ASHLAND — The Ashland County Women of Achievement will have its induction ceremony Nov. 3 at Mount Vernon Estates.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for light hors d’oeuvres and dessert bar. Mount Vernon Estates is located at 1041 US Highway 250 North, Ashland.

The public is invited to attend.

The cost is $20 person. Your check serves as your reservation, and may be mailed to: Women of Achievement 890 Williamsburg Court, Ashland, Ohio 44805.

RSVP’s should be received by Oct. 28. The following are this year’s six inductees.

Ginny Telego

The number of lives that Ginny Telego has touched, impacted, and made better in Ashland County is truly remarkable.

Whether it is while she is leading boards in redevelopment strategies; guiding in the growth of local professionals in her role as director of Leadership Ashland; teaching the youth of Ashland County to benefit others, as director of the Ashland County Community Foundation IMPACT Youth Council Director; or in the business she founded and runs, The Collaboration Partners, an equine-based internationally-renowned leadership development and training program (formerly known as Wager’s Way, in honor of her beloved horse Wager); Ginny is constantly leading the growth of people in our community and beyond.

Ginny also lends her talents on the board of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County, and in numerous roles at North Central State College, including as a member of their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and as a Workshop Development Director.

Ginny has spent her career helping people and organizations develop, grow, and learn. She doesn’t do this by just lecturing from the front of a room, either; she is an interactive partner, helping people to have challenging conversations and to face hard truths in themselves. She has taught people to look outside of their worlds and to challenge their current roles, whether it is teaching upcoming leaders about philanthropy and distributing real grant dollars through IMPACT, or by leading current leaders through their board reorganizations.

Developmental leadership is difficult and draining for the facilitator as well as for the participants, and Ginny does this day in and day out, welcoming each new experience and group with the knowledge that through change comes growth.

She has been called “unflappable” during tense conversations in board retreats, and helped “distilled the noise” that can distract organizations from staying on their course.

Even personal tragedy has not kept Ginny down; in 2019 she lost her home, and her beloved pets, to a devastating house fire. Ginny had to navigate bureaucracy and rebuilding, all while continuing to run her own business, which she did with fierceness and resilience.

We find many teachers outside of the classroom, people who help us learn and grow and become better throughout our years. Ashland County is lucky to have such a person in Ginny Telego, who has dedicated so much of her professional career in helping our community, from high schoolers on up, to become better leaders to and help make this community stronger and better.

Brenda Uselton

It is such a pleasure that the caring and giving woman who is Brenda Uselton is getting the recognition that she deserves. Her family, her coworkers at BCU Electric, and her church family at Grace have always known that Brenda has a true servant’s heart, seeing a need and giving her help, knowledge, and skills, with little expected in return.

Now, however, in her role as the Chairwoman of the Ashland County Community Foundation Women’s Fund Steering Committee, leading their nationally-recognized Childcare Initiative, everyone in Ashland County knows the Brenda Uselton her circle knows, loves, and respects.

Brenda’s role with the Childcare Initiative is so telling of her character in so many ways. Many of her nomination supporters have commented on her special ability to really identify, or see, a problem, so that she can craft a unique plan to address it.

Although she personally knows of the struggles of finding childcare, she saw that this is an issue that affects so many families (and not just women), across our county, and she also saw that this struggle does not just affect the families involved, but their employers, as well.

Seeing, or knowing this also helped guide her to her role as co-leader of the Corporate Fundraising Division of the Childcare Initiative, successfully explaining to businesses around the county how a childcare facility would positively impact their industry, and that their financial support of this center would be an investment in their organizations.

Her ability to recognize, or see, the core of an issue and work toward making the resolution of that issue a reality will soon be positively impacting hundreds of families, organizations, and businesses across our county, and is serving as a model for similar initiatives across the country.

Brenda’s role in recognizing, creating, and bringing to reality Mount Vernon Estate Events is another example of her numerous gifts. When she had been told by countless individuals about the need for a mid-sized event space in Ashland County, she did not go and replicate a center that was already in existence, and duplicate services already available.

