Winner of Pulse Magazine’s Best Charitable Event 2018

Leadership Lorain County works alongside brilliant leaders every day. These leaders make a meaningful impact in this community. Year after year, Leadership Lorain County honors individuals and an organization who have touched lives, spurred economic growth and/or made a meaningful impact in Lorain County. Our celebration culminates in our annual Difference Makers Gala!



  • Community leader as trustee – acting with integrity, faith and confidence on behalf of the community.
  • Catalyst for creation of positive County leadership; demonstrates dedication to strengthening and transforming community leadership.
  • Commitment to and involvement in Lorain County
  • Exemplifies strong service and civic leadership.
  • Generous in giving of time and support

Recognized as the top award given by Leadership Lorain County, The Eric Nord Award for Excellence in Community Leadership recognizes a distinguished citizen and community leader who has given extraordinary amounts of time and talent to the community and exemplifies service and civic support.

Nominees for this award are individuals who have acted with integrity, faith and confidence on behalf of the community, as well as being a Catalyst for creation of positive County leadership.  The nominees for this award are those who have exemplified outstanding service and civic leadership, and have been significantly generous in giving of time and support.

Former Recipients:
1996 Eric T. Nord
1998 Dr. Roy Church
2000 Beth K. Stocker
2002 Scrib Fauver
2004 Billy Rowland
2005 John S. Corogin
2006 Stanley G. Pijor
2007 Jane Nord
2008 James Kidd
2009 Lee C. Howley
2010 Dr. Denis Radefeld
2011 Betty Blair
2012 J. Daniel Martin
2013 Gail Stumphauzer
2014 Brian Frederick
2015 Cecilia H. Render
2016 William Harper
2017 Edwin Oley
2018 Matthew W. Nakon, Esq.
2019 Thomas D. stuber

In honor of Leadership Lorain County’s 30th Anniversary, a new award for a young professional was established for the 2015 Difference Makers.  Geared towards individuals aged forty-five and younger, this recipient must have demonstrated integrity, honor, service, and transformative leadership in Lorain County.

Former Recipients:
2015 Juliana Chase-Morefield
2016 Farnaz Ansari Berna
2017 Gregory Willey
2018 Catherine Woskobnick
2019 Danielle M. Locke
Kass Crooker
Jack Lavriha
Betsy Manderen
Sister Annamae Murphy
Denis A. Radefeld, M.D.
Judge Joseph Girigiano
Maureen Ross Cromling
Ted Jacobs
Alice Weston
Community Foundtion Of
Lorain County
Paul Balcolm
Michael & Lisa Bramhall
Evelyn France
Dr. Alex & Maria Zolli
Lorain County Metro Parks
John D. Beckett
Benjamin G. & Jane Norton
Dr. Florencio & Lily Yuzon
Lorain County
Community College
Leonard Deluca
William T. Locke
Joan Lowry
Elyria Rotary Club
Joel P. Arredondo
David L. Herzer
Bishop A. James Quinn
Easter Seals Northern Ohio
Kathryn C. Boylan
Terry D. Goode
Gerald E. Skully
Douglas B. Wilber
Big Brothers Big Sisters Of
Lorain County
Larry A. Bettcher
Frank P. Detillio
El Centro
De Servicios Sociales
Donald Knechtges
Marvin Krislov
Neighborhood Alliance
Donald Sheldon, M.D.
Michael & Dina Ferrer
The Lcada Way
Claudia Jones
100 Women Who Care About Lorain County Founding
Members: Susan Bowers,
Marcia Miller, Nancy Sullivan
& Libby Thuning
Polyone Corporation
Rex Engle
Charles & Alyce Horton
Lorain County JVS
Rick Grahovac
Kevin J. Flanigan
Marilyn Zeidner
Chicks Against Hunger
Patricia O’brien
Sheriff Phil Stammitti
Stephanie Wiersma
Blessing House
Anthony Gallo
Jeanine Donaldson
The Ross Group of companies
Barbara Thomas
Victor Leandry
Nordson Corporation Foundation

Thomas D. Stuber

Thomas D. Stuber is the President and CEO of The LCADA Way and an Adjunct Professor of Addiction Counseling at LCCC and Ashland University.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Wright State University and an MBA from Ashland University.  He completed post graduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland and The Johnson Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He holds professional licenses as an LPCC-S, LICDC-CS & SAP.  Tom has been happily married to his wonderful wife, Susan, for 43 years and they have 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

Tom started his career in Addictions in 1980 at The Lakeland Institute and has remained for 38 years always working to do himself out of a job by finally resolving the impact that addiction has on individuals, families, and the community.  Obviously the job is not yet done.  He left and returned to Lorain County to head up The LCADA Way in 1999. Under his leadership, The LCADA Way currently provides treatment services in Lorain, Erie, Medina and soon to be Cuyahoga counties.

At the onset of the Opiate Epidemic, Tom has been focused on developing effective services and models of care to address the unique needs of those addicted and their families.  These services include the first Ambulatory Detox Programs, the use of the Bridge, Medication Assisted Treatment, Opiate specific research based curriculums and through partnerships with Recovery Housing with Day Treatment Programs. Tom is a sought expert in the field of addiction, speaking to community organizations, hospitals, churches, schools/colleges, police departments, etc.

