By Meghan Ingram Stetzik and Roberta Gordon
Glenmoor Homeowner’s Association (GHOA) President Ruthanne Wilkof has an endless list of leadership positions to her name. Her volunteerism goes beyond dedication. She has volunteered at the Cultural Center for the Arts, co-chaired the Heart Association Ball, presided over countless events within Glenmoor and the Jackson community, and sits on the Board of the Jackson Local School Foundation.
She was awarded the 2003-2004 Volunteer of the Year Award given by the Paul & Carol David YMCA, member of the Jackson Local Schools Key Communicator, Class of 2007, presented with the Certificate of Appreciation Award from the Jackson Township Trustees for the first annual Arts in Jackson Park event and, most impressive, she was named the 2005 “Outstanding Professional of the Year” by the Chambers of Commerce of Ohio. First award-winner in the area since 1993.
President and CEO of the Jackson-Belden Chamber of Commerce for nine and a half years, the Chamber’s major fundraiser was the Jackson-Belden Food Fest and Fireworks which Ruthanne directed. She is particularly proud of the success of the Jackson-Belden Chamber of Commerce, which grew from 211 members to 800 members during her time as President and CEO.
“My very first day on the job I had a meltdown. I knew nothing about the Chamber and there I sat, starting a new career that I knew nothing about,” she said. “My first phone call that day was my husband saying he wanted to join the Jackson Chamber.” She quickly gained confidence, however. “I loved my position with the chamber, cold-calling on businesses within our community.” She continued, “I’m a people person but when I overheard my husband Ron telling another individual that he was getting tired of attending chamber events in order to spend time with me, I knew it was time to scale back.”
Ruthanne stepped down in 2011 and started working at Huntington Bank Private Banking, so she could better coordinate her schedule with that of her husband, Ron. Still putting her people skills to use at the GHOA, Ruthanne and her fellow Board members work hard to make Glenmoor the best neighborhood it can be. “As President of the Glenmoor Homeowners’ Association, and speaking on behalf of the Board, we strive to maintain the key reason why individuals and families desire to reside in Glenmoor,” she explained. “Glenmoor is a gated community and folks like the sense of security.” Her husband is a huge golfer and now that she has more time, she hopes to get out there and enjoy the game with him.
A Canton native, Ruthanne graduated from GlenOak high school. During her senior year at GlenOak, she attended classes until noon and then worked at a local bank in the afternoon. Several days a week she would work a second job at the mall. On her off days and evenings, Ruthanne could be found working a third job as a sales representative for Home Interiors & Gifts. “I’m still really into decorating,” she said. “I love it.”
Her passion to serve started early, due in large part to the influence of her mother-in-law, Marie Wilkof. Ruthanne said, “As a recognized and well-respected individual who spent many years as a volunteer with the Cultural Center for the Arts, Marie taught me to get involved in your community and to do so without asking things in return.”
Ruthanne’s current volunteer project is a fundraising event called “Holiday House” formerly “Holiday by Design,” now in its 6th year. The program has raised as much as $30,000 for underprivileged children during the Christmas season. Proceeds go to different nonprofit organizations each year.
“Holiday House is all about children whose families cannot afford to buy toys and other gifts at Christmas,” Ruthanne explained. “We personally buy all the products for Holiday House at the end of the Christmas season for the following year; artificial Christmas trees of all sizes, glass ornaments, stems, wreaths, teardrops, etc. We personally decorate all the trees and wreaths, and make the floral arrangements. Each item is sponsored and tagged with the sponsor’s name, whether it be an individuals or a company/business. We then sell all the items to attendees.”
This year, Ruthanne has a surprise — themed Christmas trees. “We have a themed tree decorated for every sport; i.e., golf, football, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, tennis, soccer, and bowling, as well as an Ohio State tree and a Michigan tree,” she said. “We even have a coffee tree.” There are adorable glass ornaments for the dog-themed tree featuring a variety of breeds, pink ballet shoes, women’s shoes, and a firemen’s tree,” just to name a few. “Everything is glitzy,” she said.
This year the event will be held on Thursday, Nov. 13 from 5 pm to 8 pm; Friday, Nov. 14 from 5 pm to 8 pm, and Saturday, Nov. 15 from 9 am to 1 pm. Individuals and/or companies can be an advertised sponsor of this event or sponsor any one or multiple products with their name proudly displayed on the actual item.
Ruthanne and Ron Wilkof are both under the constant supervision of four adoring, loving eyes belonging to pups Bella and Mia. Currently studying for her real estate license, Ruthanne’s furry kids keep her company during the day. She is looking forward to her new career not only from the sales aspect, but also toward using her decorating talents in “staging” homes to prepare them for sale after she is licensed. Even though the word “no” is not in her vocabulary, when someone asks her to do something, right now Ruthanne is doing her best to focus on her studies and the exam.
We wish Ruthanne the best of luck with her upcoming career and look forward to hearing more about her programs and events in the future.
Ruthanne Wilkof Canton Ohio