No, she created a unique space, beautiful and welcoming, to serve our community in its own way. Brenda has been key in creating a business, BCU Electric, whose success and philanthropy are legendary. It is just another example of Brenda Uselton’s ability to see a need, identify its unique characteristics, then apply her knowledge and experience to create a successful solution.

Now we in Ashland are as fortunate as her church, family, and business, to share in the results of Brenda Uselton’s gifts.

Sherry Bouquet

Sherry Bouquet has served our community in many different roles, supporting children and families in all aspects of their lives. From leading the Ashland Pregnancy Care Center, to her 32 years leading the Women’s Ministry at Bethel Baptist Church, Sherry has spent her adult life helping people at some of the most pivotal times in their lives.

The help she provides people began to grow exponentially in 2013, when she learned about, and decided to tackle, the foster parent crisis we were experienced in Ashland County. While the number of children in the foster care system was growing, the number of foster families in Ashland County was minimal, and was in no way able to meet the demands of these children. Foster children were being sent to other counties, far from any place they knew.

Sherry saw this as a critical need in our community and began to work toward addressing it. After numerous fact-finding visits to the Ashland County Job and Family Services offices, Sherry went to the family of churches in Ashland County and asked for their help in developing strategies for addressing the foster care needs in our community.

Out of that discussion came Fostering Family Ministries, an organization which helps recruit and train foster families in our county, then continues to provide them support and resources as they take in and care for children. In the time that Fostering Family Ministries has been in existence, the number of approved foster parents in Ashland County has grown from three, to over 40.

Sherry’s concept of church teams who support their foster families has been recognized by groups who wish to replicate this model in their own Ohio counties, and by Governor DeWine, who tapped Sherry for a role in his commission to address foster and adoptive family needs.

In addition, Sherry’s recognition of the impact trauma has in family stability led her to be trained in Trust-Based Relational Intervention, coaching that she has brought back to Ashland County and has used to teach mental health professionals, counselors, teachers, and foster parent families, as well as to educate our Juvenile Court office and law enforcement members.

Sherry Bouquet has spent her life helping her own family and her church family. Now she is addressing the epidemic of broken families, and has created and implemented an approach to help our foster families be better-equipped to face their challenges and to come out of them successfully.

Lori Gottfried

When looking to a woman who shows an “unfaltering dedication to the families of Ashland County,” you need look no further than to Lori Gottfried. Lori’s incredible dedication begins with her own family. In 2011, while working full-time and caring for her husband and six children, she took on the additional role of primary caregiver to her parents, when her mother was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma Stage 4 Cancer.

That all-in approach is not limited to blood relatives, either. The families she cares for outside of her immediate family are wide and varied, from the Noon Lions family, where she is currently serving a two-year term as their director, to the Ashland Country Retired Teachers Association, where Lori is the treasurer, to the Rowsburg and now Trinity Lutheran families, where she has been an active volunteer.

The number of families she impacts has grown even more since her involved with ACCESS (Ashland Church Community Emergency Shelter Services). Lori has been a pillar of ACCESS since she began volunteering for them in 2016, and is now both a board member and treasurer.

Her call to this organization is strong. Not only did she purchase and donate a small apartment building to be used by ACCCESS for temporary housing, she also donates to ACCESS the rental income from two businesses on that same property.

She commits a minimum of 20 volunteer hours a week to the organization, and has volunteered 1,500 hours to ACCESS this year alone. Gottfried helps with job training and emotional support to the women in the ACCESS program, helping them to find jobs and their own stable housing once they leave. She works hard and gives so much of her time so that these women and families have the tools to become successful once they are on their own.

Lori Gottfried has devoted her life to teaching — first to decades of students in the Lexington School District, as their math and technology teacher, to the women and families in the ACCESS program. She knows that learning, from how to solve problems to how take care of yourself, is essential to a lifetime of success.

This 2021 winner of the Ashland County Community Foundation Women’s Fund Freedom from Selfishness Award has shown how giving to others is the most rewarding gift there is.