Tom is very passionate about ensuring that treatment services and funding are available to those who suffer with addiction disorders. It is evident with all the work he continues to do at the local, state and federal levels. Tom spearheaded a campaign that lasted fourteen years to get the IMD Rule lifted, which limited residential treatment facilities to only 16 beds. This Rule has been around for 53 years. This was a huge victory for those waiting for residential treatment.

Tom is a Big Brother and is a former Big Brother, Big Sister Board member. He currently serves as President, OARP (Ohio Alliance of Recovery Providers). He sits on the Advisory Boards of Lorain County Recovery Court and Lorain County Veterans Court.

Positions Held: Lakeland Institute: Director of Impatient Services; Laurelwood Hospital: Director of Addictive Disease and Dual Diagnosis Programs; Recovery Resources: Chief Operating Officer; The LCADA Way: President and Chief Executive Officer (current)

Past Board Member of: The Lorain County Children’s and Family First Council, Lorain County Academy Advisory Board, ADAMHS Board of Lake County, Oesterlen Services for Youth, Hitchcock Center for Women, Tom was also Clinical Standards Chair for the Target Cities Project of the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County.  Tom was also one of the original members or the Cleveland Treatment Directors Association, The Cleveland Treatment Directors Association developed the Clinical Protocols now used by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Past Committees:  Managed Care Committee of the Federation of Community Planning, Multiple Committees of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services including; Tele-Health Committee, Adolescent Treatment Advisory Committee, Outcomes Committee and Trainer, Rules and Policy Committee, just to name a few.

Awards Personal and Agency:

  • 2017 Cleveland Clinic Avon Community Service Award
  • 2015 Community Organizer Award – Lorain UMADAOP
  • 2013 Difference Makers Award – Organization
  • Board Chair Award – Main St. Elyria
  • United Way Pillar Award
  • City of Elyria Martin Luther King Jr. Award

Barbara Thomas

Barbara Thomas has over 40 years’ leadership experience in the long-term care profession. She has served as Kendal at Oberlin’s top executive, Executive Director, since its inception in1992 followed by its opening in 1993, and then promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 2003 with the establishment of Kendal Northern Ohio, a nonprofit supporting entity overseen by the Board of Kendal at Oberlin. Under this governing entity Kendal at Home (2003) and Kendal Community Outreach, LLC (2010) were brought into being to expand services into the larger community.

Barbara’s service to the field of aging has extended locally, state-wide and nationally through board leadership including United Way of Greater Lorain County (past-Chair); LeadingAge Ohio (past-Chair);  LeadingAge Washington DC (past-Secretary); LeadingAge Leadership Academy (coach); Peace Church Risk Retention Group (current Board); Peace Church Health Insurance Program (past-Chair); Lorain County Metropolitan Development Corporation (former member); Mercy Hospital Board of Directors (current Board), and various other organizations committed to the needs of senior adults.  Additionally, Barbara has been an active Rotarian for over 25 years.

Barbara earned an Executive MBA from Baldwin Wallace University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University.  Barbara has been a licensed Ohio Nursing Home Administrator since 1981.

Victor L. Leandry, L.S.W., M.S.W

Mr. Leandry received his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 1988 from The Catholic University of Puerto Rico and his Masters degree in Social Work in 1999 from Cleveland State University.  Mr. Leandry started his career as a Community Social Worker in Ponce, Puerto Rico and moved to Lorain, Ohio in 1991.  His professional background has been providing direct clinical services to adults, children, couples, and families.  His job experience includes: Mental Health Therapist, Team Leader of the Bilingual Team at The Nord Center (Mental Health Agency in Lorain County), Minority Services Coordinator at Lincoln Counseling Center and Coordinator of The Lorain School Based Mental Health Team (RALLY). Mr. Leandry is currently the Executive Director of El Centro de Servicios Sociales, Inc. in Lorain, Ohio.  El Centro is a bilingual/bicultural, non-profit, social services agency.  El Centro is currently celebrating 44 years of serving the community, specializing in services for the Hispanic/Latino community.

He has lived in the city of Lorain for 26 years, and is very active in the community. Mr. Leandry is currently a member of the following organizations and boards: Mercy Health Hospital, Lorain County Human Services Planning Committee, Lorain Police Department Advisory Board, Lorain County Mobility & Opportunity for a Vibrant Economy Board, and Ohio Latino Connection. He has also served on other boards in the community such as: NASA CORE Advisory Committee, The Lorain Public Library Board and WVIZ/PBS & 90.3 WCPN Ideastream Community Advisory Board, Leadership Lorain County Board, Boy Scouts of America Board, and French Creek YMCA Advisory Board.

Mr. Leandry is also honored to have served as the Midwest Affiliate Representative for UnidosUS (Formerly known as National Council of La Raza).  UnidosUS is the largest Latino civil rights advocacy organization in the United States and has almost 300 affiliate member organizations in 41 states.  He was the Midwest Affiliate Representative from 2007 to 2014, was one of twelve regional representatives that composed an Affiliate Council and served as the Chair of the Council.  He also served as a Board member for UnidosUS from 2011 to 2014.

