March 2014

It is difficult to believe that we are just two months away from graduating the 14th class of the Leadership Institute!  This will swell our number of graduates to 268 representing 57 counties in Ohio.
Our statewide and regional candidates repeatedly tell me they are always meeting our grads wherever they are speaking and they are realizing the important role you are playing in your counties and in the Republican Party.
The relationships that many of you build with those in your class are strong and lasting which indicates that the influence you will have on the political system and public policy decisions will continue to grow too.
Thank you for having had the interest in being part of the Leadership Institute.  You make me so proud every day!

Jo Ann

We were saddened at the loss of one of our own - Kim Edwards.  We were so proud that she graduated from the Institute and put her dreams into action - winning a county commissioner race and serving two terms.  She will be missed.
As campaigns heat up, we encourage you all to find a candidate to support - locally or statewide - and help!  Of course, if you are a candidate yourself, we encourage you to reach out to other Institute members and ask for help.  Do what you can.  This is a critical time in our history and we need all of you to help make a difference in your community and state.
As you can see from this newsletter, we have a lot of talent and a lot to give!


Each newsletter we will hear from a Committee Chair. This newsletter the column is from Kathy Eshelman, Chair of the Communications Committee:

Welcome to Communications Central! The communications committee has great plans this year year for members. 

Bi-Monthly Institute Power Lunch! Ever wish you could just get together for a power lunch with other institute members? Well, now you can! Our committee is planning an informal bi-monthly lunch starting in Central Ohio and Dayton. Lunches will be held the last Thursday of April, June, August, October and December. We are seeking members to organize similar lunches across the state! If interested, e-mail Kathy Eshelman.

Central Ohio Power Lunch: The Central Ohio Power Lunch will be held on April 24th. Please see the Calendar section for more details.

Dayton Area Power Lunch:  Melanie Wilt and Pam Strickler will be organizing the Dayton area lunch. Please contact one of them if would like to help. Watch the Institute Facebook page for more details.

FaceBook: We added more than 60 Institute members to our FaceBook page last month, thanks to the fabulous work of committee member, Kimberly Christopher!  If you have Institute friends who are not in our FaceBook group, please add them to the page and we will get them accepted! It’s a great way to share info, news and events!  Remember it is a closed and secret group, so only Institute members will be accepted.

2014 Class News Releases:  Current class members, please make sure you provided the detailed contact information for submitting press releases for 2 newspapers in your area. We will send the first 2 releases, then each member will receive a copy after graduation. You should also send to other organizations in which you participate, such as school alumni publications, chambers of commerce, and professional organizations. Make your list now!

Directory Updates: Members should update their profiles on the “Members Only” section of the website anytime you have contact or career changes. Many members and board members utilize the directory for boards, commissions and other positions.  Please see the Directory Updates section for instructions.

News To Share:  New career, position, and announcements can be shared with Institute members through the bi-monthly Enews. Please send your news (with links when possible) to Linda Dotson.

Thank you to the great communications committee members for their ideas and effort to improve communications and opportunities for the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute!

Melanie Wilt, Hinda Mitchell, Jan Hills, Barb Lewis, Lori Weaver, Kari Hertel, Pam Mowry

Kim Edwards (Class of 2004)

By Chelsea SharT-G Staff Writer Published: February 26, 2014

HAYESVILLE ­­-- County Commissioner Kim Edwards, 55, died Tuesday morning at home after a battle with cancer.

Besides serving as county commissioner for the past seven-plus years, Edwards served in a variety of offices in her hometown of Hayesville -- including mayor. She also served on the Hillsdale board of education and was active in many other community organizations.

Edwards, who first was elected commissioner in 2006, announced in mid-January that she would not be running for re-election this year. She told the Times-Gazette that she took her health into account when deciding not to run again, but it was not the motivating factor. She said the main reason was a chance to retire with her husband and travel the country to see her children. She attended her last commissioners meeting Feb. 6.

