successful financial advisor and business owner, plus a mission-driven humanitarian. She was chosen as the 2020 Jefferson Award recipient because of the multitude of philanthropic efforts and organizations that she supports. Her mission trips to refugee camps in the Middle East have been life-changing. Rita talks fondly about the role her parents and the nuns who taught her in high school had in putting her life on a positive trajectory.
Serving in several high-profile roles during his career, the foundation of Mike Bell’s leadership approach has always emphasized helping others and making things better. During this episode Mike talks about growing-up in Louisiana and Toledo Ohio, people who influenced him early on, playing college football and being a basketball cheerleader, why he became a firefighter, dealing with bias and discrimination, the rewards and challenges of being an urban city mayor, handling criticism, the importance of leaders being themselves, and riding in “The Beast” with President Obama. 
Entrepreneur, philanthropist, business owner, and author… Aly Sterling left the security of a significant position with a top-shelf employer to start her own firm. During this episode Aly describes in personal terms the driving factors that led her to make this leap, along with the challenges, rewards, and lessons learned associated with her entrepreneurial journey. Aly’s career/life path and gained insights provide a meaningful perspective about how we can thrive/survive in today’s high-pressure business environment. 
Fritz Byer’s career/life path is lined with significance. This purpose-driven and highly regarded attorney shares his life-shaping experiences associated with Duke University and Harvard Law, 43 years in the legal profession, the Toledo Metroparks, hosting the Jazz Spectrum radio show for 32 years, Roger Federer and Bob Dylan, and the Fritz Byers Band.
A renown theologian and lecturer, Fr. Jim Bacik has been a Catholic priest for nearly 60 years. In this far-ranging conversation, Fr. Bacik talks about his family life growing-up, influences and mentors, love of sports, seminary experience, parishioners who taught him how to be a good priest, leadership dynamics of being a pastor, handling criticism, his approach to public speaking, the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal, and what motivates him to keep serving, teaching, writing, and speaking.    
Anna Toney’s enthusiasm for leadership development, community engagement, and the Toledo region propels her work as the executive director at Leadership Toledo. In this episode Anna describes the life-shaping impact of her theatrical roles, what led her to Leadership Toledo, shouldering decisions, handling adversity, the courage to be vulnerable, and the importance of walking in another person’s shoes. 
In his 15th year as superintendent of Perrysburg Schools, Tom Hosler has used a collaborative leadership approach to elevate the district into the upper tier of Ohio school systems. He continually encourages and challenges students and educators to use their talents and look for ways to improve the human condition. His sense of humor enables him to connect with people and persevere through rough patches. In this episode, Tom talks about the teachers/coaches who influenced his path, defining moments, the impact of COVID, how underdog stories move him, and Bruce Hornsby.
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