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TABLE OF CONTENTS VOL.2, NO.3
CINCINNATI USA REGIONAL CHAMBER PRESIDENT AND CEO Jill P. Meyer
04 LETTER FROM JILL MEYER 08 BY THE NUMBERS
College students and grads across the region.
THE JUMP 10 LOGISTICS PEEK-A-BOO ON THE RIVER A full-scale maintenance and painting project wraps up on the Brent Spence Bridge just in time for Halloween.
12 TALENT TRUST PUSHES GROWTH AT FIFTH THIRD The bank invests in inclusion and diversity with a eye on its future talent.
54 TALENT AMPLIFYING THE REGION’S ASIAN VOICES Asianati was founded to support Asianowned restaurants and small businesses in uncertain times.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER Brendon Cull VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGIC MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS Danielle Wilson TRAFFIC MANAGER Tracey Brachle
BOARD CHAIR Leigh R. Fox, President and CEO, Cincinnati Bell
16 ARTS &
CHAMBER OFFICE 3 E. Fourth St. Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 579-3100 All contents © 2021 Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. The contents cannot be reproduced in any manner, whole or in part, without written permission from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.
TUNING UP TWO RIVERS The new indoor/outdoor music venues on Cincinnati’s and Newport’s riverfronts open to rave reviews.
18 MARKETING GET PAID ON CAMPUS UC’s and Xavier’s athletic directors discuss the new NCAA name/image/ likeness rules.
20 ARTS & CULTURE
UPGRADING THE TAFT MUSEUM’S OLD HOUSE The iconic downtown art museum closes for 10 months to repair 200-yearold wear and tear.
PG. 38 23
CINCINNATI AND DAYTON ARE BETTER TOGETHER Growth in aerospace, logistics, and transportation have the I-75 corridor ready for lift-off.
EXIT INTERVIEW WITH P&G’S DAVID TAYLOR The retiring CEO talks about his and the company’s legacies.
A BLESSING IN DISGUISE 54 PHOTO ESSAY: HARD ROCK CASINO One of the world’s biggest entertainment names officially announces its arrival in the region by opening its revamped downtown casino.
62 ASK ME ABOUT Going deeper with Elizabeth Blackburn of the Cincinnati Bengals, Bobby Maly of the Model Group, and Adam Symson of E.W. Scripps.
64 FROM THE DESK OF
Local Indian-born and Indian-American business executives reflect on how their upbringings impacted their leadership styles.
CINCINNATI CITY COUNCIL Q&As
PUBLISHER Ivy Bayer EDITOR-IN-CHIEF John Fox DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL OPERATIONS Amanda Boyd Walters ASSOCIATE EDITOR Lauren Fisher DESIGN DIRECTOR Brittany Dexter ART DIRECTORS Carlie Burton, Logan Case, Jessica Dunham, Jen Kawanari, Emi Villavicencio SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGERS Maggie Goecke, Julie Poyer ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVES Laura Bowling, Hilary Linnenberg SENIOR MANAGER, SPONSORSHIP SALES Chris Ohmer PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Vu Luong EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISING Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website cincinnatimagazine.com Phone (513) 421-4300 Subscriptions (800) 846-4333
We discuss strategies for boosting population growth with 18 City Council candidates.
O N T H E C O V E R : I L LU S T R AT I O N BY Z A C H A RY G H A D E R I
Barbara Turner, Ohio National.
P H O T O G R A P H S BY ( T O P ) R I C K LO H R E / S T O C K . A D O B E . C O M / ( M I D D L E ) C H R I S V O N H O L L E / ( B O T T O M ) D E V Y N G L I S TA
P H O T O G2021 R A P H BY TKTKTK 3 FALL REALM
appy Fall! I’m just going to say it: This is a fantastic issue. You will be well served to settle in and read it cover to cover. We have a great article about our growing Cincinnati-Dayton mega-region. In-depth coverage of 18 candidates running for Cincinnati City Council (check out cincinnatibusinessvotes. com for even more information from the Cincinnati Chamber on this topic). And a terriﬁc feature story about leaders in the region’s growing Indian-American community. But I really want to point you to the proﬁle story about the retiring CEO of Procter & Gamble, David Taylor. This “exit interview” tells you exactly what you need to know about him—that David’s leadership of P&G and his commitment to this community will leave a generational impact. He helped P&G achieve new heights of success in a changing global economy, while also navigating the pandemic and a proxy battle. All the while, outside of his day job, David provided signiﬁcant leadership to take care of our Cincinnati community at crucial moments. Many of us have been lucky to work alongside David on one endeavor or another. I can attest that we’re all better leaders because he’s been the CEO of Procter & Gamble. I know you join me in saying “thank you” to him for his tremendous record of business success and personal impact across our community.
JILL P. MEYER email@example.com
4 REALM SUMMER 2021
P H O T O G R A P H BY A A R O N M . C O N WAY / H A I R A N D M A K E U P BY M E G A N H I N E S
ou have a passion to follow. You have a world to explore. You have a desire to get more out of life. And at Fifth Third Private Bank, we’re here to help write your story. When you partner with us, we’ll provide you with a dedicated, local advisor, backed by a team of ﬁnancial professionals and digital solutions. Together, we can achieve even more. Let’s write your story. 53.com/privatebank
Fifth Third Private Bank is a division of Fifth Third Bank. Member FDIC.
THE TAFT MUSEUM OF ART CLOSES UNTIL JUNE TO FIX 200-YEAR-OLD ISSUES. P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E SY TT HH EE TA TA FF TT MM UUSSEEUUMM OOFF AARRTT
Get a jump on news about the two new riverfront music venues, the Brent Spence Bridge’s makeover, and Asianati’s outreach. Learn about Fifth Third’s diversity efforts and UC’s and Xavier’s plans to help with name/image/likeness changes for their athletes.
FALL 2021 REALM 7
THE JUMP DEGREES AWARDED BY CINCINNATI AREA SCHOOLS Degrees and certificates awarded in the 2018-19 school year, including Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees. Source: IPEDS (National Center for Education Statistics)
University of Cincinnati (Main Campus) Miami University (Main Campus) Gateway Community and Technical College Northern Kentucky University Xavier University Cincinnati State Technical and Community College University of Cincinnati (Blue Ash) University of Cincinnati (Clermont) Mount St. Joseph University
BACHELOR’S DEGREE AND HIGHER BY RACE/ETHNICITY
Statistics provided by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Center for Research & Data.
Union Institute & University
It’s back to school time across the 16-county Cincinnati region, and most colleges and universities have welcomed students back in person. The University of Cincinnati remains the region’s dominant school, enrolling more students and conferring more degrees than the second and third largest colleges combined. There are almost as many UC grads working in this region as those who attended NKU, Miami, and Xavier combined.
WHICH COLLEGES PRODUCE THE MOST LOCAL WORKERS
Of all adults age 25 or older in the Cincinnati region, 35.4% have attained a Bachelor’s or higher degree. Here is the percentage of adults within specific race and ethnic groups with those degrees, both in this region and across the U.S.
These are the top colleges that adult workers across the Cincinnati region graduated from or attended. Source: Emsi data for 2020
Source: U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2019
HISPANIC OR LATINO
NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
MIAMI UNIVERSITY (MAIN CAMPUS)
CINCINNATI STATE TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
WHERE CINCINNATI GRADUATES LIVE There are currently 510,441 graduates of Cincinnati area colleges living in the U.S. Here are the top 10 metro areas where they are. Source: Emsi data for 2020
COLUMBUS 4.49% CHICAGO 3.91% CLEVELAND 3.29% DAYTON 2.37% NEW YORK 2.34% LOS ANGELES 1.45% ATLANTA 1.42% WASHINGTON, DC 1.37% SAN FRANCISCO 1.26% INDIANAPOLIS 1.16%
8 REALM FALL 2021
UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON MOUNT ST. JOSEPH UNIVERSITY THOMAS MORE UNIVERSITY SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX
1.69% 1.30% 1.00% 0.95% 0.88% 0.86% 0.66% 0.63% 0.57% 0.56%
IMPROVING MEETING ENGAGEMENT THE SECRET TO GOOD MEETINGS With so many professionals working remotely, leaders are seeking tips to increase employee engagement during meetings. As a Professional EOS Implementer, I work with teams who struggle to make meetings engaging, which is a common concern for many companies. The secret to good meetings is to follow a structured agenda. Great meetings start on time, end on time, and avoid tangents so the team can spend most of the meeting solving problems. The best companies are simply great problem solvers. (QFRXUDJH KHDOWK\ FRQµLFW The most successful teams and companies thrive because RI KHDOWK\ FRQáLFW GXULQJ meetings. Every organization has issues, which can be unrealized opportunities. Great teams know how to identify the issue at the root, discuss openly amongst the team, and work together toward a solution. The goal is to leave the meeting with a plan or executional next step to make the issue go away forever. 6LOHQFH LV QRW DFFHSWDQFH Have you led a meeting where everyone stares at you when you ask a question? Do not assume those blank stares mean your team agrees with you. If you aren’t getting enough dialogue and your meetings are becoming unproductive ask
\RXUVHOI VRPH TXHVWLRQV àUVW and then bring that inquisitive spirit with you into the meetings.
“7KH EHVW FRPSDQLHV DUH VLPSO\ JUHDW SUREOHP VROYHUV ” 0DNH VSDFH IRU HQJDJHPHQW Often the meeting leader dominates the discussion and does not allow room for others to share their perspective on issues. In the meeting, be sure to ask for engagement. Will there be a round-robin type of open forum? Will you call RQ VSHFLàF SHRSOH WR GLVFXVV VSHFLàF LVVXHV" 6HW \RXU H[pectations ahead of time to ensure everyone is prepared and onboard. $FNQRZOHGJH FRQWULEXWLRQV Finally, to keep engagement high both during the meeting and in the future, remember to acknowledge contributions, and follow up on them. Speak-
ing up is hard for some people. Reward them when they do, and ensure they know their feedback is valuable by taking it into consideration and following back up with them. Ask for feedback from your team and make sure everyone in the meeting comes prepared and is adding value. Meetings, whether virtual or in-person, are essential to the success of a business and an excellent opportunity to boost morale and move your team forward. Crystal Faulkner, CPA, Professional EOS Implementer Partner & Cincinnati Location Leader, MCM CPAs & Advisors www.mcmcpa.com Crystal Faulkner is Partner and Cincinnati market leader for MCM CPAs & Advisors, as well as a Professional EOS Implementer™. Crystal supports successful entrepreneurs and leadership teams, offering expert guidance and beyond the bottom line thinking to reach their goals and increase the value of their organizations.
PEEK-A-BOO ON THE RIVER The Brent Spence Bridge was dressed up for Halloween all summer and fall, causing additional traffic backup as maintenance and painting work continued around the clock. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) will soon offer drivers a treat, though, as the $36-million project wraps up in mid-November.
EVERY 30 YEARS OR SO The Brent Spence Bridge opened in 1963 and was repainted in 1991. This year’s project focused on cleaning and painting, as well as routine maintenance work like drainage and signage repairs and replacement.
IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING The maintenance work followed on the heels of the truck crash in November 2020 that shut down the bridge completely for six weeks. KYTC officials say they couldn’t coordinate the current work with those repairs because they don’t paint in the winter.
A HEAVY LOAD The bridge’s heavy use is well-documented and widely bemoaned, which results in more frequent and more costly maintenance. Current daily traffic loads are twice what the Brent Spence Bridge was designed to carry.
NOT GOING ANYWHERE Under all future scenarios being studied by the KYTC, the Brent Spence Bridge will not be replaced but instead will be joined by a new highway bridge, likely just to the west. So this paint job is designed to last another 20-30 years.
10 REALM FALL 2021
P H O T O G R A P H BY R I C K LO H R E / S T O C K . A D O B E . C O M
FALL 2021 REALM 11
TRUST PUSHES GROWTH
Despite the pandemic halting many events, resource groups continued to make an impact. The Asian and Pacific Islander business resource group, for instance, held a virtual cele—SARAH M. MULLINS bration for Diwali, while the LGBTQ resource group celebrated Pride month virtually in June. Another pillar of Fifth Third’s initiative is bias, inequality, or lack of fairness and repre- equitable pay. “We’ve been doing internal pay sentation.” equity analysis since 2011,” says Smith. “After Fifth Third has encouraged employees to the [corporate tax restructure] in 2016, we inbring their authentic self to the workplace, creased our minimum wage by 50 percent from and ultimately those efforts re$12 an hour to $18.” She says CEO verberate throughout the staff Greg Carmichael felt it was importFifth Third and impact the community. The ant that the new law should benefit company reports 100 percent encouremployees as well as the company participation in unconscious bias ages embecause “rising tide raises all boats,” awareness training and set a list she says. ployees to of inclusivity goals to achieve by While Fifth Third is attracting 2025, which include increasing bring their talent and creating an inclusive leadership positions for women authentic environment from the top down, and persons of color, creating a Smith says, the real test is in the self to the workplace without disparity in future. “The real work is going to be What does Fifth Third look like race or gender, and ensuring the workplace. three years from now? How are our staff reflects the customers they serve. Inclusion councils and business resource employees feeling? That trust is built over time. groups further support African Americans, Asian But I think we’ve created a great track record and Pacific Islanders, individuals with disabilities, already that gives Fifth Third the ability to susthe LGBTQ community, Latinos, and women. tain, continue, and grow.”
Fifth Third Bank invests in employee inclusion and diversity with a view to its future talent. When the murder of George Floyd sparked passion around supporting minority communities across the nation and globe, Fifth Third Bank took a stand. The bank was already a leader in striving for employee diversity and inclusion and announced additional investments, including $2.8 billion dedicated to accelerating racial equality, equity, and inclusion. Fifth Third’s initiatives weren’t noticed just locally and within the company—the company was recently named to Forbes list of Best Employers for Diversity in 2021. Leading the charge is Senior Vice President and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer Stephanie Smith, who’s worked at Fifth Third Bank for more than 20 years. “We knew this work would have implications for all other of our diverse groups,” she says. “We understood that whenever we’re looking at solutions for the most marginalized in our communities, it would have implications for every other group where there might be a 12 REALM FALL 2021
I L LU S T R AT I O N BY M A R A D R O Z D O VA
How Asianati boosts local spirits and restaurants. —SARAH M. MULLINS
Nihillab ipitio comni quam facius vendendebit odi ne Koji Sado, Asianati et, odit que porum co-founder, ethas officae volorep worked at eriante&volutem Procter Gamble venis since 2007.
Nihillab ipitio Bao Nguyen, comni quam facius Asianati co-foundvendendebit ne er, owns Phoodi Lang et, odit que Thang and porum Quan et Hapa officae in volorep OTR. eriante volutem venis
Last year’s Asian Food Fest met the same fate as most of Cincinnati’s large festival events, cancelled due to the pandemic. The event had grown into a gathering and celebration of local Asian eateries, and for Asian Americans across the region it had become a popular way to celebrate their culture as well as a place to be themselves. With racist rhetoric and hate crimes increasing nationwide during 14 REALM FALL 2021
the pandemic, the cancellation erased a safe space for many. In response, Koji Sado (a Procter & Gamble executive) and Bao Nguyen (co-owner of the Pho Lang Thang and Quan Hapa restaurants) launched the Asianati website to be a resource for local Asian food as well as support Asian-American businesses in general. They recognized that many individuals and families were
moving or relocating to Cincinnati and didn’t know where to go to get a taste of home. The website celebrates the local Asian food scene with a directory of restaurants, telling stories behind the restaurants and highlighting dishes to try. Sado says he and Nguyen wanted to share and celebrate what they were ﬁnding out themselves about Cincinnati’s growing Asian cultural and business pres-
Asianati helped rally support for Tea ‘N’ Bowl restaurant owners Yvonne and Joe Low (above) after they received harassing phone calls.
tor of Asianati. com. “We saw an opportunity to broadcast a call to action to get people to go out and support this business. That isn’t a huge part of what Asianati does, but we do think that it’s part of our mission to amplify Asian-American voices.” Behle says supporting Asian-American events and organizations helps retain employees for businesses across the region. “We want Cincinnati to be a place that’s welcoming to everyone,” she says. “So it’s really important to create these spaces where people feel like they belong and know they don’t have to go to a coast or a big city to feel that way.” Asianati celebrated its annual Asian Food Week in May, and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber is bringing back Asian Food Fest on October 9-10 at the new Court Street Plaza downtown.
Nihillab ipitio comni quam facius vendendebit odi ne et, odit que porum et officae volorep eriante volutem venis
P H O T O G R A P H ( H E A D S H O T S A D O ) BY S A M B U R K E
AMPLIFY ASIAN VOICES
ence. “The Asian communities here are in silos, with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, and other groups somewhat keeping to themselves,” says Sado. “We’re hoping to create synergy among all Asian people here, especially by showcasing our amazing food options.” Asianati started mobilizing to help local businesses in a time of crisis, not only because the pandemic shuttered restaurants but also because racist outbreaks increasingly targeted the Asian-American community. After the Tea ‘N’ Bowl restaurant in Clifton Heights received harassing phone calls, Asianati rallied local groups and individuals to support the business. “We saw an Asianowned restaurant really hurting and a member of our community personally impacted by the hate and discrimination caused by COVID,” says Caitlin Behle, former Co-Edi-
P H O T O G R A P H S BY A N D R E W D O E N C H
ARTS & CULTURE
TUNING UP TWO RIVERFRONTS Long-awaited music venues open in downtown and Newport to bring back live concerts. —SARAH M. MULLINS
Cincinnati has become a destination city for music and entertainment over the years, attracting some of the hottest musicians to Riverbend in the summer months and a wide variety of acts to the Aronoff Center, Taft Theater, Memori- gion didn’t previously have a venue offering inal Hall, Madison Theater, Bogart’s, and other door and outdoor space and accommodating the halls. Despite this venue abundance, a gap for mid-size crowds that certain acts desire. Fans ofmedium-sized acts remained in the region—a ten travel to Columbus or Louisville for concerts niche being pursued by two brand new venues, that don’t play here. “You start bringing in these the Andrew J. Brady ICON Center and its adja- middle-sized acts that a lot of times will play in cent outdoor stage at The Banks downtown and other markets,” says Scott Stienecker, CEO of the PromoWest Pavilion at Ovation in Newport. PromoWest Productions, which developed the Michael Smith, president of Music & Pavilion. “You’ll see the whole market of CincinEvent Management Inc. (MEMI), a Cin- nati just have a new energy to it.” cinnati Symphony subsidiary, says the ICON The Newport venue holds 2,700 fans for Center started with the Hamilton County indoor events and up to 7,000 for outdoors Joint Banks Steering Committee’s request for proposals. “For decades, concerts occurred in municipal auditoriums and arenas as a side product of the core purpose of an arena,” says Smith. “It might have been built for hockey or basketball or a sports purpose, and concerts were a ﬁller product. We were very interested from the standpoint of ﬁlling a need in the marketplace and in the entertainment industry, specifically music-centric facilities that are in the 3,000- to 5,000-person range with Stages Are Set PromoWest year-round capacity.” Pavilion at Ovation (top) and the The Cincinnati and Dayton reAndrew J. Brady ICON Center 16 REALM FALL 2021
shows. The ICON Center holds up to 4,500 indoors and 8,000 outdoors at the ICON Festival Stage at Smale Park. Both venues have ofﬁcially opened for business, though the pandemic resurgence has the owners constantly re-evaluating capacity, mask, and vaccination rules. Both Smith and Stienecker report lots of eager fans and excitement from bands to begin performing for crowds again. “People are ready to get out,” says Stienecker. “We opened early in the summer in Columbus [Express Live! in the Arena District], and not only were the tickets selling well but the bar tabs were high. So people are wanting to get out and they’re wanting to have fun.” Early shows at PromoWest Pavilion included The Avett Brothers and The Killers, while the ICON complex hosted Foo Fighters outdoors and St. Vincent indoors. “Our projections are good,” says Smith. “The artists we expected to be interested are very interested. This is a cutting-edge, super high-quality facility, and it’s fun to be in position to attract the kinds of bands that maybe would have skipped over Cincinnati before.”
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THE JUMP he days of the student-athlete compensated only with a college scholarship are gone. This fall, when you see Desmond Ritter throw a touchdown pass or Paul Scruggs hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, you’re likely seeing a student-athlete-entrepreneur at work. College sports’ new NIL rules (that stands for name, imagine, and likeness) allow and therefore encourage amateur athletes to do what their universities have done for decades: Make money. “I’m all for it,” says Greg Christopher, Xavier’s athletic director. “Why was it that a talented student who maybe played in the Xavier band could play in a garage band or at a weekend wedding and get paid, while a student athlete couldn’t do anything to make extra money without losing eligibility?” The changes came rapidly as politicians and even the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the unfairness of a system that awarded universities millions in ticket sales and TV contracts while the athletes winning those games couldn’t even accept a free Coke from an admiring fan. That all changed July 1, when the NCAA threw up its hands and adopted the NIL rule. State legislatures and governors followed up quickly with some rules of the road, but most of what happens next is up to the individual athlete and the universities they play for. For a while, says John Cunningham, athletic director at the University of Cincinnati, it’s going to be the “wild west” in college sport—a capital market governed not just by athletic prowess but, perhaps as importantly, social media presence. “When we think of the NIL now, we naturally think of that high-level athlete and, certainly, that’s going to impact them in a very positive way,” he says. “But I think, too, of the high-profile student athlete who’s a big thinker and who knows how to market themselves through social media. The ones that put sweat equity into this and think it through are going to benefit too.” Xavier tennis star Ahmeir Kyle, with more than 13,000 Instagram followers, was signed by Western & Southern Financial Group shortly after the NIL went into effect to cut a TV commercial for the W&S Open. She readily acknowledges it’s her social media presence, not her fierce forehand, that enhances her marketability. She believes Western & Southern and other companies she’s contracted with are attracted by her multiplier effect. “When I post for them, almost everyone who has reached out to me has thousands of followers, so that gains a great audience [for the companies I endorse],” says Kyle. Like many athletes, she’s mostly been paid in gift cards or free clothes from the companies she’s represented, though W&S did pay her cold, hard cash. Christopher and Cunningham agree it will take a few years for the NIL market to sort itself out and for them to see the impact on recruiting and athlete retention. In the meantime, both Xavier and UC have placed guardrails around their athletes endorsing companies that sell sexually explicit products, performance-enhancing drugs banned by the NCAA, and tobacco or promote gambling.
GETTING PAID ON CAMPUS How Xavier and UC are handling the new name/image/likeness rules for college athletes. —JOHN STOWELL
18 REALM FALL 2021
I L LU S T R AT I O N BY M AT T J O H N S T O N E
THE IMPACT OF POOR SOCIOECONOMIC CONDITIONS ON YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH by John Banchy, President and CEO
F SOMEONE ONCE HAD A BROKEN arm, and they went to the doctor and were treated, do you think this would adversely affect their future job prospects, relationships, or academics? Likely not. But what about the onein-ﬁve teens in our nation who have a mental health issue? Sixty percent of those receive no treatment and nearly 25% receive inadequate treatment. This is akin to having that broken arm and not being able to see a doctor to address the problem. Mental health illness most often manifests early in life. In fact, half of life-impacting mental illness begins by age 14. This trend leads to young people failing to complete high school and being more at risk for unemployment or underemployment. During the past several years suicide rates in our country have increased by nearly 60% among young people aged 10-24 and Ohio’s suicide rates have increased by 48%. During the critical time where youth begin the transition to adulthood, untreated mental illness affects relationships, overall health, academics, future employment prospects and makes even the most routine facets of life difficult. Best Point Behavioral Health is actively combatting youth mental illness. Our providers and therapists are present in 71 partner schools, where a child needing our help can be treated as part of their academic day. We also care for Greater Cincinnati’s most vulnerable populations across four states, over
300 neighborhoods and have clients, or former clients, in well over 300 schools in our region. The reach of our services is demonstrative of the prevalence of mental illness among our nation’s youth. There are almost 2-million adolescents and teens diagnosed with severe depression in the U.S. Fourteen percent of teens are affected by depression and bipolar disorder; nearly one in three meet criteria for anxiety disorder by age 18. As our team of passionate and dedicated providers continue to treat our young population, I hope you will get involved. Our transition services are always seeking career speakers, participants
in mock interviews, and job shadowing opportunities for our clients. Some volunteers do art projects with our kids while others ﬁnd time to act as volunteer judges at science fairs. In each of these scenarios, you are imparting an invaluable gift. You are demonstrating that you care and that you, like the rest of us, are incredibly hopeful they work toward receiving a chance to be successful. Mental illness is an issue that can, just like a broken arm, be treated. Our youth do not suffer mental illness by choice. A lack of support, poor socioeconomic conditions and access to treatment are barriers our community must continue to address.
www.tchcincy.org | 513-272-2800 www.tchcincy.org | 513-272-2800
ARTS & CULTURE
THIS OLD HOUSE
The Taft Museum of Art launches a historic renovation for an iconic building.