Edwards led the way for women in the county during her time of community service. view entire article

Obituary -

Institute Members Run for Office

The following are Institute members running for election in 2014.  Please let us know if we missed anyone.  Those marked with an asterisk (*) have opposition in the May primary.

Class of 2001

Cheryl Grossman is running for reelection as State Representative in Franklin County’s 23rd House District

Class of 2004
* Diane Carnes is running for State Central Committee in Senate District 17

* Susan Montgomery McDonald is on the ballot for Judge in Muskingum County

Class of 2006
Julie Ehemann is running unopposed for County Commissioner in Shelby County

Class of 2008
Val Hoover is running for Judge in Franklin County

* Jeanette Moll is on the ballot for Muskingum County Auditor

Tracey Winbush is running for State Central Committee in the 33rd Senate District

Class of 2009
Christina Hagan is up for reelection as State Representative in Stark County’s 50th House District

Class of 2010
* Debra Nye is in the race for County Auditor in Muskingum County

Amy Sabath is running for State Central Committee in the Senate’s 18th District

Class of 2011
* Cheryl Buckland is in the race for State Central Committee in the 1st Senate District

* Brittany Williams is running for State Central Committee in Senate District 25

Class of 2012
Kristen Johnson is unopposed as a candidate for Hancock County Juvenile Court Judge

Colleen O’Donnell is a candidate for Judge in Franklin County

Jennifer Springer is on the ballot for Judge in Knox County

Class of 2014
* Maria Kalis is a candidate for Judge in Muskingum County

Jenifer French is on the ballot for Judge in Franklin County

* Stephanie Garrett is a candidate for State Central Committee in the 5th Senate District

Institute Board
* Barb Lewis is running for election for Delaware County Commissioner


Debbie Johnson sponsored Karen Hough, CEO and Founder of ImprovEdge, to speak to the 2014 class on “negotiating skills for women”.  Using her improvisational comedy skills, Ms. Hough kept the class laughing, while learning the skills necessary for successful negotiations – both in professional and personal settings.



April 8 - Meet and Greet, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Willoughby Hills for prospective and existing members; contact for additional information.

April 24 - Informal Regional Networking Lunch, 11:45 am at Latitude 41 restaurant, Renaissance Hotel, 50 N. 3rd Street, Columbus. Lunch checks will be separate for everyone. It's an opportunity to catch up with fellow members. (Actively seeking volunteers to organize events for Institute members in other areas of the state. Contact Kathy Eshelman if interested in organizing in your area.)

April 25 - Institute Class – State Auto, Columbus
May 13-15 - Institute Class – Washington, D.C. trip

Institute Members Assume Office

Angie King (Class of 2003)
Angie King began her term as Mercer County Recorder after unseating a 12-year Democratic incumbent in last year’s November election.
Diane Carnes (Class of 2004)
Diane Carnes was reelected to the Ross County Board of Elections and was also recently reelected as Chairman of the Board of the Board.

Belinda Kenley (Class of 2005)
Belinda Kenley was recently named as “one of the most influential local leaders” by the Dayton Business Journal.  She has been invited to participate as a mentor at the BizWomen Mentoring Monday event on April 7 as part of a national one-day event to promote the concept of businesswomen mentoring other women.

Debborah Wallace (Class of 2006)
In December Debborah Wallace was sworn in as Vice Mayor of Beavercreek by Senator Chris Widener.
Heather Mann (Class of 2008)
Heather Mann has been promoted to the position of Policy Director for House Speaker Bill Batchelder.
Kelley Blankenship (Class of 2009)
Kelley Blankenship was elected as the 2014 President of the Scioto Valley Association of Realtors.
Erica  Wilson (Class of 2009)
Erica Wilson has been promoted to Director of Policy and Legislation for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Jen Thrasher (Class of 2010)
Jen Thrasher is the new Coalitions Director for the Ohio Republican Party.  Jen will coordinate the Coalitions program over the coming months leading up to the election with activities such as trainings, regional events, and special guest visits.  If you would like to more info on the coalitions program or have feedback/ideas for Jen, please contact her via email at thrasher@ohiogop.orgview press release

