2007 Women of the Year

    by -


    Karen Sacksteder
    Owner, CEO
    Sacksteder's Interiors and Design

    Grab your tissues, ladies. This woman has had one heck of a year. And not just in a volunteering-board-serving-business-success kind of way. (She definitely had that, though) We're about to tell you why this woman is deserving of the first annual Cincy Chic Woman of the Year Award.

    Two years ago, Sacksteder lost her husband of 30 years. A few months later, her two sisters, Linda Nixon and Connie Acra, were diagnosed with breast cancer. This prompted Sacksteder to get a mammogram, which detected a cancerous tumor. Although she received numerous chemotherapy treatments and lost her hair, she still maintained her humor, grew even closer to her two boys and her business – Sacksteder's Interiors and Design – thrived more than it has in its 21-year history. She maintained her community presence by attending networking groups and inspired others by listening and encouraging during their own cancer experience. In addition, her company was recently certified as a Women's Business Enterprise for the National and the Southeast Council for minority, women-owned businesses.

    To help her and her sisters through the difficult breast cancer treatments, Sacksteder got involved with the Pink Ribbon Girls, a non-profit organization whose focus is on young breast cancer paitents to educate, support and inspire.

    Sacksteder recently wrote about the humorous side of breast cancer in a forthcoming book, due in November 2008. Part of the proceeds of the book, which will be titled Vivacious Vivian, The Wig That Helped A Girl Through Breast Cancer, will go to the Pink Ribbon Girls.

    "[She] chose to not become just a victim of her circumstances," says her nominator, Kathy Smith. "Karen is both and inspiration and a mentor in her life and in business."


    The Cincy Chic staff congratulates Sacksteder on turning major life stumbling blocks into building blocks, inspiring others personally and professionally and her dedication to local women, her career and family.

    (In alphabetical order)

    Susan Archer
    Community Manager
    Towne Properties

    Archer started as a concierge at The Falls at Landen, and using her dedication, hard work and personality, she soon climbed the ladder to her current high-ranking position. Archer recently won a coveted award from her company, recognizing her determination and southern hospitality. According to her nominator, Carrie Moak, the particular community she manages is heavily populated by female divorcees. "Over the years, Susan has formed bonds with women who were starting over again- on their own, often with children to support," says Moak.

    Stephanie Coffey
    Social Worker
    Hopple Street Medical Center

    "Not only does Stephanie face a different family crisis daily with her profession, but she does so with poise and grace," says her nominator, Carrie Moak. Above and beyond Stephanie's typical job decription, she also heads up a program every year called Adopt-a-Family. She gathers wish lists from the children in the families she works with then finds volunteers to "adopt" the family.

    Lauren Darr
    LOI International and Left Paw Press

    Darr is truly living the American dream. She spent many years climbing the corporate ladder and at the pique of her career, she decided she wanted more. She started her own marketing business, and has since branched out and also started Left Paw Press, which focuses on works by and about children based on observations and needs of her own children, who are now 13 and 5 years old. "She juggles both companies and running a household like a well-rehearsed circus act," says her nominator Bradley Tinkle. She serves on the National Board for American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) and The AWRT Foundation, as well as donating PR support for numerous local organizations.

    Lindsey Eger
    Community Relations Coordinator
    Turfway Park

    It's fitting that she's the community relations coordinator for Turfway because she is involved with many organizations in the community. Just to name a few things: Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Northern Kentucky Leadership Foundation, Covington-Kenton County Jaycees and Leadership Northern Kentucky. She also organizes some major events in the area. Most recent of which was the "First Annual Date Auction for a Cause." That event raised thousands of dollars for eight local charities. Eger also organizes the Charity Night at the Tables, which benefits the same eight local charities.

    Carol Gibbs
    President, CEO
    Accountability & Credibility Together (ACT)
    We've told you about Gibbs before. It's time to revisit her awesomeness. More than 10 years ago, she launched ACT, a non-profit dedicated to help people work themselves out of the welfare system. She also serves on numerous non-profit boards and is actively involved in the DRC, Downtown Council (DCI) and Art WORKS. Gibbs has hired many of ACT's "clients" and gives them the opportunity to do the same.

    Erin Hamilton
    Executive Director, Founder
    Girls on the Run of Cincinnati, Inc. (GOTR)

    Hamilton founded GOTR in early 2005 with personal funds and today it's a nationally-recognized non-profit prevention program that encourages the development of self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running. It has jumped from seven fall program sites in 2006 to 21 sites in 2007 and this is the first year that Hamilton, as executive director, will earn a salary for her position.