—ELIZABETH MILLER WOOD
The Taft Museum of Art was never intended to be a museum. Built around 1820, it was born to be a regal residence, which it was for over a century until the Taft family bequeathed it to the people of Cincinnati in 1927. Today, the 200-year-old wooden house— Cincinnati’s oldest still in its original location—is a living piece of art that havens a beloved
collection. Names like Rembrandt, Goya, Gainsborough, and Duncanson grace its walls. Despite scrupulous care, though, the antique dwelling has long struggled to maintain museum standards for temperature and humidity, threatening the integrity of the delicate works within. “We do our best, but the alarms go off all the time,” says Deborah
Scott, CEO of the Taft since 2009. A 2015 audit conﬁrmed what was already suspected: Urgent renovations were required to preserve the National Historic Landmark and its works. The resulting Bicentennial Infrastructure Project, announced alongside the Taft’s 200th birthday, targets $12.7 million toward replacing the HVAC system, overhaul-
ing visitor information, upgrading ﬁre and security systems, and deep structural repairs to the windows, shutters, roof, and chimneys. Every exterior board, most of which are original, will be removed, inspected, and salvaged where possible. Construction broke ground on July 30 and aims to conclude by February 2022, with the historic house reopening in June 2022. While under construction, visitors can view the special exhibit In a New Light, which features 80 collection works given new, modernized interpretations. Visitors can also experience the Taft’s collection through Borrowed Gems, a temporary exhibit of 40 works on loan at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Amid the dust, meticulous precautions are being taken to protect the museum’s un-
movable features. Vibration monitors were installed to protect the home’s eight Duncanson landscape murals, and a makeshift hanging room keeps the original draperies unfolded and away from construction. Funding the mammoth project is the Love This House campaign, a mix of public and grant funds that had raised $10.7 million at time of print, with plenty of room left for public participation. In addition to the suggested $10 donation for museum visitors, patrons can also join the $2,020 Club, a multi-year pledge paid over
ﬁve years. Scott notes that while the Taft Museum’s success is crucial to the city’s culture, it’s also an undeniable cog for commerce. “If you’re recruiting, you’d better bet that a strong art scene is a feather in your cap, and I know there are CEOs who bring potential candidates to the Taft,” says Scott, whose recent retirement announcement for summer 2022 will arrive on the heels of the project’s completion. “I feel like ﬁnishing this project is the right time [to retire], and I will look back as having had an opportunity of a lifetime.”
CEO Deborah Scott says the Taft Museum’s structural repairs, long overdue, are “the opportunity of a lifetime” for her team.
20 REALM FALL 2021
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CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES DISCUSS HOW THEY’LL DRIVE CITY GROWTH IF ELECTED ON NOVEMBER 2.
Cincinnati and Dayton Together
P H O T O G R A P H BY G R E G H U M E , W I K I M E D I A C R E AT I V E C O M M O N S L I C E N S E
P&G’s David Taylor on His Legacy
What Drives Our Indian Leaders?
Big Changes on City Council
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Cincinnati + Dayton: Better Together
n 1990, a Hamilton newspaper reporter wrote a story commemorating the 30th anniversary of the completion of Interstate 75 between Dayton and Cincinnati. He noted at the time there were still just two I-75 interchanges in Butler County and one at Ohio 63 in Warren County. Not too many years later, everything began to change. A plan for a new Union Centre Boulevard, partly funded by real estate developers and championed by growth-minded township administrators, won over U.S. Rep. John Boehner. Union Centre opened eight months later in 1997, the first new I-75 interchange to be built since the early 1970s. IKEA’s announcement to open a new store punctuated a flurry of high-profile investments in the burgeoning business district. West Chester Township officials now report Union Centre’s economic impact totals some $4 billion in property investment resulting in more than 40 million square feet of new corporate office, manufacturing, distribution, R&D, and commercial projects. Recent township project announcements include an eight-story headquarters for Kemba Credit Union and a 143,000-square-foot Amazon distribution center. The highway made commuting from Dayton to Cincinnati a reasonably unremarkable 55-minute drive. The scenery along the route was once marked by long stretches of fields and farmland, but no more. Dayton and Cincinnati have visibly joined within a large middle district comprising Butler County and slices of Warren, Montgomery, and Hamilton; West Chester and Liberty townships and Mason are ground zero for growth. 24 REALM FALL 2021
BUSINESS LEADERS FIND WAYS TO COLLABORATE AROUND AEROSPACE, LOGISTICS, AND TRANSPORTATION, EVEN THOUGH THE CORRIDOR ISN’T CONSIDERED A MEGA-MSA. BY GAIL PAUL ILLUSTRATION BY LUKE BROOKS
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H E A D S H O T C O U R T E SY T K T K
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Joseph Hinson, President and CEO of the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance, has long supported combining the Cincinnati and Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Areas into one mega-MSA. “If we want to compete globally, now is the time for us to embrace the many inclusive opportunities that will be available to us working together regionally as one MSA,” he says. Merging the two MSAs is an idea that routinely bubbles up, sometimes around anticipated U.S. Census data reports. The U.S. Office of Manage-
There is a spending mechanism to consider, too.” Being able to bring the region together is a competitive advantage for all of Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, Hinson says. He cites that 3.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product crosses the Brent Spence Bridge each year. “A lot of people don’t go to West Chester, and that’s OK, but what they don’t understand is the economy that is building up in this whole corridor,” says Jill Meyer, President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional
“WE HAVE TO ATTRACT PEOPLE TO THIS REGION AS A DESTINATION,” SAYS EDDIE KOEN OF THE URBAN LEAGUE, “SO WHEN THEY THINK ABOUT RELOCATING, RETIRING, GETTING OUT OF SCHOOL OR COLLEGE, THEY WANT TO DO IT HERE.”
Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says the immense value of Wright-Patterson and the entire ecosystem of aerospace and defense industry operations located throughout Southwestern Ohio is a force that’s not well understood but must be part of the accounting of regional assets. Employing more than 32,000, the base is Ohio’s largest single-site employer with an annual economic impact of over $16 billion, according to the Dayton Development Coalition. The combination of WrightPatt, GE Aviation in Evendale, and CVG’s development as a major U.S. air freight hub provides the I-75 corridor with a distinctly futuristic feel focused on aerospace, logistics, and transportation. Business and government leaders in both Cincinnati and Dayton, as well as Columbus, say now is the time to truly coordinate efforts to ignite even faster growth and become better known nationally for its economic diversity and education, lifestyle, culture, and career options.
BUILDING A REGIONAL WORKFORCE ment and Budget (OMB) delineates the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas, assessing social and economic integration within core cities and outlying areas, including commuting patterns. The Cincinnati and Dayton metro areas have hit the population qualification for a dual-market combination, but Hinson says OMB’s formula of assessing jobs and traffic patterns when considering mergers of several MSAs is outdated. “Our pushback has been, What about consumer spending? What they are looking at is not aligned with what we see here today. It’s more than traffic and jobs. 26 REALM FALL 2021
Chamber. She says it will require a shift in mindset for many to be able to see the possibilities. “Of course Cincinnati is bigger than Dayton in size and economics, but Dayton holds its own. You have those two anchors and you have a CVG airport and a diversified business economy like we have in Cincinnati, coupled with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and what you already see happening in between—if you don’t see it, you’re not paying attention. Wright-Patt and all of the businesses that feed into it are an industry that fully understands their opportunity.”
N DAU N T E D BY T H E OMB’s lack of support for a mega-MSA designation, regional leaders are increasingly determined to build a foundation of support for a more intentionally integrated Cincinnati-Dayton corridor. They’re on a mission to expand the mindset “here first,” so that everyone can participate in the emerging opportunities. Meyer has led the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber for six years, investing in talent throughout the organization, including in the government affairs team. Political-
ly attuned and data savvy, the team promotes smart policies and supports coalitions around social and economic growth initiatives that require complex regional coordination, like public transit, housing, and the joint Cincinnati-Dayton MSA. “It’s a challenge getting people to understand that Cincinnati-Dayton is a market,” she says. “It’s not Cincinnati or Dayton. It’s Cincinnati-Dayton. Business leaders are understanding that louder and louder.” Meyer says the Chamber’s efforts to seek a federal combination of the two metro areas through the OMB path has undergone several iterations, but the project is on pause for now. “It might be that the OMB’s
PH HE AO DT OS GH RO AT PCHOYU BY R T ETSY I M TBKAYT KE R
standards for determining MSAs just don’t apply in our particular circumstance,” she says. “Our take is, This is not how people live anymore. This is not reality. We look at it from a how-humans-live lens, not an archaic governmental lens. Critically important to all of this is what the regions brought together do for talent attraction. Look at Dallas-Fort Worth. People gravitate to where they have options.” The Dallas and Austin corridors are top destinations for millennials, says Eddie Koen, President and CEO of Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, because of an intentional ecosystem of parks, affordable housing, competitive wages, and other amenities. “We have to attract people
to this region as a destination,” he says, “so that when they think about relocating, retiring, getting out of school or college, it’s here.” Austin Railey III returned to Southwestern Ohio after graduating from Notre Dame College near Cleveland. He joined the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s government affairs team in 2020 after holding a political job with the City of Dayton as a legislative aide. “Four or five months out of college, I was able to literally get a job in my field working for one of the most tenured commissioners in the City of Dayton, which coincidentally was alongside Mayor Nan Whaley, who at the time was looking to run for gov-
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
Union Centre Boulevard has grown from an experimental new I-75 interchange to an economic engine for the region.
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ernor her first time,” says Railey. “I mean, talk about an opportunity to be next to the heavyweights of politics. I was right there. But I was reluctant to move to Dayton because I didn’t know the city very well.” Railey commuted from Cincinnati’s Reading community, where he lived with his grandmother, to Dayton for more than a year before deciding to relocate. The commute was no hardship for him, because he’d gotten accustomed to early football practices in college. He accrued favorite stops along I-75 for food, gas, and shopping.
ropolitan areas so that we all can grow and benefit together.” Lt. Gov. Husted says Dayton and Cincinnati residents will always have their own community identities and points of pride, “but, when employers are looking to locate somewhere, they don’t view it through the eyes of governmental jurisdictions. They view it through commute times and access to a workforce.” Ohio is competing against other states, he says. “When you’re talking about a business that says they want to be in Southwestern Ohio and the
THE U.S. AIR FORCE’S BUSINESS UNITS AT WRIGHT-PATTERSON AWARDED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CONTRACTS IN RECENT YEARS TO SMALL AND DISADVANTAGED BUSINESSES IN THE DAYTON AREA.
“There was never a point where I just felt like there was nothing happening beside me as I was driving. It was a really good thing up until I decided I needed to make stronger connections in the Dayton community.” Christopher Kershner, President and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, says he shares Meyer’s viewpoint on dedicating effort and resources to collaboration rather than pursuing a federal megaregion designation. “We have had those conversations,” he says. “It’s not something we’re interested in pursuing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t leverage the economic assets of both of our met-
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site is a little closer to Dayton, then Dayton is going to want to say, ‘From where we are you can also draw from these 2.2 million other people [in the Cincinnati region] that are part of the workforce and also have access to great places where your spouse could go work.’ ” Cincinnati-Dayton is appealing, Husted says, because of its proximity to a much larger workforce and customer base. Great transportation infrastructure makes nearly every route between the metros an easy commute. It takes longer, he noted, to drive across the Chicago MSA than it does to drive from Dayton to Cincin-
nati. “It’s not uncommon here to have spouses working in different cities.”
R I G H T- PAT T E R son is the intellectual capital of the U.S. Air Force, says Dayton Development Coalition President and CEO Jeff Hoagland, but a lot of people don’t fully grasp the entirety of its regional operations or impact, partly because of the specialized work kept under wraps. “It’s not a flying mission,” he says. “At Hill Air Force Base in Utah, you see F-35s flying by all day long.” Hoagland names a few of the units headquartered at Wright-Patt that work all over the world but also are responsible for seeding small business growth and innovation in the Dayton region and across Ohio: Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC); Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), which handles all procurement; Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL); and National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), which broke ground in November 2020 on a $156 million five-story addition on site to add advanced laboratory capabilities. Hoagland and Husted recently met with a private company eager to commercialize Air Force technology. “All these small startup companies are coming out of the Air Force with great ideas, and that helps speed up the way the Air Force is innovating,” Hoagland says. An example of Wright-Patt’s impact, he says, is its commitment to contracting regionally and emphasizing small and disadvantaged businesses. Wright-Patt’s AFLCM had a total of 2,500 contracts in Ohio in 2020
worth $1.96 billion, $646 million of which went to small businesses. AFRL’s global contracts for 20132020 total $22.69 billion, 19 percent of which were contracts with Ohio businesses. Of the total Ohio AFRL contracts, 86 percent went to Dayton region companies. “Proximity matters,” Hoagland says. “That is something we always say. Having these headquarters here and seeing that the numbers and the dollars and the contracts are staying here, which means more and more businesses are either growing or starting up. There is a tremendous amount of the workforce coming from Butler and Warren counties. That continues to connect our regions together sig-
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nificantly.” Aircraft engines and parts accounted for Ohio’s highest export value of $5.9 billion in 2019 (11 percent of Ohio’s total exports), according to a 2020 PwC report of aerospace manufacturing attractiveness. GE Aviation’s Evendale operation is flanked by facilities in the Dayton region and West Chester Township. The company broke ground in June on a new 280,000-square-foot lean engine component manufacturing facility in the Miami Valley Research Park in Beavercreek. Hoagland says GE Aviation has received significant contracts in the past few years from Wright-Patt, including a $437 million contract in
2018 to adapt cycle engines to enable revolutionary combat capabilities in future platforms. GE’s Additive Technology Center in West Chester Township is among the world’s largest and most advanced 3D-printing facility and development centers, producing intricate jet engine fuel nozzles, gearbox covers, and other items. Precision Castparts Corp., a global manufacturer of complex metal components and products for critical aerospace and industrial markets, invested $128 million in early 2020 in a new R&D campus in Mason. Husted joined Governor Mike DeWine last year in announcing Ohio had been named a Defense Manufacturing Community by the
WrightPatterson Air Force Base is Ohio’s largest single-site employer, with an annual economic impact of $16 billion-plus.
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U.S. Department of Defense, putting the state in position to receive funding for manufacturing process improvement and workforce training. Cincinnati’s TechSolve is receiving $900,000 over three years to support the effort. Kershner says the Dayton Area Chamber’s strategic initiatives include military advocacy. Last year, a Chamber committee authored state legislation allowing military men, women, and their dependents to be able to get in-state college tuition rates in Ohio without waiting to qualify for residency. It passed into law last year, which “helps us attract more military men and women to the Dayton region,” he says.
BUILDING A COLLABORATIVE STRATEGY
INSON HAS WORKED at the West Chester/Liberty Chamber Alliance for two decades, long enough to see the Liberty Way and Austin Boulevard interchanges get built along I-75 north of Union Centre and attract development on par with that access point. Infrastructure improvements continue. He says the township funded a $20 million Diverging Diamond Interchange project to increase capacity at the Union Centre interchange, reduce conflict points, and more functionally integrate a practical and usable pedestrian crossing. “It’s not only that the interchanges are there in West Chester Township,” Meyer says. “It is how quickly they’ve developed that tells us there is opportunity.” She says the Chamber helped support an experimental dedicated transit service initiative to connect workers from across the 30 REALM FALL 2021
CO-LEADING THE EFFORT
Christopher Kershner, president of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, says he’s become “very good friends” and a “strong partner” with Cincinnati’s Chamber leader, Jill Meyer.
Southwestern Ohio region to available jobs along the I-75 corridor. WorkLink launched in 2018 with Monroe and Middletown expanding service outside of their Central Business Districts, providing transportation options for a diverse regional workforce. In 2020, it stopped the fixed-route service and transitioned into a micro-transit, Uber-style curb-to-curb service. Matt Dutkevicz, Executive Director at Butler County Regional Transit Authority, says there is “definitely a car culture between Cincinnati and Dayton,” but reliable transit is needed. “We serve people who can afford a car or can afford an apartment, but not both.” He says transit officials need to be in on de-
velopment planning early enough to be able to influence decisions around transit. He says he’s often brought in at “the last minute.” Koen says regional leaders need to keep steady pressure on making transportation accessible to jobs that offer competitive wages. “When you think about the context of the world now,” he says, “which is new for us, people who work blue-collar jobs are taking a new set of agencies for themselves. They’re saying, ‘I’m not going to take what’s in front of me. I want to be able to work competitively. I want to think about benefits. I want to think about the culture of a company. I don’t want to put my health at risk anymore.’ So when you expand transportation and access to opportunities regionally, you get to expand the talent pipeline.” Husted says the Brent Spence Bridge is a transportation infrastructure project that can’t start soon enough. “ODOT is ready to go. We need to do it right. A fully functioning bridge corridor will add value and bring a sense of relief over the lack of certainty around a central artery. We aren’t there yet, but we need to go because of the value it provides but also because of the negative consequences from doubt if action doesn’t happen soon.” (See more about the Brent Spence Bridge on page 10.) Kershner confirms that the bridge is key to the entire region’s continued growth. “ We have a fast-growing logistics hub at the Dayton International Airport, and the Brent Spence Bridge is critical to the future of the logistics industry in the Dayton region. Our economic growth is dependent upon a Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky asset.” A combined Cincinnati-DayP H O T O G R A P H PBY H OCTAORG OR LAIPNHE BY W I LT LKITAKMT KS
TAKEAWAYS IN DEFENSE OF COOPERATION The combination of Wright-Patterson, GE Aviation, and CVG landed the Cincinnati/Dayton I-75 corridor a Defense Manufacturing Community designation by the U.S. Department of Defense, putting the region in position for federal funding. COMING TO THE CORRIDOR If coordinated better, regional leaders think the corridor’s strong aerospace, logistics, and transportation focus will attract more talent seeking high-paying jobs and robust lifestyle options. BETTER TOGETHER A combined Cincinnati-Dayton MSA would be ranked among the nation’s top 20 markets, which would put the region on the map (literally) and attract more attention from businesses looking to expand or relocate.
ton MSA would be ranked among the nation’s top 20. Meyer says from a population growth perspective, migration pattern data shows that more people from out of state will come into Southwestern Ohio when the Dayton and Cincinnati markets are viewed as one. Koen and Railey both note Dayton’s strength as a tight-knit, cohesive community that’s endured tragedy and upheaval in the past several years, including a violent tornado outbreak, a
this conversation is that we don’t lose our sense of identity as a community. We have a way of doing business and supporting our business community that is unique to Dayton.” Meyer says the plan is to start showcasing and underscoring the good that can happen together “while being respectful and mindful of some of the hesitation that others have. We have to be careful, if we are going to take this route to grow economics for both of us, to make sure that everyone is in the
COLLABORATIVE PLANNING WILL MOVE AHEAD, SAYS JILL MEYERS, “BEING RESPECTFUL AND MINDFUL OF SOME OF THE HESITATION THAT OTHERS HAVE [AND] MAKING SURE EVERYONE IS IN THE CONVERSATION IN THE RIGHT WAY.”
mass shooting that killed nine in the city’s Oregon District, and a KKK rally. With such culture-changing events, Koen says, “it’s tragic, but one of the challenging but beautiful things that can come out of it is that as people stand together, they’re more resilient. They are more cooperative.” Kershner confirms Dayton is closeknit, calling it a “handshake community. You work with people you know and trust. There is nobody in Dayton that you cannot get a meeting with if you really want to. That is a point of community pride that we know is a unique value proposition to us that we leverage and market as we recruit businesses and companies to this area. One of the most important things to us in
conversation in the right way so they don’t feel like they are being steamrolled, because that is not the idea.” “The world is now looking at clusters of productivity,” Koen says. “We need to be able to understand what one unit of economic growth in Dayton means for the entire regional area of Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati, and Dayton. That is how economies are now evaluated.” Cincinnati-Dayton collaboration works only if the leaders get along, Kershner says. “Jill and I have become very good friends. So that matters in this conversation. If we didn’t have a strong partnership, our business communities wouldn’t have a strong partnership.”
We want to move our region beyond hunger. Will you join us?
The Exit Interview: David Taylor AS HE RETIRES, PROCTER & GAMBLE’S CEO REFLECTS ON A LEGACY OF IMPACTING THE CINCINNATI COMMUNITY AS MUCH AS HE IMPROVED P&G’S GLOBAL REACH AND SUCCESS. BY DAVID HOLTHAUS
n conversation, David Taylor is genteel, courteous, and almost courtly, speaking with a bit of a North Carolina twang. Underneath that humble manner stirs a determination to succeed, a drive to push for more, for better. In six years as Procter & Gamble’s chief executive, the results delivered under his watch speak for themselves: steadily rising sales, profits, and stock value. Taylor is retiring in November at age 63 after a 40-year career working his way to the top of one of the world’s leading bluechip corporations. He’ll hand over to his successor a company that during his tenure re-established itself as a reliable growth machine. When Taylor took the wheel in November 2015, P&G had just come off a year in which sales had dropped 5 percent and profits had fallen 21 percent; its share price had sagged more than 10 percent as well. Today, P&G just delivered a fiscal 2021 in which sales rose 7 percent and profits 10
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percent. Those numbers are closely watched by P&G observers, including its 10,000 employees in Greater Cincinnati and 100,000 worldwide, its tens of thousands of retirees, its many business partners and customers, and Wall Street’s investors. Perhaps unnoticed by Wall Street but recognized in P&G’s hometown is Taylor’s—and the company’s—simultaneous drive to better the community. In 2020, as P&G and every business scrambled to respond to the global economic slowdown induced by the viral pandemic, Taylor had agreed to chair the annual giving campaign of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. As unemployment in the region and around the country soared, so did the need for the services United Way agencies provide: housing, job training, financial stability. But with offices shut down and employees laid off or working from home, conducting the traditional workplace campaign wasn’t going to produce the results the region’s leading charity needed in this singular year. To complicate matters even further, the leadership at United Way was just beginning to stabilize after the very public and controversial resignation of its first Black chief executive. The campaign chair is a revolving role usually reserved for a CEO who leads the annual drive, builds a team of volunteer business leaders, and sets the direction for raising millions of dollars in a compressed period of time. Taylor wasn’t in line to assume the chair, but, anticipating another difficult year, United Way leaders turned to the region’s top corporate citizen. “It wasn’t ‘my year,’ ” Taylor says. “But there was a need, and the answer was yes.”
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Unprecedented times called for an unprecedented response. Taylor and United Way decided to jump start the campaign by setting a goal of raising $10 million over the summer, more than double what’s usually raised before the campaign’s traditional fall launch. They brought in $11 million. Taylor called it “a really good start,” and in a Zoom meeting with business and community leaders encouraged them to push for more to reach the overall goal of $50 million or more. “Goals are floors,” he said. “The ceiling is, frankly, boundless.”
OUNDLESSNESS” IS a principle that Taylor’s leadership team at P&G is undoubtedly familiar with. Early in his tenure, in 2016, P&G invited Wall Street analysts to Cincinnati for a day’s worth of presentations from business leaders who outlined the company’s turnaround plans. After a day discussing top-line and bottom-line growth, organic sales, and market share, Taylor told the group, “Our standards are high. We are not satisfied with a little better than last year; we want to be the best.” For the United Way campaign, Taylor built a larger than normal campaign cabinet of volunteer executives—about 80 leaders of diverse backgrounds—who were charged with pressing the case at their companies and in their networks. “If it’s important, people step up,” he says. “It was my role to step up, and so did a number of other people.” At his company, already the traditional leader among United Way contributors, he pushed for more. Donations from P&G and its employees increased 15 percent during 2020, says Moira Weir, United Way’s local CEO. “P&G is always generous, but
AGENT OF CHANGE
CEO Moira Weir says Cincinnati’s United Way organization “pivoted and changed our messaging” during the pandemic thanks to David Taylor.
they really leaned in that year under his leadership.” The company, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, engaged and paid for the Cincinnati creative agency Curiosity to create a United Way campaign ad. “We needed to talk about the value proposition of the United Way in a way that resonated with people,” Weir says. “They really helped us pivot and change the messaging.” In one of the campaign’s toughest years, United Way met its goal, and with Taylor’s guidance the agency emerged with a template for future campaigns using the summer sprint and new public messaging. “They gave us a wonderful blueprint for how we go forward,” Weir says. Less high profile has been Taylor’s involvement in hunger relief, a cause he became aware of through his mother, who volunteered at a small food pantry at church in their North Carolina hometown. He’s served on the board of the Freestore Foodbank for six years and on the board of Feeding America, the national umbrella organization of food banks. He’s currently chair of the Freestore’s Growing Beyond Hunger capital campaign to raise $30 million to expand its capacity and its services. Taylor and P&G kicked off the campaign with a $5 million donation, but Kurt Reiber, Freestore’s CEO, echoes United Way’s Weir in saying that Taylor’s impact resonated beyond the immediate effort. Taylor was generous with his time, Reiber says. And meticulous about it. When he agreed to chair the capital campaign, Taylor perused two years of his calendar to find the available time to meet with prospective donors, lead cabinet meetings, and be the public face of the campaign. “He said, ‘I have six days that are open over the next two years. You can have all six,’ ” Reiber says. FALL 2021 REALM 35
When first approached 10 years or so ago about serving on the Freestore board, Taylor’s only question was whether the dates of board meetings were planned three years in advance. “He wanted to make sure we were planning that far ahead,” Reiber says. “That was something we never thought about, but to this day we have our board meetings on a rolling three-year schedule. He’s not only opened a lot of doors for us but allowed us to crystallize what we want to be for the next 50 years.” Taylor shared with Reiber and Freestore leadership his guideposts for managing for the future. “He challenged us,” Reiber says. “He said, ‘Kurt, there are things you have to believe in that you own and lead, and there are things you support, and there are things you just don’t do.’ We’ve really taken that to heart as a team.” It’s a mantra that Taylor adapted from his “day job” leading a $76 billion Fortune 50 company that does business in 180 countries. Things that you own? P&G’s top 10 markets—including the U.S., Western Europe, Japan, and China—account for 80 percent of the company’s sales and 90 percent of its after-tax profits. P&G’s turnaround would depend on owning those markets and squeezing more growth out of them. “We focused on winning in what is today called our focus markets,” says Taylor. “We made sure we properly resourced those markets with people and investment.” Things that you support? In 2018, Taylor initiated a major restructuring of the far-flung P&G organization, creating six Sector Business Unit CEOs, titles never employed before at the company. Each one bears responsibility for results at a major business unit, such as health care or baby care, and for staffing and investing to the levels they required. These mini-P&Gs (most of them with 36 REALM FALL 2021
DESIGNING THE FUTURE
Freestore Foodbank’s Kurt Reiber says David Taylor helped him “crystallize what we want to be for the next 50 years.”
sales exceeding $10 billion a year) would be sustained by corporate back office teams in legal, human resources, communications, and so on. “We reorganized the company around one primary axis,” Taylor says. “The other parts of the organization would be in support of that.” Things you just don’t do? In 2015, P&G let go of dozens of its beauty care brands, including well-known names such as Cover Girl and Clairol, in a $12.5 billion deal with Coty Inc. The sale was consummated just weeks before Taylor was announced as CEO, and as group president of its global beauty, grooming, and health care business he was closely involved in the decision making. Taylor and his team also re-organized 100 or so smaller markets in places such as South America, Africa, and parts of Asia and called them enterprise markets, with their own profit-and-loss responsibility. “They had the agility do what they needed to do,” he says. These markets were led by one person, Jon Moeller, who replaces Taylor as CEO in November.
HESE DECISIONS DEfined Taylor’s P&G tenure and were instrumental in his handling of the first major crisis of his leadership. In 2017, Wall Street hedge fund owner and big P&G investor Nelson Peltz went public with criticism of the company’s performance, saying it was stifled by a “suffocating bureaucracy.” He called for a radical transformation, and in Cincinnati it was feared that might include breaking up the giant into its disparate businesses and moving some of them out of town. He wanted a seat on the P&G board of directors, and his demand was put before shareholders. While Taylor and the company
fought Peltz’s board quest, the shareholder election was so close that they eventually acquiesced and invited the financier to join the team in 2018. But not before establishing a few boundaries. In an open letter to shareholders, Taylor wrote that Peltz and the board had discussed a possible board appointment and had reached a meeting of the minds on some big-picture items. “For example, we agree that we are NOT predisposed to taking on excessive leverage, or substantially reducing R&D spending, or advocating for a break-up of the Company, or moving the Company out of Cincinnati,” Taylor wrote. With those options off the table, Peltz was appointed to the board. In August, Peltz announced he would step down, and the investor who had earlier decried P&G’s “weak corporate governance” now praised the company’s “focused strategies, disciplined execution, accountability-driven organization structure and extremely strong management team.” The other crisis of Taylor’s term was one shared by business leaders everywhere: COVID-19. “The pandemic caused everybody to question everything,” he says. P&G’s big-picture strategy was working, but the pandemic demanded immediate action. “We announced short-term priorities that must be adhered to,” Taylor says. “They were very clear, and they were communicated consistently by every leader in the company.” Keep employees and workplaces safe; prioritize the manufacture and shipping of health care, cleaning, and hygiene products; and “help the communities in which we live and work in any way we can.” “ That enabled us to run our plants, our distribution centers, and our R&D centers and to make, pack,
H E A D S H O T C O U R T E SY KU R T R E I B E R
and ship our products,” says Taylor. In the midst of global economic disruption, P&G sales in the April-June 2020 quarter rose 4 percent from the pre-pandemic year before. The company bought mask-making machines to make them for employees and to donate millions of the face coverings. It converted some of its perfume-making equipment at its Lima, Ohio plant to making hand
sanitizer and converted some of its razor-packaging machines to make face shields. Taylor says he learned the importance of a company being a good citizen from his earliest roles working in P&G manufacturing plants. Armed with a degree in electrical engineering from Duke University, he went to work as a production manager at a plant in his home state of North
Carolina, transferred to a plant in Cheboygan, Michigan, then to Albany, Georgia, and finally was promoted to plant manager at one of the company’s biggest U.S. operations—the plant in Mehoopany, Pa., that churns out Pampers, Charmin, and Bounty products. After 12 years in manufacturing, Taylor made a leap to the brand management side of the business. He
WORKING HIS WAY TO THE TOP David Taylor says he learned the importance of being a good corporate citizen from his earliest roles working in P&G manufacturing plants. P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E SY P R O C T E R & G A M B L E
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TAKEAWAYS LEGACY OF SUCCESS David Taylor retires in November after a 40-year career working his way to the top of P&G and turning around the company’s fortunes during his six years as CEO. HOMETOWN HERO Despite a busy day job, Taylor led successful fund-raising campaigns during the pandemic for United Way of Greater CIncinnati and Freestore Foodbank and helped numerous other local nonproﬁts. EMBRACING CHANGE Taylor says he changed course several times during his P&G career, with great results. “You have to be uncomfortable sometimes to maximize your learning and to make contributions you didn’t think you’d be able to make.”
traded a big office in a plant where he oversaw the work of 1,200 people for a cubicle on the fourth floor of downtown Cincinnati’s twin towers. “It was a big change,” he says. “I started over, essentially, like a new hire. But it was exactly the right thing to do. It gave me the opportunity to learn the business from the ground up.” The engineer now had to learn about marketing, consumer research, and brand building. It was a career move that launched him on the path to the corner office. “You have to be uncomfortable sometimes to maximize your learning and to make contributions you didn’t think you’d be able to make,” he says. Taylor became a brand manager for Pampers, one of the company’s biggest-selling brands, and then was assigned overseas to manage hair care brands in the massive, complex market of China. From there, he was assigned to Western Europe and finally, in 2003, back to the headquarters to take on global roles, ultimately leading brands that accounted for nearly half of P&G’s worldwide sales. As a group president, just a notch below the CEO, Taylor was one of four high-ranking officers in line to succeed A.G. Lafley as chief executive. His appointment was announced in July 2015. “There’s no single role that fully prepares you for this job, because the scope changes so much,” he says. “In every job I’ve had in the company, there was a boss I could go to and the buck stopped somewhere else. You’d have accountability for a business, but somebody else always had final accountability.” In addition to final accountability for 10 different operating segments
of the company, Taylor was also the face of the enterprise in Cincinnati and beyond. “All of a sudden you’re involved in other areas in addition to your 10 businesses,” he says. As he did with the business units, he succeeded.
’ V E A LWAY S B E E N blown away by David Taylor ’s commitment to do whatever he could to help grow this region,” says Kimm Lauterbach, CEO of REDI Cincinnati, the area’s economic development organization. “He’s always thinking about the hometown and how the company can do more and do better.”
REDI’s Kimm Lauterbach says David Taylor is “always thinking about how P&G can do more and do better” in its hometown.
“THERE’S NO SINGLE ROLE THAT FULLY PREPARES YOU FOR THE CEO JOB, BECAUSE THE SCOPE CHANGES SO MUCH,” TAYLOR SAYS. “IN MY OTHER JOBS IN THE COMPANY, THE BUCK STOPPED SOMEWHERE ELSE [ABOVE ME].”
Barbara Turner, CEO of Ohio National Financial Services, worked with Taylor on the 2020 United Way campaign and is currently its Board Chair. “He is a courageous leader, an inclusive leader, an approachable leader, a giving leader,” she says. “He cares very much about the community and
H E A D S H O T C O U R T E SY R E D I
its people.” His resolve was apparent during the pandemic-disrupted 2020 giving campaign. “David wasn’t one to say, ‘Given this environment, we can’t…’ ” says Turner. “He took the approach of, ‘Given this environment, we must... ’ ” P&G leaders and Wall Street investors have heard those words from Taylor (“We must do better”) many times. But with an approachable style that encourages people to buy in. “He is very thoughtful,” Weir says. “You can talk to him just like he’s your neighbor. He makes you feel at ease immediately.” “He’s a very good listener,” says the Freestore’s Reiber. “He wants to hear all the points of view before offering his advice and counsel.” “I’ve always found him to be exceptionally thoughtful when he speaks,” Lauterbach says. “He’s not one who’s going to be anything but direct, but also gracious and generous. You don’t feel like you’re talking to one of the most powerful CEOs in the world.” Taylor will be succeeded by Moeller, a 33-year P&G veteran who arrives at the office from a little different route than his predecessors. Much of his career has been in finance rather than brand management, starting as a cost analyst and eventually being promoted to treasurer and to chief financial officer. But he’s worked in many divisions, including beauty care, home care, and health care and in the important China market. Moeller was appointed vice chairman in 2017 and added the role of chief operating officer in 2019, as the board looked ahead to Taylor’s retirement. “It became clear that Jon was the person for the role,” Taylor says. “He’s been a partner with me and with the
P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E SY P R O C T E R & G A M B L E
leadership team over the last six years. He strongly supports the current strategy and was involved in its development.” In a July conference call with Wall Street analysts, Moeller said, “We will always be responsive to consumers and customers whose needs will continue to evolve over time. I don’t see that leading to any major change in the strategies … but we will continue to be very attentive to and responsive to consumer and customer needs.” Taylor plans to spend more time with family, staying fit and playing golf. He and his wife, Marsha, have
three grown children who live outside of Cincinnati, so there will be travels to visit them. As is P&G’s practice, Taylor will continue to serve as the board chair until Moeller assumes that role. He also sits on the board of Delta Air Lines and says he’ll likely accept a board appointment at another company soon. He’ll continue to serve on the Freestore board and on Duke University’s business college board, and he’s co-chairing the committee bidding to make Cincinnati a host city for the 2026 World Cup. Even in retirement, doing more and doing better.
STEADY AS HE GOES
Jon Moeller, a 33-year P&G veteran, takes over as CEO with David Taylor’s retirement.
FALL 2021 REALM 39
A Blessing in Disguise INDIAN AND INDIANAMERICAN LEADERS ACROSS THE REGION EMBRACE THEIR OPPORTUNITIES TO BE ROLE MODELS AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE. BY LEYLA SHOKOOHE
ccording to a recent New York Times analysis of 2020 census data, Asians are the fastest-growing population of the nation’s four largest racial and ethnic groups. (The U.S. Census Bureau deﬁnes “Asian” as someone with origins in any of “the original peoples” of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent.) That’s true on the local level, too; of Cincinnati’s foreign-born population, the largest group is from India, with more than 15,000 area residents hailing from the region, according to census estimates for 2015-2019. With that growth comes more prominence and visibility in the region. Shailesh Jejurikar, for example, became chief operating ofﬁcer of Procter & Gamble on October 1. Indian Hill resident Raja Rajamannar is the chief marketing and communications ofﬁcer of Mastercard’s healthcare business. Mahendra Vora, founder of Vora Ventures, was named the 2020-21 AsiaOne Global Indian of the Year in the Technology Leadership category. Aftab Pureval is running for mayor of Cincin40 REALM FALL 2021
P H O T O G R A P H OBY T O CG HR RA PI SH VBY O NT HK TOKL TL KE
nati and, if he wins, would become the city’s ﬁrst Asian-American mayor. Even with these landmark achievements, Indian Americans still aren’t ubiquitous in the region’s C-Suites. Of Cincinnati’s seven Fortune 500 companies, just one (P&G) has someone of Indian origin on its executive team. But the following local leaders make their mark on the Cincinnati region in different ways, and they’re changing their communities—and that relative anonymity—for the better.
BIMAL PATEL, ROLLING HILLS HOSPITALITY GROUP
IMAL PATEL IS IN THE family business. He’s the son of Indian immigrants and was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and raised in Williamstown, Kentucky, where he and his brother grew up in the 50-room hotel his parents operated. A graduate of Transylvania University, Patel today owns Rolling Hills Hospitality, which operates several area hotels and restaurants. “Like many immigrants, I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and so I started Rolling Hills Hospitality in 2005 with one hotel management contract, and we just bought our 15th hotel in Louisville a couple weeks ago,” says Patel, who reﬁned his taste for hospitality working for Winegardner & Hammons Hotel Group after college. Patel’s upbringing was steeped in the rhetoric familiar to immigrants and children of immigrants: Education is the primary focus, and extracurriculars are secondary. The Indian community in Williamstown wasn’t robust, and his parents would travel to nearby Cincinnati and Lexington for more immersion in Indian culture. But maintaining connections to an-
other world is difﬁcult, especially for second-generation individuals. “It’s a very academic-oriented upbringing, without much assimilation into Western culture,” says Patel. “The inﬂuence of Western culture is hard to challenge, and over time I’ve become very individualistic and hopefully very American. I identify myself as an American, not as an Indian American. I’m as American as apple pie.” The U.S. Indian immigrant population doubled between 1980 and 1990, from 200,000 to more than 400,000, according to the Migration Policy Institute. And from 1980 to 2019, the population increased 13fold, representing more than 2 million individuals today in the country. Yet Indians have tended to largely remain under the mainstream radar. “It’s hard for us to shine a light on ourselves,” says Patel. “As a people, I don’t think it’s something we’re accustomed to doing. We’re still transient in nature, but we have an Indian American who’s running to be the mayor of the city. If an Indian American is elected mayor of the city of Cincinnati, which is historically a German/ Catholic town, I think that shows some pretty big inroads.” Pureval is of Tibetan-Indian heritage and already has a high profile locally as Hamilton County Clerk of Courts and through his 2020 campaign for Ohio’s 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives against incumbent Steve Chabot. On the national scale, Vice President Kamala Harris, whose mother was Indian, is the country’s ﬁrst woman VP. Patel serves on the boards of both the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Northern Kentucky CVB, and he’d like to see that representation become the norm, not the case study. “Folks like me who are
H E A D S H O T C O U R T E SY ST KC OTTKT B E S E L E R / N O R T H E R N K E N T U C K Y U N I V E R S I T Y
second generation and third generation hope that there will be more of an impact in politics and in Fortune 500 companies and in society in general, instead of just being a true immigrant population,” he says. “I would imagine, naturally, we would become a formidable part of the American population.”
PRESIDENT ASHISH VAIDYA, NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
W AN ACTIVE LISTENER
NKU President Ashish Vaidya says his respect for others’ opinions was “embedded in how I was brought up.”
HAT ’S IN A NAME? The question has been pondered by great minds, but according to Ashish Vaidya, president of Northern Kentucky University, the answer is straightforward in Indian culture. “Ashish means blessing,” he says. “The inside joke would be a blessing in disguise. Many names have a particular signiﬁcance. What does it mean, and why is it there? It’s an important part of our culture.” Vaidya was born in India, where his father was employed by the Indian government and the family traveled around the country during his childhood. He credits his parents with his intuitive and broad-minded approach in life. “I think the idea of growing up in different parts of India allowed me to better embrace multiculturalism and difference, and learn to deal with it,” he says. “Every person matters, and every person makes a difference. You have to have an active listening approach to think about what people are saying or wanting. You have to be able to deal with multicultural different opinions. In some ways, it was embedded in how I was brought up.” Vaidya moved to the U.S. to pursue his Ph.D. degree, graduating from the University of California–Davis. His ﬁrst administrative role, as director of the MBA program at Cal State Los Angeles, FALL 2021 REALM 41
set him on his path of higher education leadership. An economist by training, he wasn’t sure why he was being tapped for the role. “The dean said he didn’t want me to direct the program because of my subject matter expertise,” says Vaidya. “‘It’s because I actually can work well with people outside of my discipline. He needed someone who had the interpersonal and communication skills to bring faculty together from all these different departments and make the program happen.” Vaidya redesigned the MBA program’s curriculum and got a taste of
“I FEEL LIKE I HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY,” SAYS SHARMILI REDDY. “I SEE THAT A LOT IN INDIAN FAMILIES.”
moved to NKU in 2018 as the school’s sixth president. “Indians in particular—and it probably applies to many groups—have multiple identities that aren’t mutually exclusive,” he says. “I’m both proud and mindful of my multiple identities. A big part of my identity is an educator and a parent. For the longest time it was being a son. All of that is rolled up into one, and I don’t think of them as mutually exclusive, but you do have to understand and embrace those elements.” Late last fall, Vaidya found himself on a listserv with other university presidents and chancellors of Indian descent. Out of more than 4,000 public universities around the country, less than 20 have such a leader. Two are in the Cincinnati region: Vaidya and Neville Pinto at UC. “It still isn’t that easy to get to that next step in some ways, no matter what your accomplishments might be,” says Vaidya.
SHARMILI REDDY, KENTON COUNTY what constituent-oriented design could do for students. He served in other faculty and leadership roles in the Cal State system before moving to St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. “This was the perfect ﬁt,” he says. “Given my skills and competencies, being able to help build a university from scratch, working across divisions to do that and to start serving students was an opportunity of a lifetime. I really found it the most rewarding part of my career.” When the president of St. Cloud died suddenly in a car crash, Vaidya became its interim president. He 42 REALM FALL 2021
N H E R RO L E AS EXecutive director of Kenton County planning and development services, Sharmili Reddy facilitates a number of services for the county’s 20 jurisdictions and their residents. Community development wasn’t her ﬁrst career choice; she was well on her way down the path of architecture as an undergraduate student in India when an urban planning course piqued her interest. “It was a little bit more about the community than it was about any single structure,” she says. “And that kind of connected with me.” The connection was initially de-
ferred, as Reddy joined an architecture ﬁrm after graduating, with no plans to pursue a master’s degree or leave India. Then a group of friends started talking about coming to the U.S. to study urban planning. “It was one of those things where I thought OK, I really enjoyed this urban planning class, maybe I should give it a shot.” Reddy applied to several universities, but a scholarship from the University of Cincinnati—coupled with the school’s large international and Indian community—sealed the deal for her, and she came to the U.S. in 2002. “The level of support through the Indian Student Association, they were so organized with airport pickup,” she says. “I mean, this is my ﬁrst time traveling to the U.S. and so, not knowing, where do I go from the airport? I don’t know the culture, I don’t know anybody here. And so it was really nice that that network was here.” Reddy worked a few different stints in planning after graduating from UC, leaving the region, and then came back to serve as planning manager of Kenton County from 2005 to 2015. She worked as the city administrator for Ft. Mitchell, then returned to Kenton County in her executive role in 2020. “My parents always encouraged me to be involved in the community in some way, and for me that was through our local Lions Club association,” says Reddy. “My parents were always being encouraging. They never really held me back on anything I wanted to do, and that’s not very common in India at the time I was growing up.” Reddy serves on boards for the Gateway Community and Technical College Foundation and the Horizon Fund Community Accelerator.
A member of Leadership Cincinnati Class 39, she’s been honored with several awards, including YWCA’s Rising Star award, and was recognized as a Forty Under 40 winner by the Business Courier in 2015. “I do believe that—this might be a cliché—we need to leave the world better than we found it, and so for me it’s anything I can do to help a little bit, especially certain causes that are close to me,” says Reddy. “I feel like I have a responsibility to give back to the community, too. I see that a lot in Indian families. We come from different walks of life, even in India, but when we get here, we’re driven and obviously really motivated. We’re all here because we want a better life for ourselves and our families.”
LAKSHMI SAMMARCO, HAMILTON COUNTY CORONER
A K S H M I SA M M A RC O, M.D. has a lot of ﬁrsts under her belt. She is the ﬁrst female coroner and ﬁrst elected Asian American in Hamilton County and the ﬁrst radiologist elected as coroner in the state of Ohio. Born in India, she immigrated to the U.S. at age 5 to rejoin her parents, who’d moved over a few years earlier. Her father is also a doctor, and she followed in his footsteps, graduating from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. But her foray into public service happened by accident, as she puts it. “The previous coroner [Dr. Anant Bhati] was a good friend of the family’s, and he was Indian and really wanted Indians to be active in the political world,” she says. “And we really weren’t.” Bhati died suddenly in 2012, and Sammarco was appointed to ﬁll the
PH HE AO DT OS GH RO AT PCHO UBYR TCEHSYR I ST KV TOKN H O L L E
role by the Hamilton County Democratic Party’s Central Committee. “It was kind of fate interfering,” she says. “One of the reasons I took the position was I wanted my kids to see me stepping out of the box and doing something different. It’s out of my comfort zone, but sometimes you have to keep your mind open to the possibilities or you never know what
way your life will go.” Sammarco launched her own election campaign to keep the coroner position in that year’s election, which she won. She was re-elected in 2016 and 2020. She worked to secure a new building for the Coroner’s overcrowded and understocked office and crime lab. After some messy bureaucratic back-and-forths
EMBRACING THE NEW
Lakshmi Sammarco says her decision to become Hamilton County Coroner resulting from “wanting my kids to see me step out of the box and do something different.”
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TAKEAWAYS VISIBLE AND PROMINENT The largest single group among Cincinnati’s foreign-born population is from India, with more than 15,000 area residents hailing from that country. A MILESTONE Bimal Patel says Aftab Pureval’s possible election as Cincinnati mayor would “show some pretty big inroads” for Indian Americans in this region. Pureval is of Indian and Tibetan descent. JUST DO THE RIGHT THING Damodar Padhi works for an Indiabased company in Milford and loves Cincinnati’s growing multicultural bent. “There’s strength in thinking, ‘Why bother which country you are from, which race you are from? We are all humans, let’s just do the right thing.’ ”
and several false starts, a Blue Ash location was ﬁnally agreed upon, and the new $55-million facility opened in Spring 2021. She credits her persistence to her “immigrant attitude” of doing whatever it takes. “The work ethic both my parents have to this day is inspiring and exhausting,” says Sammarco. “Like most immigrants, they’re deﬁned by their work and their career and what they’ve achieved. Being the coroner has allowed me to have a voice in a lot of different things, and I’m grateful for that and for the fact that people have enough conﬁdence in me and respect for me to ask for that input. It’s been a very interesting learning curve, but I’ve embraced it. It was important for me to be able to show my kids.”
DAMODAR PADHI, TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES
S VICE PRESIDENT and global delivery ofﬁcer for Tata Consultancy Services, a publicly traded global IT and consulting services company, Damodar Padhi’s leadership style can best be summed up as ﬂexible. “I don’t force my style on others,” he says. “I tend to accommodate other styles. Say I have a team of 10 to work with. I prefer to work to the individual style of these individuals. I grow as a person, and all 10 of them feel comfortable to work with me because they don’t have to change much.” Born and educated in India, Padhi became an engineer by trade and started working for TCS in 1994. He ﬁrst came to Cincinnati in 1996 to provide on-site service for then-customer, General Electric, and he led the companies’ joint venture until GE purchased it in 2002. He moved to the U.S. in 2007
before rejoining TCS in India in 2013, leading the company’s talent development and learning functions. “It was very much away from my core strength and core experience of engineering, operations, and such,” says Padhi. “It was a human relations role, but I did that job with my technical bent of mind and introduced a lot of digital learning and remote learning, which became the gold standard during this pandemic.” In December 2019, Padhi came back to the U.S. to handle Tata’s global delivery center in Cincinnati. “I never chased anything called success,” he says. “Just give my best to the job that I had in my hand, and that’s how I’m here.” TCS’s umbrella organization, the Tata Group, was founded in 1868 by Jamsetji Tata, a Zoroastrian Parsi Indian whose parents ﬂed religious persecution in Iran. Subsequent generations of Tatas led the company, which eventually spawned several subsidiaries, including TCS. Each subsidiary company operates independently, and the current group chairman is Natarajan Chandrasekaran. “Now you see the person leading the group is of Indian origin,” says Padhi, who lives in Mason. “He was the CEO and now he’s the group chairman, and he isn’t even from that family. There’s strength in thinking, ‘Why bother which country you are from, which race you are from? We are all humans, let’s just do the right thing.’ ” Doing the right thing, for Padhi, means taking care of his community. “As a company, we don’t treat the surrounding Cincinnati region as a stakeholder,” he says. “The community is the purpose of our existence. I’m pretty deeply rooted in this thought. It keeps us very connected to do the right thing.”
ES ITI ATI N TU NN OR INCI P OP E C IT NG IN TH GION EA L RE CR R AL FO
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Cincinnati City Council Q&A DEMOCRATIC, REPUBLICAN, AND CHARTER CANDIDATES SHARE THEIR GOALS IF ELECTED AND RECOMMEND WAYS TO BOOST POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY. E D I T E D B Y J O H N F O X
oters in the city of Cincinnati will usher in a new era in local government on November 2, with a big boost from term limits. Either David Mann or Aftab Pureval will become Cincinnati’s new mayor, and at least four new members will join the nine-person City Council. Of the ﬁve current Councilmembers who are candidates, only Greg Landsman won the previous election two years ago. Steve Goodin, Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Liz Keating, and Betsy Sundermann were appointed to open positions since 2019 and are running as incumbents for the ﬁrst time. There are several familiar faces among the challengers. Mann is a longtime City Councilmember and twice served as mayor before it became a directly-elected position; Pureval is Hamilton County Clerk of Courts. Kevin Flynn and Jim Tarbell previously served on Council. Victoria Parks served out the late Todd Portune’s term as Hamilton County Commissioner after his retirement in 2019. The Government Affairs staff of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber sent questionnaires to all Council candidates and interviewed them, and two questions and answers are featured here in Realm. Due to space constraints, we’re publishing answers only from candidates endorsed by Cincinnati’s three major political parties. (Candidates chosen by the Chamber as “Ready to Lead” are highlighted, and the full questionnaires can be viewed at cincinnati businessvotes.com.)
46 REALM FALL 2021
JEFF CRAMERDING ENDORSED: DEMOCRATS
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? My goal is to work with a Smale-type commission to structurally balance the budget, which will allow us to properly fund our city’s needs and become a world-class city. This conversation is all the more
important in the wake of COVID-19, as the pandemic has had and will continue to have adverse effects on the city’s budget.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? There should be a focus on zoning changes to en-
courage larger and denser development. The city’s overall economic development incentives should include the speciﬁc goal of population growth, ideally with a funded program for inﬁll housing and development, possibly in partnership with the Landbank and
neighborhood community development corporations. The 21st Century workforce is looking to live in exciting, vibrant cities with energized parks and recreation opportunities, arts, entertainment, multi-modal connectivity, and mass transit.
KEVIN FLYNN ENDORSED: CHARTER COMMITTEE
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? First, restore integrity to City Council by being transparent in our dealings with citizens and with all who would do business with the city. Second, bring our public safety forces up to their authorized
strength. If our police are understaffed, they won’t have time for training or proactive policing because they’re simply responding to calls for service. Third, the city’s basic infrastructure needs must be prioritized. Our capital budget needs to be spent on capital projects,
not as a way to hide operating shortfalls.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? We must have a safe city, with our police as leaders in community-oriented policing. Companies that are headquartered or have a large presence in our
city need to be partners with the city. City leaders need to do a better job of valuing our existing businesses and talking with business leaders on a regular basis, not just when we need something from them or they need something from us.
JACKIE FRONDORF ENDORSED: CHARTER COMMITTEE
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? One goal is to improve the paid parental leave policy for all city employees when a child is born in their family, for both mothers and fathers. When parents are able to spend time with their newly born or adopted child, it can have long-lasting positive effects. Currently there is a 70 percent paid plan for only
six weeks, and I’d like to extend this to 12 weeks. I want to create an ofﬁce of Neighborhood Development that would be an extension of the ofﬁce of Community and Economic Development, to provide a hyper focus on neighborhood business districts. I want to make sure that issues like trash and litter are taken care of in a timely and consistent manner. Also, I hope to be able to help residents of
Millvale, Villages of Roll Hill, and English Woods start Neighborhood Councils.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? Our neighborhoods need attention, from cleaning up litter and mowing grass to big things like community-supported development. We need to focus on growing our neighborhoods by creating incentives for development and creating more
multi-family housing. Property tax abatement policies could be increased in underdeveloped neighborhoods to encourage both business and residential growth. I want Cincinnati to be a great place to raise a family, and neighborhoods are typically where parents want to move. The city needs to actively market our neighborhoods.
ENDORSED: CHARTER COMMITTEE AND REPUBLICANS
ENDORSED: CHARTER COMMITTEE
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? All neighborhoods should have an effective voice at City Hall via a highly functioning community council. City government needs to equitably administer the resources/activities for which it’s responsible. The public and the business community must have a strong faith in the professionalism and integrity of their elected leaders. And I believe the city budget should be spent effectively, efﬁciently, and equitably with due respect for the taxpayer.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? The recent Census shows that the city is growing for the ﬁrst
time in decades, which reﬂects new attitudes about city living. The availability of high-quality housing for people of all income levels is vital to keep this going. City Council needs to ensure that the many developers engaged in high-end and affordable developments in Cincinnati are dealt with professionally, speedily, ethically, and with consistent application of all city, state, and federal regulations. Equitable and effective application of city services is key to neighborhoods attracting people to our region. We can’t have a small number of attractive neighborhoods and a large majority where residents are less well-served.
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? I would like to see enhanced workforce development. We have failed as a community to bring a lot of our younger citizens into the workforce in a meaningful way. And I would like to see continued momentum with large-scale public-private partnerships on new housing at all levels.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? First and foremost, we need robust economic development in every facet of our city, from jobs to housing, to continually bring more opportunity here. We’re seeing an inﬂux of Millennials and GenY-ers who love our walkable and diverse neighbor-
hoods and who are also driving up housing prices and rents. If we’re to continue growing our population, we need to increase density in all 52 neighborhoods, which means new market-rate construction, new subsidized housing, and new efforts to rehabilitate and restore the thousands of vacant houses blighting many of our neighborhoods. The city also can play a huge role in attracting and retaining talent by continuing to set a good example in terms of our diversity and inclusion policies. Young workers pay close attention to the actions and tone set by local governments in this area.
FALL 2021 REALM 47
REGGIE HARRIS ENDORSED: DEMOCRATS
GALEN GORDON ENDORSED: CHARTER COMMITTEE
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? No answer provided.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? We need more housing density in order to improve our tax base and keep our small businesses ﬂourishing. I will provide an incentive for homeowners to stay within our city limits 10 years or longer and an option for landlords to stabilize rents for 3-5 years and receive a tax credit that makes them “whole.” The city needs to be more supportive of organizations that handle these development duties on a daily basis. I believe the city’s role is to send a clear message that success can happen in Cincinnati and we’re open for opportunity with ethical and character-driven leaders. The city has to get back to its own Green Cincinnati Plan and move forward faster with those recommendations.
48 REALM FALL 2021
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? I realize the constraints of being a ﬁrst-time candidate and serving just a two-year term, but that’s by no means dampened my bold vision for the city. My top priority would be reforming housing zoning laws that led to community displacement and consolidation of poverty, which leaves neighborhoods vulnerable to further displacement as Cincinnati continues to develop its urban core. Other goals are to make community engagement a part of the process at City Hall, not just an afterthought. A critical part of regaining trust in local government comes from showing the community their voices matter all the time, not just during election season. I also support a thriving arts ecosystem; an inclusive arts community reﬂects the diversity of the region it serves.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? Building more housing of all types, investing in business startups, and assisting with small business expansion are three key components in supporting population growth. Any uniﬁed housing plan must include equitable pathways to homeownership. Strategic investment in startups and small business expansion will ensure that the growth occurring in Cincinnati is sustainable. The more people living in the city or living in the region and working in the city, the larger the tax base we have to run effective city services. I view the city’s ability to address this as two-fold: (1) highlight the assets that Cincinnati already has and (2) invest in our own.
MARK JEFFREYS ENDORSED: DEMOCRATS
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? I want to lead on a few issues that will create a “forward looking city,” including a Smalelike commission that makes recommendations on addressing the city’s long-term structural budget challenges; zoning reform to fuel new housing stock (density, accessory units, height, etc.); a rent-to-own housing initiative to encourage home ownership among lower income residents; building 100-plus miles of protected bike lanes to complement the CROWN trail; being a leader in green technology by pushing to convert the city’s vehicle ﬂeet to EV and installing hundreds of EV charging stations; and being a catalyst for economic growth by attracting investment and fueling our startup culture.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? The best way to fuel that growth is to be a city where people want to stay, return to (boomerang), or relocate to. Being that city requires it to be safe ﬁrst and foremost. Without public safety we’ll see ﬂight just like what happened in cities in the 1970s. I believe the city should look holistically at ways to attract boomerang Cincinnati natives and remote workers. In the post-pandemic world, our needs and values are shifting. To grow our population, how can we attract people who either grew up here or went to school here back to have their families here versus in New York City, San Francisco, etc.?
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? My top priorities
are jobs, housing, and public safety. I want to create an environment that’s known for building bridges between communities and government and between government and the private sector— an environment where people may sometimes disagree but where we work together to solve our problems.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? First, we must work
with business and higher education institutions to recruit and retain young talent in the region. Second, we need to invest in public transit to increase areas where people can live but still easily access their job regardless of location. The city needs to work very closely and build strong relationships with higher education institutions and business to ﬁnd out why we aren’t retaining talent and then create solutions to solve the problem.
LIZ KEATING ENDORSED: CHARTER COMMITTEE AND REPUBLICANS
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? I
JAN-MICHELE LEMON KEARNEY ENDORSED: DEMOCRATS
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? Increase funding in the city’s affordable housing trust fund to $50 million-$100 million, which will allow real progress. For example, the city could offer developers low-interest loans to make mixed-income housing a viable option. Increase home ownership from the current 38 percent rate so that more families can build generational wealth. Increase the establishment and success (in terms of revenue and
job growth) of small businesses, especially MBEs and WBEs. Increase job training opportunities and apprenticeship program in the trades, especially for youth. Establish policies and funding that effectively address illegal dumping and trash in blighted areas of our neighborhoods. Improve community engagement within neighborhoods and with the city. Support improved city and regional transportation to make employment
opportunities more accessible.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? We have to continue to attract businesses and development while being mindful not to displace residents in our neighborhoods. Becoming a more walkable/bikeable city attracts younger individuals and families. We also need to increase opportunities for twoto four-family housing to increase density where neighborhoods
support increased density. Multi-family housing is more affordable for young families and fulﬁlls a need for multi-generational families. The city must create a welcoming environment for new businesses, new ideas, and new citizens by promoting a genuinely inclusive environment and creating spaces for diverse ideas and listening to new voices. We can only grow when we accept and embrace inclusion and diversity.
want to work toward a city where every child has a roof over their head, food on the table, a safe neighborhood to live, and equal opportunities for success. I want to leverage my business acumen and private sector experience to create sustainable jobs for Cincinnati families. Economic growth and opportunity are key to our city’s success coming out of the global pandemic. As we see economic growth and expand our tax base, I want to ensure those tax dollars are spent in an efﬁcient manner. And I want to clean up corruption at City Hall and champion a culture of good government.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? First and foremost, we need to take care of the basic services to make the city an attractive place to live. We need to be an inclusive city with equitable opportunities for all. A silver lining from this pandemic is that Cincinnati is in the spotlight as a place for people to raise families, for companies to open its doors, and for our future generations to put down roots and thrive.
FALL 2021 REALM 49
PHILLIP O’NEAL ENDORSED: DEMOCRATS
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? Aside from working
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? Let’s study what’s
to resolve our affordable housing and crime issues, I want to establish a program between Cincinnati Public Schools and local labor unions to provide opportunities for kids who want to pursue a trade career. Our unions need more workers and diversity in their workforce, and we have CPS students who might not be best suited for college but want to have a fulﬁlling career.
currently attracting population growth to Cincinnati; we’d most likely ﬁnd it to be a combination of job opportunities, quality of education, affordable housing, respectable cost of living, public safety, and amenities such as arts and other cultural and social opportunities. The changing diversity in population is a given fact for the future, as well as changes in the workplace environment.
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE?
My priorities are core services, housing stability, and childcare for all.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? We grow our population by better serving the needs of Cincinnatians, which are best met by providing core services, housing stability, and childcare for all. There are programs the city should work on with its partners. That said, the best thing the city can do is run an incredibly effective and reliable local government.
50 REALM FALL 2021
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? I will measure success in the number of lives improved in our city. I want to see eviction rates reduced and improved experience overall for renters. Is Black homeownership increasing? Are we closing the racial wealth and health gaps? Have we provided opportunities for generational change in our community? Are the numbers of individuals living in poverty or on the street decreasing? Have we
increased public trust in City Hall and made City Hall accessible to everyone?