In 1988, Mr. Leandry was one of five youths that received recognition from the Governor of Puerto Rico as a youth who had improved the quality of life for his community.  In 2008, Mr. Leandry was recognized by the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs as a Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Leader.

Danielle M. Locke

Danielle M. Locke has spent nearly 20 years in the nonprofit field in various management, fund development, marketing and communication roles.  Many of these organizations she continues to volunteer with and provide consulting services for.

Danielle is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP), having completed her CAP certification in October 2015 and a graduate of Leadership Lorain County, “Best Class of 2015”.  Ms. Locke is a 2005 graduate of Cleveland Bridge Builders and in 2011 she was selected one of NEO “25 under 35 Movers & Shakers” Award by the 20/30 Club of Cleveland and Small Business Magazine.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cleveland State University with degrees in Psychology and Communications. She also holds a Master of Public Administration and a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University.

Her current volunteer and leadership roles include: Dean’s Stakeholder & Alumni Advisory Committee, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University; Board member, Advancement Network (AdNet, a national community foundation association), Co-Chair, AdNet national conference; Development Chair and Board member, Firelands Association for the Visual Arts; panelist, Lorain County Bar Association Fee Arbitration; Administrator, Nonprofit Communicators of Lorain County, Development committee, LakewoodAlive.

Danielle is a proud graduate of North Ridgeville High School.  She currently lives in Lakewood with her husband, Bill, their 2.5 year old son, Ethan, and cat Costner.

Nordson Corporation Foundation

At Nordson, we have a long and proud history of giving back to the communities where we live and work. We strongly believe it is our responsibility as a corporate citizen to share our success with our communities, which is why we donate 5 percent of our U.S. pre-tax profits to support charitable endeavors every year. As we grow, we continue to positively impact more people worldwide through volunteering, donations, scholarships and more. Our employees get involved through six community engagement programs that together create The Nordson Impact.

The Nordson Corporation Foundation represents a key pillar of our Nordson Impact, enabling us to award grants to non-profits in our communities throughout the United States. Since 1989, Nordson Corporation Foundation has awarded more than $60 million in grants to improve the quality of life in our U.S. communities, placing a special focus on causes related to education. Our employees participate directly in our Foundation outreach by making donations during our annual employee giving campaign, or by joining local committees that review grant applications and vote to distribute Foundation funds to deserving local causes. In 2017, Nordson Corporation Foundation gave out 362 grants totaling $6.3 million.

As Nordson continues to grow, we look forward to expanding our positive impact to reach more people and communities each year.

Judson Laipply

Judson Laipply promises to do two things: make you laugh and make you think. And for the last seven years, his passion for both has entertained and educated audiences all over the world. Judson is an award-winning speaker and performer who utilizes a phenomenon labeled “Inspirational Comedy” to blend the realities of life with side-splitting humor.

After graduating from Bluffton University with a BA and from Bowling Green State University with a Master’s degree, Judson Laipply burst onto the professional speaking scene and has quickly become

a breath of fresh air in a sometimes-suffocating world. His presentations are down to earth and highly motivational, creative and appealing, humorous and thought provoking, lively and enriching.

Judson’s artistic and refreshing approach to viewing life and accepting the changes it brings, combined with his energetic demeanor and playful stage presence, never fails to surprise and inspire audiences. Drawing from his vast array of experiences that include working on a cruise ship, at a camp in Colorado, as a certified Aerobics instructor, as a part- time auctioneer, teaching college courses, being a published poet, and writing a weekly column, he can relate to audiences of all ages from all over the country.

“I am so blessed to be able to do what I do. I get to combine my two favorite things in the world. I love to entertain and make people laugh. I also love to help people grow and develop. I thrive on getting people to think about things, shift their perception, and hope that I might just be able to give them something to help make their life better. Combining those two on stage is just about as good as it gets!” – Judson Laipply

Creator of The Evolution of Dance™

In March of 2001, Judson performed for the first time in public a finale that would one-day take the world by storm. After mixing together 12 popular dance songs from the last 50 years Judson debuted “The Evolution of Dance™” and it instantly became a crowd favorite. Five years and 18 songs later, Laipply placed a video of the 30 song six-minute “The Evolution of Dance” on little known site called YouTube. No one could have predicted what followed.

In the next few months the video became a viral sensation and was passed from e-mail to email, posted in countless blogs, discussed on endless talk shows and podcasts, and the entire world watched as the video amassed over 70 million views in under 8 months and helped propel YouTube to the status it has today. To date it has been viewed over 150 million times and is the third most popular video of all time on YouTube.

The popularity of the video has led to appearances on the Today Show, Ellen, Inside Edition, E!, Oprah, and hundreds of other media outlets around the world. He has also been in two music videos – one for Bare Naked Ladies and one for Weezer, performed at halftime of the NBA finals, and continues to bring laughter into the lives of all those who watch it.