    Michelle Harbin
    Executive Director
    Amy's Hope International

    Professionally, she ranks second in worldwide sales for Motorola, a fortune 500 technology company. "Her dedication and hard work has placed her among the most valuable people in her company," says Jason Johnson, one of her many nominators. These world travels took her to places where she witnessed communities of suffering children, namely in Romania. She soon founded Amy's Hope International, a not for profit public charity established to help private orphanages in Eastern Europe. Amy's Hope has now aided countless children and Harbin travels the country to speak to schools and churches about her work with the charity and raise awareness about the issues these countries face. "Michelle didn't think, she acted," says another nominator, Amy Hanavan. "[She] started something so wonderful and is truly inspiring to others."

    Sarah Katsetos
    Executive Assistant
    American Cancer Society

    On paper, Katsetos' accomplishments represent a mature business woman and mother. But when you meet this fresh-faced 24-year-old, you realize what the term "old soul" really means. As a teen, Katsetos lost a close girlfriend to cancer and recognized the importance of volunteers, education and advocacy at a young age. In 2004, her mother and older sister were diagnosed in with breast cancer within a month of each other. She decided to dedicate her career and free time to finding a cure and advocating awareness. She works in American Cancer Society's (ACS) Planned Giving Unit and through walks and races, she has raised more than $8,000 for ACS programs. As if she wasn't enough of a do-gooder, she donated her hair to "Locks of Love" and is also involved with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

    Crystal Kendrick
    The Voice of Your Customer

    Kendrick is the president of an award-winning marketing company, The Voice of Your Customer. As the Arts and Entertainment editor for the Cincinnati Herald, she increases African American awareness and participation in both the fine and performing arts programming. "She routinely invites underprivileged children to view performances and meet artists using her press passes," says her nominator, Jan Michele Lemon Kearney. As if that's not enough to keep her busy, Kendrick also established a mentoring program with undergraduate members of her sorority at Xavier University.

    Kelly Mahan
    Mahan Advertising, Inc.

    Mahan launced Mahan Advertising, Inc. in 1996, and today it's a full-service advertising and marketing firm. And to say she gives back to the community is an understatement, as she volunteers for the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Beech Acres and ACT. She currently serves on the "Council on Child Abuse" board of directors and previously served on the "Impact 100" board for four years, of which she is still an active member. "Kelly is a friend and a mentor; she has an open door policy and has been an inspiration to our interns and employees," says her nominator and employee, Julie Metzelaar. (Who wants to bet Julie gets a raise when she shows this to her boss?)

    Ginny McCabe

    As an accomplished reporter and author of five books, McCabe is successful in her career. But as her nominator, Karen Hawley, says, "Most importantly, Ginny always places greater value on maintaining her integrity and character above any ambition or monetary gain."

    Tracie Metzger
    Pink Ribbon Girls

    This woman deserves a separate aware for just defying science. Metzger had two children, but was then diagnosed with breast cancer, which caused her to go through a double mastectomy and an early menopause. Soon thereafter, Metzger had two more children! Pick up your jaw and read on… After recovering from her treatment, Metzger realized there was no specific group for young women dealing with breast cancer. So, she founded an online community for breast cancer patients and survivors to unite via a national searchable database of survivors, private message boards and electronic newsletters. Through this non-profit organization, young women are offered education and awareness for early detection, support and an outlet to express fears.

    Tisa Powell
    Pure Romance Consultant

    As a leader within her Pure Romance group and in the community as the team leader for several networking groups and non-profit initiatives, Powell is dedicated to helping women gain the confidence and skills to become a success. "Tisa is making her mark within the community. She is to be commended and recognized for her continuous efforts towards encouraging, educating and helping to provide leadership to women," says her nominator Katherine Steele.

    Christine Schoonover
    Senior Vice President
    Huff Realty

    This award certainly won't be lonely in Schoonover's trophy case. She was one of Cincinnati Magazine's top 40 people this year, the Women's Business Cincinnati's Top 10 Women in Real Estate in 2005 and was awarded the Business Courier's award for Top Sales Person in 2002. Schoonover is also impressively involved in the community as she boasts a list of 22 organizations for which she volunteers. It isn't just for show, either. "[She] works personally with young women starting out in the professional world," says her nominator, Casey Gilmore. "Myself included."


    Editors Note:
    More than 200 entries were submitted in response to our call for nominees via CincyChic.com and press wires, from which a diverse group on the Cincy Chic staff selected the above honorees. The Cincy Chic Woman of the Year Award nominees were requested to meet each of the following three criteria:
    • Demonstrate excellence, initiative and accomplishments in their business or profession
    • Demonstrate their dedication to promoting, supporting and uplifting the community
    • Demonstrate their dedication to inspiring other women


    The Cincy Chic staff would like to thank its readers for shedding light on these awe-inspiring individuals. We regret that we were only able to feature 15, as each nominee made us even more proud than before to be a part of this amazing community of powerful women.

    Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
    Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
    (from left to right)
    Susan Grause with Mary Kay, Stephaney Theobald of Impeccable Planning, Maureen Jacob, Mandy Jacob and
    Tisa Powell
    Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics