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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Jodi Gross, a long-time advocate for East Toledo, has been named the new executive director of the East Toledo Family Center.
 
Gross replaces Kim Partin, who now works for ProMedica, according to Dave Yenrick, vice president of the center’s board of trustees.
 
“Kim decided to move in a different direction,” said Yenrick. 
 
Gross, who has led the One Voice program at the center as a community builder for over six years, was one of three candidates who was interviewed for the top post, he said.
 
“A search committee decided that Jodi was the best candidate,” he added.
 
“The East Toledo Family Center is one of the most organized and active family centers in northwest Ohio as far as the number of employees, budgets, and number of programs and services it provides,” he said. “Jodi has some big shoes to fill, but she’ll do it because she’s been very active in East Toledo.”
 
Right person
Toni Moore, who is a member of the center’s board of trustees, and who was on the search committee, said Gross is an excellent choice to lead the center.
 
“There were great candidates for this position. I think Jodi shined through with her knowledge of the Family Center and East Toledo,” said Moore. “She has been involved in One Voice for East Toledo for so many years, and has done an exemplary job with that.”
 
Gross, said Moore, “understands the needs of the East Toledo community.”
 
“That’s it in a nutshell. She really cares, and has for many years. She not only lives in East Toledo, but has been a part of One Voice. She is a force to be reckoned with in the way she has handled many of the situations that she has had to deal with over the years. She sees the bigger picture. She has a gift of being able to put the right people together and empower those who question whether they are able to change things. People at the center have tremendous respect for her, they like her. You know exactly where she’s coming from. There’s no hidden agenda with her. I’ve been very impressed with her.”
 
Moore said 10 people applied for the position, and three were interviewed as finalists.
 
“In the end, people understood that Jodi was really the right person for the job,” she said.
 
Improving lives
Gross, who will oversee more than 40 programs at the center, said she was honored to be picked for the job. 
 
“When the center brought me in as a community builder, my job was to bring people together,” said Gross. “My vision is that we continue to partner with as many agencies as we can. We should continue the traditions of the Family Center, improving the lives of people in East Toledo,” said Gross.
 
She has been a community advocate for East Toledo for over 20 years, and knows that getting people involved is the standard for improving neighborhoods.  
 
“My experience is when things need to be accomplished, you have to be that change mechanism, and the Family Center is that. We look at what type of programs will benefit the community, how we can help our families be stronger and be financially sound, and how can we get residents and other stakeholders involved in the community. So my vision is to take it to the next level. We do great things there every single day. The staff that’s been there, longer than I have, continue to work hard every day, and are the champions of East Toledo. I can take credit for the last 6 and a half years as a community builder, but the center has been doing this for over 116 years. I think we can continue to build and make our community a better place.”
 
When she first became a community builder, surveys were conducted in East Toledo to determine residential satisfaction, she recalled.
 
“What we found in those surveys is we needed a platform for people to get involved,” she said. “We had a community meeting in which 150 people came, and all of a sudden One Voice was created to get people engaged in their neighborhoods. That was part of my responsibility, to build more partnerships from that platform, more volunteers. We have more people involved than ever before. To be in the executive director position now allows me to build upon what we created on a bigger scale. I’m just privileged now to lead that effort. We’re all about helping the community. We can only do that if we all work together.”
 
 
 
 

 

 

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