To mark the occasion of Leadership’s 30th year, we salute thirty graduates of our Leadership programs for their contributions to Stark County. The Thirty Faces of Leadership Stark County represent the face of Leadership Stark County, people who are seen in the community as difference makers. They represent ALL of our alumni, Leadership Stark County graduates who are living the mission of commitment to our community!
Make plans to celebrate 30 years of Leadership Stark County with some of the other 1,000+ faces of leadership! Join us May 10, at Varian Orchard.
Karen Brenneman, Managing Partner, Hall Kistler & Company LLP
Signature Program 15th Class
Karen has been volunteering in the Canton community since she started at Hall, Kistler & Company in 1998. And every year, she has become more and more involved. Karen starts out on a committee and before you know it, her passion and enthusiasm for the organization shows so much that she is usually a board member in a short period of time and eventually ends up in a leadership position.
Some of her Leadership roles have included:
- Stark Development Board, Finance Committee
- City of Canton, Steering Committee
- Canton Rotary past president
- Board Chair, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Women’s Impact Inc., treasurer
- American Heart Association, Sponsorship chair and Heart Ball chair
- Executive Board, VisitCanton
- YMCA of Central Stark County, treasurer
Karen considers one of her lasting achievements being a Jr. High School Sunday School teacher. For the past twelve years, she has been a mentor, sounding board, and helped teach them life lessons and growth through faith.
Robert Fonte, Park Director/Projects Manager, Stark County Park District
Signature Program 6th Class
Bob is a member of many civic groups and cares about Stark County and its citizens. As Director of stark Parks since 1995 Bob has increased the revenue by almost 10 times and increased park land from 400 acres to 8200+ acres. The Trail miles have grown from one mile to 106 miles. He was instrumental in the collaboration with the Stark County District Library in the creation of Exploration Gateway. He wants to include all area communities in the park system and is constantly working toward this goal. He has also been successful in passing four levies to pay for the improvements.
Awards and Involvement
- 2013 STATE TRAIL ADVOCACY AWARD FOR OHIO
- 2011 Community Salute Award of Appreciation
- Leadership Stark County Board
- VisitCanton Board
Signature Program 7th Class
Judge Howard’s focus while on the bench was the well-being and success of our children. Preventing delinquency through early intervention was the guiding principle as a judge and as a community volunteer. His belief is that the earlier we provide intervention for a troubled child, the better the chances for that child to build assets and get on the right track with the right peers. “Many of the children we see in Family Court have been subjected to overwhelming trauma in their lives, be it physical, emotional or sexual. We are learning more every day about the way trauma negatively impacts children and adults. We are also learning that a first step in working with troubled children is dealing with their trauma so that they can begin to heal.” Judge Howard is involved in the community, advocating for our children to become well-adjusted and successful through early, positive intervention to prevent kids from ever coming to the courtroom.
- Trustee Emeritus of the Canton Museum of Art
- Stark Education Partnership Board
- Stark County Traumatized Child Task Force
- United Way of Greater Stark County Board
- Justice Consortium of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- North Canton Alumni Association
- Faith United Methodist Church
Michael R. Shreffler, Northwest Local Schools Superintendent
Signature Program, 18th Class
Mike has dedicated his adult life to the education of young people and to mentoring educators and others. Many times I have heard Mike referred to as “everyone’s big brother”. He has served the community in school leadership for nearly 25 years. For the past nine, he has been the superintendent of a school district. In addition, he has led many other groups and initiatives in the area. He always speaks so favorably about Stark County and what a great place it is to live work and play. He works hard to live his life as a role model and upstanding citizen.
His community involvement includes:
- Co-founder & Board President Ohio Music Arts and Cultural Outreach (ORMACO)
- Stark County Italian American Foundation, past president
- Leadership Stark County Education Day steering committee
- Canal Fulton YMCA Board
- Canal Fulton Chamber of Commerce Board
- Perry Township & Perry Police Department levy campaign, treasurer
- “Big Brother” with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Stark & Summit Counties
Candy Wallace, Retired community volunteer
Signature Program, 6th Class
From the time Candy Wallace arrived in Stark County from Cleveland over 35 years ago, she has made a definite impact in our community. A RN by trade, she spent 25 yrs as a volunteer nurse in Stark Co., working with bloodmobiles and teaching Red Cross classes. Continuing in health care service, she led the seven-year effort to build The Aultman Women’s Board Compassionate Care Center.
It’s easy to see why she is a “retired” community volunteer, as her accomplishments for Stark County have earned her well-deserved rest:
- Pro Football HOF Enshrinement Festival General Chairman
- Stark Community Foundation Distribution Committee
- Stark Education Partnership board
- Wilderness Center Civic Leader Award
- About Magazine Mover & Shaker Award
- Jr. League Woman of the Year
- Jr. League Leading Light Award
- Aultman Hospital’s Women’s Board
- Plain Local Foundation
- Quest Cooks
- St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
- Sisters of Charity SPARK Initiative
- Stark County Medical Society Auxiliary
- United Way of Greater Stark County
Marcia K. Zawacky, President Harrison Hills Neighborhood Association, President Friends of Fort Laurens
Signature Program, 4th Class
Marcia was the first women apprentice at the Timken Co. She completed a 8000 hr apprenticeship to become a journeyman Tool and Gauge Inspector. This job required measuring in millionths of an inch. She retired after 40 1/2 years of service. After graduating from the apprenticeship and while working a full time job at Timken, raising three children, she went on to graduate cum laude from Kent State University with double majors in psychology and sociology. She then went on to graduate from Case Western University with a Masters of Social Work Administration.
Marcia has always involved herself in things she thought needed to be done. She has always considered it her “duty” to to help our community and to take leadership when it was required or sought. She dearly loves Canton and the area surrounding it.
Some of her community involvement includes:
- Buckeye Council Scouting, Eagle Rank Review Board
- Past President League of Women Voters
- Canton Preservation Society, treasurer
- Ohio & Erie Canal Coalition Board
- Canton Fair Housing Board, secretaty
- Harrison Hills Neighborhood Association
- Friends of Fort Laurens Board