August 5, 2020
2020 Women of Achievement Award Winners

Women's Network Leadership Institute presented the Women of Achievement Awards on July 28, 2020. The awards recognize extraordinary women with a history of encouraging success among women, breaking down barriers, mentoring, taking risks to overcome obstacles and supporting the full participation in economic and community life. These award winners have gone above and beyond their own personal or career accomplishments. Throughout the next few months, we will be featuring each award winner. Our first highlight below is the Laura Allio Emerging Leader Award 2020 recipient, Gia Bell.
Laura Allio Emerging Leader Award
Gia Bell, Manager of Training and Development
Red Oak Behavioral Health

This award is given to an Emerging Leader that exemplifies the qualities of a trailblazer. Named after the late Laura Allio who lived out her authenticity through her journey with breast cancer, it is presented annually to an emerging leader in her honor. With a love for her community and a passion for advancing women, this winner demonstrates humility and compassion in service to others. The emerging leader displays a heart of servant leadership that is infectious and dynamic and works tirelessly to make an impact and inspire others.
To say Gia Bell is passionate about making her mark is an understatement. Driven by her deep commitment to her faith, family, and community she exemplifies the characteristics of a resolute trailblazer.
As a healthcare worker and parent of a child with Autism, she lives and breathes concern for those impacted by it. While working full-time, she saw the need to undertake a daunting project at her workplace and did not flinch. Spurred by a vision of what an Autism Friendly Hospital could do to accommodate parents and patients, she tackled the project in her unassuming style. Through research and her understanding of the disability she developed resources, organized training, and best practices to be operationalized.

Today Cleveland Clinic Akron General is one of the first Adult Autism Friendly Hospitals in the nation. More than 650 caregivers from security, registration, leadership, and executive teams are now trained in adapting their approach, making accommodations, and utilizing resources and supports to improve the patient experience and medical outcome. The impact of this volunteer initiative is evident in the culture of CCAG’s attentiveness and empathy for the special population.

Autism is just one of the initiatives this single mother has undertaken. Finishing her college education and caring for two young sons (one with Autism) while employed fulltime she has used her experience to encourage other women. She has a unique understanding of those in the Autism Support Group. She identifies with their challenges and often encourages women to return to school. Her example serves as a role model of how doing so can enhance one’s life and ability to provide for their families.

A mentor and friend of Ms. Bell recently commented. “Gia is very deserving of this honor.  She is a critical thinker and a results-oriented leader. She is a woman of integrity and has a heart for uplifting others. She has consistently aligned herself with organizations and causes that help individuals and families thrive. I wish her continued success in her professional and community service endeavors” stated Tracy Carter, System Director, Government Relations for Summa Health.

Gia Bell believes it is not about where you come from, but about where you want to go. She has proven that adversity can be a motivator to overcome obstacles and create a better life and community. She serves on the Single Parent Alliance Board of directors, an organization she helped to formalize and restructure. She mentors young women and herself engages with a mentor.

She serves on a variety of other boards including the Akron Urban League Young Professionals Member and Fund Development Task Force, Torchbearer Class of 2020 Leadership and Development Committee, as an Ohio Gap Closers Board Member, the Women’s Network Leadership Council, is a member of the Autism Society of Greater Akron, Julie Billiart Schools Parent Association and the St. Vincent de Paul Parent Board Association serving as Ways and Means Chair.

Congratulations to Gia Bell! The future is bright for this aspiring and emerging leader. 
Watch the Women of Achievement Awards full event below:
Click here to read about this year's other two Women of Achievement award recipients and stay tuned for more to come!
WNLI Upcoming Events
Empowering Women Luncheon - August
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 | 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Online Virtual Event

Join us on August 26, 2020 for the Empowering Women Luncheon to hear Sima Merick, Executive Director, Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Ms. Sima Merick has been an employee of the Department of Public Safety for nearly 35 years. She began her career as a Dispatcher for the Ohio State Highway Patrol in 1985 and held other non-sworn positions within that division until 1996 where she began her career preparing the emergency management and mitigation techniques still widely utilized today.

Ms. Merick has overseen many positions within emergency management which included Mitigation, Recovery and Preparedness Grants. In this capacity, she had oversight of mitigation and recovery program administration and grants, the federal homeland security grants, and the fiscal section of the agency. Her entire portfolio encompassed management and responsibility for more than half a billion dollars in federal and state funds.
WNLI Curriculum Opportunities
Authentic Leadership: Leading With Strength
Dr. Jennifer Savitski, MD, FACOG, the Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cleveland Clinic Akron General 

Each workshop includes in-depth personal development exercises around each of the four themes of StrengthsFinder. The exercises alone builds confidence and clarity as a platform for discussion and education. Authentic Leadership: Leading with Strength is for high-potential aspiring leaders at any level of the organization. Participants discover their top five intrinsic strengths that can assist in their upward mobility. The workshops introduce them to highly accomplished women from all over Summit County where an up-close and personal look at their leadership journeys is powerful. Facilitated by Dr. Jennifer Savitski, Authentic Leadership: Leading with Strength focuses on one’s skills and abilities while serving as a catalyst for an action plan. Attendees experience exponential growth and development positioning them to blossom in your organization

Opening Retreat: September 15 - 9:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Workshops meet monthly from 9:30 AM - 1:30 PM on the following dates:
Sept 15 | Sept 29 | Oct 13 | Oct 27 | Nov 10 | Nov 24
Managing With Strength
Cindy Briggs, Certified coach, trainer, and mentor 

Managing with Strength is a four-part series designed for current managers who could use a refresher course in leadership of individuals and teams. Or, an excellent course for managers who have recently obtained a promotion and find themselves managing individuals who were formerly peers. Even experienced managers have said it is one of the best courses they have ever taken.

The four workshop topics are sequential and include these four topics:  
1) Leading with your Strengths
2) Know What it Takes to Lead 
3) Coaching for Success 
4) The Value of Feedback

Four workshops. October 6th and ends November 17th Meets virtually every other week for four weeks on Tuesdays from 8:00-noon with group discussion and role playing along with breaks from the screen. 
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