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? Growing the city and growing the tax base is a core goal for the city. We must ensure that Cincinnati is an enticing place to visit, work in, raise families in, and enjoy. To do this, we must cultivate a robust and diverse economy. We must make it easier to start a business, especially for Black
and Brown folks. We must prioritize transit and housing infrastructure that facilitates a working population and interconnected region and invest in our neighborhoods. We have to invest in youth leadership programs to keep our graduating seniors in our local workforce, and we must keep the interest of those who are graduating from our high schools and universities. To do this, we must create a robust affordable housing
program that allows our young professionals to thrive and gives them the ability to spend their disposable income in our local economy. We must increase workforce development initiatives and build greater connectivity for young people to reach apprenticeship opportunities.
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VICTORIA PARKS ENDORSED: DEMOCRATS
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? I hope to continue to be a champion of racial justice at City Hall and see substantial police reform during my term. When I was at the county, I created the ABLE Program (Active Bystander in Law
Enforcement), which required ofﬁcers to get involved when they witnessed other members of the police department participating in violence or malfeasance, and we taught them how to properly do so.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULA-
TION GROWTH IN THE CITY? Growth will continue to follow opportunity, just as it always has. We need to make sure Cincinnati is an attractive place for employers that also has an attractive quality of life for talent. This will come through collaboration between
private business, economic development nonproﬁts, City Hall, and other local governments. I see the attraction of new talent and businesses as one of the key ways private businesses and city government must work together. and city government must work together.
BETSY SUNDERMANN ENDORSED: REPUBLICANS
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? I want to leave behind a city that my children, and all of our children, will want to live in forever. I want them to be safe, have access to the jobs they want, enjoy a low cost of living, raise their own
children here, enjoy local businesses and entertainment, and much more.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? At the most basic level, we must ensure citizens are safe in their neighborhoods and can afford to
live here. The best way to support population growth in Cincinnati is to build more housing at every income level and bring in higher paying jobs. Council must make Cincinnati as business friendly as possible by limiting regulations and offering incentives
JIM TARBELL ENDORSED: CHARTER COMMITTEE 52 REALM FALL 2021
for businesses to put down roots here. Also, we must limit the tax burden on residents so they want to both work and live here. Council must support policies and legislation that helps businesses relocate here while not overly regulating.
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? To restore integrity and the quality of leadership to City Council.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION
JOHN WILLIAMS ENDORSED: CHARTER COMMITTEE
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE IN OFFICE? Achieving a workable solution to affordable housing, housing sustainability, and increased homeownership. Improving race relations within the city, whether it be relations between the police and the Black and Brown communities or getting the city off the list that places us as one of the most segregated in the country. I also want to address our city’s food deserts and closing the health gap.
HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT POPULATION GROWTH IN THE CITY? The city has to be viewed as a place where elected ofﬁcials are acting in residents’ best interests. This can be accomplished by demonstrating that the Council is accountable and transparent. Council has to work closely with the city administration to ensure that the various departments feeding growth have the right people in place to help accomplish tasks associated with attracting growth: high-paying jobs, better transit options, affordable and generally more housing, inclusion, safe neighborhoods, and regional cooperation.
GROWTH IN THE CITY? In 1960, the population of Cincinnati was 600,000; today it’s slightly above 300,000. My goal is to attract 100,000 new residents in the next 10 years. Creation and support
of the arts and culture are two of my strong suits— they have played and continue to play a major role in attracting and retaining talent. Once the talent is here, providing a safe and
affordable city with amenities like public transportation and neighborhoods with a sense of place are what will keep them here. I support programs that do just that.
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BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY Hard Rock ofﬁcially announces its arrival in Cincinnati this fall by unveiling the full makeover of downtown’s casino and playing up its music pedigree. –JOHN FOX
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DEVYN GLISTA
54 REALM FALL 2021
FALL 2021 REALM 55
MUSIC TO OUR EARS
Hard Rock acquired Cincinnati’s downtown casino from Jack Entertainment in late 2019 and has put its rock & roll stamp on the property, from ﬂashy gaming rooms (right) to its signature Hard Rock Cafe (below right).
DRIVEN TO SUCCEED
Hard Rock’s company-wide collection of music memorabilia is valued in the billions of dollars. Cincinnati casino guests can check out an ethereal silver fringed dress (opposite page) Lady Gaga wore to the Frank Sinatra 100th Birthday Party All-Star Grammy Concert in 2015 and a Porsche 933 Turbo (opposite page) owned by the late Eddie Van Halen.
WHERE THERE’S SMOKE...
A new Smoking Patio (top) offers live table games, bar-top video poker, and more than 100 slot machines in an indoor/outdoor space featuring an open wall on the left.
56 REALM FALL 2021
ROCKING THE LOOK
The on-site Rock Shop (center left) is open seven days a week with Hard Rock branded fashion wear, classic rock T-shirts, and a wide range of music and gambling-themed accessories.
COME FOR THE GAMES...
Hard Rock has endeavored to give the downtown destination a variety of experiences for visitors, from its restaurants and bars to its memorabilia and from a new live music venue to a new outdoor lounge (below).
H E A D S H O T C O U R T E SY T K T K
PULLING THE STRINGS
Hard Rock’s legendary neon guitar sign welcomes gamers and fun-seekers (top) to an updated downtown experience with more than 1,600 slot machines, including 250 brand new ones (left); nearly 100 live table games such as blackjack, baccarat, and craps; and a live-action poker room with tournaments.
Memorabilia surprises guests at almost every turn on the property, including a Bootsy Collins suit in the live music venue (above) and famous outﬁts at the Hard Rock Cafe (right) and kiosks throughout the casino (opposite page).
58 REALM FALL 2021
P H O T O G R A P H ( E X T E R I O R ) BY T R I C I A S U I T, G A M E D AY
CENTER OF ATTENTION
The casino’s Rock Bar (left) offers a sleek getaway in the center of the gaming ﬂoor. Other diversions include Brick’d Pizza and Noodle 8 in addition to Hard Rock Cafe, with two restaurants scheduled to open later this fall: Council Oak Steaks & Seafood and YOUYU, a Hong Kong-style cafe.
Ohio’s music history gets some love at Hard Rock, starting with a new mural in the parking garage (top) from Cincinnati artist Jenny Roesel Ustick. She’s become one of the region’s most prominent muralists, completing more than 10 projects with ArtWorks. This work depicts the Isley Brothers, Bootsy Collins, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders (from Akron), and Rosemary Clooney.
NOV. 9–12 M
S T. ADA M
ASK ME ABOUT
BOBBY MALY CEO THE MODEL GROUP ASK ME ABOUT Converting downtown’s Mercantile Center to apartments and allowing The Mercantile Library to add a second ﬂoor.
ADAM SYMSON PRESIDENT AND CEO E.W. SCRIPPS COMPANY
WHAT WAS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF RESURRECTING THE SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE AFTER ITS 2020 HIATUS? Cancelling the program last year was a heartbreaking but necessary decision. We knew that with the appropriate time and expertise to prepare we could bring it back safely this year. Children across the globe had
already experienced too much upheaval during 2020, so our Bee team worked tirelessly to relaunch it to offer a sense of stability and familiarity for schools, students, and families.
TELL US ABOUT THIS YEAR’S WINNER, ZAILA AVANT-GARDE. She resonates pure joy and has demonstrated tre-
62 REALM FALL 2021
ASK ME ABOUT The return of the live Scripps National Spelling Bee.
mendous grace under pressure in handling the attention after winning. I also love that her focus on competitive spelling isn’t even her top priority—she is so well rounded, including her passion and talent for basketball.
YOUR OTHER NATIONAL COMPETITION, THE SCRIPPS HOWARD AWARDS, ELE-
VATES THE FIELD OF JOURNALISM BY OFFERING $160,000 IN PRIZE MONEY IN 14 CATEGORIES. HOW DO THOSE BENEFIT AVERAGE AMERICANS? There are amazingly dedicated and talented journalists all over the country working hard to tell the stories of the people in their communities. Every year, the Scripps Howard Awards
allow us to honor the best of the best of American journalism in a way that furthers the public’s understanding of the role a free press plays in our society. –ELIZABETH MILLER WOOD
IN WHAT WAYS ARE YOU HOPING YOUR LEADERSHIP WILL LAUNCH A NEW ERA FOR THE TEAM? I joined the Bengals after working in management consulting and private equity, two distinct worlds rooted in data and driven by results. This background underlies our strategic initiatives and goals for the next few years.
HOW ARE THE BENGALS ENGAGING FANS DIFFERENTLY THIS SEASON? It starts with our new team introductions and Ruler of the Jungle pregame ceremony to create an energetic environment right before kickoff. We also added ﬁreworks and revamped the videoboard content. We want fans to channel the pride we see online into screams and cheers that make Paul Brown Stadium an incredible atmosphere.
P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E SY E .W. S C R I P P S
WHAT’S THE SCOPE OF THE NEW APARTMENTS PLANNED FOR THE MERCANTILE CENTER? We’re currently planning about 110 apartments on ﬂoors 2 to 10. This number could change depending on what feedback about demand and apartment size we get from Mercantile Library members themselves.
HOW WILL THESE APARTMENTS OFFER A UNIQUE DOWNTOWN
WHAT’S THE HEART BEHIND THE NEW RING OF HONOR LAUNCHING THIS SEASON? The Ring of Honor is a powerful and impactful way to engage with fans and Bengals legends, part of an exciting new chapter that celebrates the past and represents the start of new traditions. One of the most important considerations was to build it in a thoughtful and sustainable way so that it maintains excitement and engagement for years to come. An inaugural class of four (including Blackburn’s great-grandfather Paul Brown) maintains exclusivity and starts debate on who should be inducted in future years. –E.M.W.
LIVING EXPERIENCE? With The Mercantile Library essentially doubling in size, we will provide a membership to the Library with each lease. A half block from Fountain Square, the existing space is unlike anything else in Cincinnati, and the expanded library will provide a terriﬁc one-ofa-kind space to read, work, and meet.
WHAT PROMPTED THE MODEL GROUP TO OFFER THE MERCANTILE LIBRARY A SECOND FLOOR OF SPACE TO EXPAND? President Taft’s father, an attorney, negotiated a tough 10,000year lease in the building, so we knew the library wasn’t going anywhere. So our ﬁrst meeting was to approach them about how we could work together to ﬁnd a win-win. Then, as we were exploring how
to make the building stand out from other apartment destinations in the central business district, we decided to make the library the development’s focus. It’s been in the building since 1840, so we hope this sets them up for success for decades to come. –E.M.W.
ELIZABETH BLACKBURN DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY AND ENGAGEMENT CINCINNATI BENGALS ASK ME ABOUT How the Bengals are engaging fans in new ways this season.
P H O T O G R A P H S C O U R T E SY ( T O P ) B O B BY M A LY / M O D E L G R O U P / ( B O T T O M ) C I N C I N N AT I B E N G A LS
FALL 2021 REALM 63
FROM THE DESK OF
With 950 associates serving clients across the U.S. from its Montgomery HQ, Ohio National’s business relationships were rocked by the pandemic. But CEO Barbara Turner says positives quickly emerged, especially learning how effective remote work and training can be. Associates return to the ofﬁce on November 1, but Turner expects 45 percent will keep some sort of hybrid routine. “Flexible and ﬂuid are my new favorite words,” she says. – J O H N F O X
Barbara Turner’s ofﬁce reﬂects her passion for art and books, including this Rookwood vase. “I get a lot of Rookwood as gifts, which I love,” she says.
64 REALM FALL 2021
”I’ll often buy 10-20 copies of a new business book and hand them out to colleagues,” says Turner, who calls Good to Great her all-time favorite.
Her desk and ofﬁce are a mini art gallery. “I swap out art all the time,” she says. “I get a lot from Everything But the House estate sales.”
Being in the insurance business, Turner knows all about protecting families. Her personal photos include ones with her husband, Daman, and grandchildren.
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Joseph B Beshear uses LiveWell Capital as a marketing name for doing business as representatives of Northwestern Mutual. LiveWell Capital is not a registered investment adviser, broker-dealer, insurance agency or federal savings bank. 07-1002 © 2020 Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries in Milwaukee, WI. Joseph B Beshear provides investment brokerage services as a Registered Representative of 1RUWKZHVWHUQ 0XWXDO ,QYHVWPHQW 6HUYLFHV //& 10,6 , a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA and SIPC. Joseph B Beshear is a District Agent(s) of NM. Joseph B Beshear provides investment advisory services as an Advisor of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company®, (NMWMC) Milwaukee, WI, a subsidiary of NM and a federal savings bank. There may be instances when this agent represents companies in addition to NM or its subsidiaries.