Ratliff & Taylor Finds New President for Leadership Akron

January 10, 2019 – After a four-month search, Independence, OH-based executive search firm Ratliff & Taylor has placed Barry Dunaway as the new president of Leadership Akron. The search was led by senior consultant Patti Shumay and senior vice president and practice leader Linda J. Gray.

The non-profit’s previous leader, Mark Scheffler, departed last year to become executive director of the Timken Foundation of Canton in Canton, OH. Since then, Leadership Akron has been led by interim president Wendy Bolas, a retired senior vice president and business banking manager for FirstMerit Bank (now Huntington Bank).

Board chairwoman Bernett L. Williams, Akron Children Hospital’s vice president of external affairs, said Mr. Dunaway will take Leadership Akron “to the next level” and the organization looks forward “to harnessing his vast leadership experience and knowledge.”

Mr. Dunaway is a former J.M. Smucker Co. executive who joined the company in 1987 and held various positions there over nearly 32 years before retiring this past summer. Most recently, Mr. Dunaway served as president of the company’s pet food and pet snacks division.

Founded in 1984, Leadership Akron’s mission is to strengthen and broaden the base of community leadership. The group works to help leaders see beyond their own spheres to the bigger picture of the community, and inspire them to become more effectively involved as community leaders. Its signature program offers community participants intensive study of local issues and interaction with top decision-makers, enabling them to expand their effectiveness as community leaders.

Veteran Recruiters

Ratliff & Taylor serves corporate clients in the areas of executive search, leadership development and career transition. The firm attracts clients from around the world and provides counsel to both middle-market and Fortune 500 organizations.

Ms. Shumay joined Ratliff & Taylor as an executive recruiter in 2010 and brings 17 years of recruitment marketing experience to her work. She is skilled in the development and execution of integrated strategic sourcing plans for companies in the healthcare, retail, manufacturing and insurance industries. Ms. Shumay recruits for mid-upper level management positions in a variety of disciplines such as marketing, sales and finance.

A New Equity Partner

Ms. Gray oversees all aspects of the Ratliff & Taylor retained search practice, working closely with clients as well as leading the team of search consultants. She is directly responsible for the quality of each search and the entire client experience. Her oversight includes workforce planning for the practice, resource allocation, hiring, training, tracking metrics and leveraging best practices. In addition, Ms. Gray conducts her own executive search engagements.

As it continues to grow, Ratliff & Taylor announced last year that its president, Beth Sweeney, was to become an equity partner. In addition to her ongoing role as president, she serves as a member of the company’s board of directors.

An Accomplished Leader

As president, Ms. Sweeney is credited with fully integrating P&L responsibility including strategic and growth initiatives, sales and marketing, new product development, operations and client solutions for all three lines of the firm’s business: executive search, leadership development and career transition. She has more than 20 years of experience in the talent management arena and a successful record as a senior leader, coach and consultant.

“Beth is an insightful leader and true steward of our corporate culture,” said CEO Mike Milby. “Her presence at Ratliff & Taylor enables us to execute our strategy that promotes business continuity by making great choices around our future leaders. We are very proud that Beth has chosen to join us as partner.”

Ms. Sweeney, who became president last year, has been widely recognized for her work in sales and marketing throughout a career of more than 20 years. She previously served as market president at the firm; she was responsible for sales, marketing, new product development and customer experience. Prior to joining Ratliff & Taylor, she was SVP and general manager for Lee Hecht Harrison, a global talent management organization.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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