by Michele Collins
Janis Worley is the kind of person you want in your nonprofit. She has an extensive background in leadership, finance, marketing, fundraising and operations. She also is willing to give it her all when it comes to sitting on boards, having served as board president on just about every organization she joins.
The Summit County Historical Society designated Worley a 2022 “Woman of the Year” recipient as part of its Akron area Women’s History Project. The announcement was made on International Women’s Day, which was March 8.
The historical society will honor Worley and her eight peer recipients at a June 15 awards presentation at the John Brown House in Akron.
“I guess this award is geared at recognizing my volunteerism in the community,” said Worley. “I have volunteered for nonprofits for over 20 years.”
Ronald McDonald House of Akron, Grace House Akron, the Junior League of Akron, Akron Children’s Hospital Woman’s Board, Angels Haven Horse Rescue, Leadership Akron, Old Trail School and One of a Kind Pet Rescue are a few of the organizations the longtime Hudson resident has helped. She also previously served on the board of the Summit County Historical Society.
As for her day job, Worley is currently the finance and operations manager for First Congregational Church of Akron and has held a variety of leadership positions amid her volunteer tenure. Previously she served in a management role with Sherwin Williams and was a film producer for her own business, Worleybird Productions, where one of her documentaries “Heart of a Nation: America’s First Ladies” received the national Gracie Award.
Worley said that she is “very flattered” to be a Woman of the Year awardee because she has a great deal of respect for the Summit County Historical Society.
“I love history. I am kind of a closet historian. So, it is very enjoyable for me to be involved with this organization. Being honored like that is a nice thing. But I am most proud of the hundreds of thousands of dollars I have raised for the Akron community. It is nice to see all that work recognized,” she said.
Making the award even sweeter, Worley said, was being nominated “by my dear friend, Julie Miller.”
“Janis has been a community volunteer in the Akron area for many years,” Miller said. “And she passionately cares about making a difference in our community.”
Miller added that Worley has been an influential mentor to her over the years as well. The two met when Worley was president of the Junior League and Miller was a provisional member. Later, Miller became president and asked Worley to serve in a role during her tenure.
Both women currently serve as co-chairs of the grand-opening celebration for Grace House, which is launching a hospice care home for Akron’s homeless population.
“I’ve learned so much about nonprofit management from her, from planning a fundraiser to chairing a board,” Miller said. “She is my go-to person, in nonprofits and in life. I can’t imagine my life without her.” ∞