Debbie Johnson (Class of 2011)
Debbie Johnson was elected Vice President of Council/Vice Mayor fo
r the Upper Arlington Council.
Lyn Bliss (Class of 2012)
Greenville City Mayor Mike Bowers reappointed Lyn Bliss to the Darke County Metropolitan Housing Authority Board for an additional five-year term.
Jessica Forsythe (Class of 2012)
Jessica Forsythe is now with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (previously RSC) as the NEO Business Sourcing Analyst.
Mary Beth Hammond (Class of 2013)
Governor John Kasich named Mary Beth Hammond to the Owens State Community College Board of Trustees.
Pamela Strickler (Class of 2013)
Pamela Strickler was appointed by Governor Kasich to the Clark State Community College Board of Trustees.
Kristin Strobel (Class of 2013)
Kristin Strobel is the new Director of State Government Affairs for the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

in Leadership Positions for  the Ohio Federation of Republican Women (OFRW)

The following Institute members are now serving on the Ohio Federation of Republican Women’s Board of Directors for the 2014-15 term; those marked with an asterisk (*) indicates the members also have a seat on the OFRW Executive Committee for the 2014-2015 term:
Class of 2006
Kathy Wise, Fund Raising Chair

Class of 2007
Sharon Gingerich, Technology/Social Media Co-Chair

Class of 2008
Amy Casner, Voter Issues Co-Chair

Class of 2011
April Cohagen-Gibson, National Chair of Women’s Health Issues and Women’s Health Issues Chair

Jeananne Chadsey, Government Affairs and Advocacy Chair

Michael Evans, Government Affairs and Advocacy Chair/Campaign Co-Chair*

Class of 2012
Lyn Bliss, State President, President* and Technology/Social Media Chair

Linda Burke, National Caring for America Committee, First Vice President*,  District Development Chair and Program Chair

Lori Cope, Homeland Security Chair

Sara Donlon, Public Relations Co-Chair

Elaine Kent, Literacy/MELP Co-Chair

Penny Seipel, Public Relations Chair

Class of 2013
Tammy Puff, Photography Chair/Caring for America Chair/Political Education Co-Chair*

Bridget McAuliffe, National Women’s Health Issues Committee, Women’s Health Issues Co-Chair

Sue Smail, Women in Business Chair

Missy Mae Walters, Southwest Vice President* and Literacy/MELP Chair


Need a new Institute nametag?  Contact Jill Gosnell at Ryder Engraving ( or 740-927-7193).

Cost is $10.00 for name tag and $2.50 for shipping.  Credit card payment is required at the time of order.


We have an official Facebook page! It's private and closed. To join our page, please friend either Jan Hills or Kathy Eshelman and request to be added to The JADOLI Facebook page.

Please do not create additional Facebook pages in the name of the Institute.


If you have an appropriate photo of Institute members at an event, please tag Jo Ann Davidson in Facebook. You can also upload photos directly to the Photo Gallery page of the online directory.

Click here to upload photos
• enter your email address and password
• click the appropriate class page
• click Upload button to select files from your hard drive
• add captions

Please contact Shelbi Hoffman with any questions.

Photos can also be posted on The JADOLI Facebook page. See article above if you would like to be added to the page.


Need to update your contact, career or accomplishments section of our online directory? Want to look up other members? Use this link and your email address and confidential password to access the online directory.

Forgot your password? Enter your email address and click Forgot Password link. You will receive an email with instructions on resetting your password.

Still having trouble? Email Shelbi Hoffman.


Have some news for our next edition? Email Linda Dotson to submit your information.

Do you know a member who does not receive this enewsletter? Please forward that member's email address to Shelbi Hoffman. Please add to your address book to ensure delivery of this enewsletter.

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