2019 ‘Difference Makers’ to be honored tonight



Five honorees have been named for Leadership Lorain County’s 16th Difference Makers Gala.

They will be recognized Friday, Feb. 15 at the Spitzer Conference Center in Elyria.

Those chosen from a pool of more than 20 nominees include:

• Thomas Stuber, president and CEO of The LCADA Way, who will receive the Eric Nord Award for Excellence in Leadership.

• Barbara Thomas, CEO of Kendal at Oberlin, who will receive the Excellence in Leadership Award.

• Victory Leandry, executive director of El Centro de Servicios Sociales, who will received the Excellence in Leadership Award.

• Danielle Locke, nonprofit and philanthropic adviser, who will receive the Emerald Award for Inspirational Leadership.

• The Nordson Corporation Foundation, headquartered in Amherst, which will receive the Excellence in Leadership Award.

The keynote speaker will be Judson Laipply, who hails from Bucyrus, Ohio. He is best known as the creator of the Evolution of Dance viral video, which has been viewed more than 150 million times since its release to YouTube in 2006.

Laipply was propelled to Internet fame and has appeared on “The Today Show,” “Ellen,” and “Oprah.” He’s also been featured in music videos for Bare Naked Ladies and Weezer and has performed at halftime of the NBA finals.

THOMAS STUBER started his career in addictions counseling in 1930 at the Lakeland Institute. He left and returned to Lorain County in 1999 to lead The LCADA Way, which provides treatment services in Lorain, Erie, and Medina counties.

He has also spearheaded the fight against the opioid epidemic, focusing on developing effective services and models of care to address the unique needs of those addicted and their families.

Stuber led a campaign that lasted 14 years to lift the IMD Rule, which limited residential treatment facilities to only 16 beds. The rule had been around for 53 years but was recently overturn in a huge victory for those waiting for residential treatment.

He serves as president of the Ohio Alliance of Recovery Providers and sits on the advisory boards of the Lorain County Recovery Court and Lorain County Veterans Court.

Over the past 38 years, Stuber as also been director of impatient services at the Lakeland Institute, director of addictive disease and dual diagnosis programs at Laurelwood Hospital, and chief operating officer at Recovery Resources.

BARBARA THOMAS has more than 40 years of leadership experience in the long-term care profession and has been a licensed Ohio nursing home administrator since 1981.

She has served as Kendal at Oberlin’s top executive since its inception in1992 and was promoted to CEO in 2003.

Her service to the field of aging has included serving in leadership positions with the United Way of Greater Lorain County, LeadingAge Ohio, LeadingAge Washington DC, LeadingAge Leadership Academy, Peace Church risk retention group, Peace Church health insurance program, Lorain County Metropolitan Development Corporation, Mercy Hospital board of directors, and various other organizations. Thomas has also been an active Rotarian for more than 25 years.

VICTOR LEANDRY earned a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1988 from the Catholic University of Puerto Rico and a master’s in 1999 from Cleveland State University. He started his career as a community social worker in Puerto Rico and moved to Lorain in 1991.

His passion is providing direct clinical services to adults, children, couples, and families.

Leandry has worked as a mental health therapist, leader of the bilingual team at the Nord Center, minority services coordinator at Lincoln Counseling Center, and coordinator of the Lorain School Based Mental Health Team.

He now serves as executive director of El Centro de Servicios Sociales, a bilingual and bicultural nonprofit social services agency in Lorain. El Centro is celebrating 44 years of serving the community, specializing in services for the Hispanic/Latino community.

Leandry is 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 such as the NASA CORE advisory committee, the Lorain Public Library board, WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN Ideastream community advisory board, Leadership Lorain County board, Boy Scouts of America board, and French Creek YMCA advisory board.

Leandry has also served as the Midwest affiliate representative for UnidosUS, the largest Latino civil rights advocacy organization in the United States

DANIELLE LOCKE has spent nearly 20 years in the nonprofit field in various management, fund development, marketing, and communication roles.

She is a chartered adviser in philanthropy, completing her CAP certification in October 2015; and a graduate of Leadership Lorain County, “Best Class of 2015.”

Locke is a 2005 graduate of Cleveland Bridge Builders and in 2011 she was selected one of NEO’s 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 degree 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 serving on the dean’s stakeholder and alumni advisory committee, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University; the board of Advancement Network, a national community foundation association; as development chair and board member of the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts; as panelist for the Lorain County Bar Association fee arbitration; administrator of Nonprofit Communicators of Lorain County; and on the development committee at LakewoodAlive.

THE NORDSON CORPORATION FOUNDATION has a long history of giving back to the communities in which its employees live and work.

The company donates five percent of its U.S. pre-tax profits to support charitable endeavors each year. Employees get involved through six community engagement programs that together create the Nordson Impact.

Since 1989, Nordson Corporation Foundation has awarded more than $60 million in grants to improve the quality of life in U.S. communities, placing a special focus on causes related to education.

In 2017, it gave out 362 grants totaling $6.3 million.