Nancy Pauly

If you know Nancy Pauly, then you have heard her say this to you at least one time in your relationship: “How can I help?” If you know Nancy, you know a lot of people have taken her up on this offer, because the list of things she has done in our community is outstanding: a 4-H advisor (and staff at camp, and Clover Foundation, and Dairy Bar volunteer), Balloon Fest Hot Air Balloon Crew, Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, Explore Ashland Advisory Council member and chair-elect, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) volunteer, Fostering Family Ministries Support Group member, ACCESS volunteer, Cub Scout leader, and St. Mary of the Snow Festival Chairman.

Along the way, she has picked up numerous accolades for what she does, like being awarded the Ashland 4-H Meritorious Support Award, Spirit of the Chamber Award, and SBA Distinguished Small Business of the Year award.

This volunteering has all taken place while running two important organizations in our community. Nancy served as Director of the Ashland County Special Olympics for many years, leading our special needs youth to fulfillment through sports. Then in 2013, Nancy opened her business, EVA’s Treats, a frozen yogurt store that has provided so much more than just a delicious place visit.

By now, everyone in our county should have experienced EVA’s, as Nancy’s generosity knows no bounds and she donates yogurt, gift cards, or coupons to almost every event and fundraiser there is.

Nancy cares for her EVA’s family as much as she cares for her own family (which may not be too much of a stretch, as the name “EVA” comes from the first letters of her children’s names; Emily, Vanessa, and Aaron). Nancy has watched children grow up in her store, has assisted students in their projects and business assignments, seen couples have their first dates over her yogurt, and has had not one, but two marriage proposals in her store.

She has cried sad tears with her customers as well, as families have come in after a funeral because EVA’s was that deceased loved one’s favorite place.

Nancy has been a crucial supporter in the lives of so many people in our community. Our Special Olympic athletes, 4-H youth, fellow business people, yogurt lovers, and more have benefitted greatly from Nancy’s willingness and desire to help out; whether at the front of the room instructing students on their 4-H projects, or in the back of the room, helping to clean up at the end of an event.

Nancy has made our community a better place thanks to her generous, caring heart, which she shares with all she meets.

Khushwant Pittenger

Dr. Khushwant Pittenger, or Khush, as she is known to everyone, has been a trailblazer at Ashland University. She was the first female in the College of Business and Economics with a PhD in Business Administration. She was the first female in the Business Administration department, and was the first non–white and second female (after Dr. Lucille Ford) in the College of Business and Economics to earn the rank of full professor.

Khush was also the first female Department Chair of Business Administration (which includes all the business majors, except Economics), and was the lead professor of Business Management for many years. Khush was the first female professor at Ashland University to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, enabling her to teach at the Birla Institute of Technology in India in the spring of 2012.

Khush was the first non-white faculty member to serve as the Faulty Senate Vice President (for two years), Faculty Senate President (for two years), and interim Dean of the College of Business and Economics (also for two years). Khush was a professor whose teaching covered the entire curriculum possible at Ashland University, from freshmen Seminar and Business Life Calling, to MBA seminars.

She was instrumental in the development of the curricula in multiple degree fields, and updated and revised the business core classes whenever necessary. She created and had approved the College of Business Education mandatory internship program, which was among the first such programs in the country.

The College of Business and Economics received its first professional accreditation, for all of its programs on the first attempt, because of the report Khush researched and wrote. Khush was active in initiatives that resulted in over $500,000 in donations to the University, and she created business internships for students in locations around the country, as well as in Ashland.

Khush’s outstanding leadership was recognized outside of the Ashland University, as well; she was track chair, proceedings editor, program chair, vice president, and then president of the Association of Business Simulation and Experiential Learning, an internally- renowned interdisciplinary professional organization.

Dr. Khushwant Pittenger has been a driving force in the growth and prominence of the Ashland University College of Business and Economics, and even more so, in the growth and prominence of that college’s students. The impact she has had on the people who are leaders in economics has been phenomenal.

She has not only designed and implemented ground-changing policies, she has also been an example of diversity leadership that has set the standard for many students to follow.

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