Wertman favors strengths-based leadership in multiple roles

By Rhonda Bletner - [email protected]

GALION — This year’s tagline for United Way of North Central Ohio is “Every person. Every Community.” Well, that seems to describe United Way of North Central Ohio Executive Director Amber Wertman.

Wertman does seem to be trying to serve “every person” in “every community.” She is certainly involved in all of the communities in and around Galion.

“I started out as director here in Crawford County,” Wertman said of her role with United Way, “and then, in 2011, Galion, Crestline and Bucyrus each had their own United Way; and over the course of a year, the three of them came together. They all merged into Crawford County. Then when I came on in 2012, they were already United Way of Crawford County.”

The agency, at the time, was already contracting with Marion to do their donor data entry and Quickbooks. I would go to Marion and enter our donations. In 2015 when the director of Marion was getting ready to retire, there was an opportunity; and I saw a vision.

Wertman moved to Marion for a time and helped at Crawford. They struggled maintaining directors so she suggested a merger. That merger became official in 2017, though they still have three separate advisory councils.

Wertman isn’t just the executive director of the tri-county United Way, however.

“I was appointed the first executive director of the Galion Historical Society in 2011; and in 2014, I was named emerging leader of the year by the Crawford Partnership for Education & Economic Development,” she said. “In 2016, I oversaw the successful merger of Crawford, Marion, and Wyandot counties thus forming the United Way of North Central Ohio, Inc.

“Today, I serve on the Area Agency on Aging District 5 Foundation Board, Galion Historical Society Board, Rotary Club of Marion Board and Third Street Family Health Services Board.

In 2019 Amber invited Experience Galion to a History Center meeting.

“In my mind we’re the main tourism. We have this whole campus. We can get people coming here and then we can send them to other places,” Wertman said.

She thought working with Experience Galion would be good for tourism. A member attended the meeting but they weren’t able to move forward in a joint effort.

Wertman appreciates bringing people to gather, to work together, to create or improve on existing places and identifying strengths that will lead to greater outcomes.

Who is this busy woman?

“I call myself a Crawford County person; I am truly county-wide,” she said. “I was born in Bucyrus, most of my family lives in Bucyrus. I went to Buckeye Central, which is in New Washington, because my dad taught there. And then we moved to Galion when I was in high school and I’ve lived in Galion pretty much ever since, except for five years I lived in Marion.”

She began her college career at Marion Tech. Then she transferred to Franklin University to finish. While in Columbus, she had an opportunity to work for the Area Agency on Aging.

“As I was finishing up my bachelors in business administration, I got the chance to work there. I started out as a temp and was administrative assistant to the deputy director and a couple of other people. That was a great opportunity,” she stated. She also now has a certificate of Nonprofit Board Consulting and Facilitation.

She went on to work at a nursing home. She said admissions and marketing for healthcare is a very difficult position but it taught her a lot. But as she looks back, one of her first jobs was her favorite: working as a server at the Galion Pizza Hut.

“I just loved it,” she said, “If I could have been a server forever, I would. I still see people that remember that back in my college days.”

When her father passed away suddenly in 2017, she moved back to Galion and decided to pursue a master’s degree. At Ashland University she completed a master’s in strategic corporate communications. If she wasn’t doing enough, she took a position as an adjunct public speaking instructor at Marion Tech Wynford.

And yes, she has a family too.

Her husband, Tim, works at Park National Bank in Crestline. They have a son, Logan, who is often at meeting or events with his mother. Logan is in the fourth grade at Galion.

I pick Logan up and spend time together before I go on to my next thing. He’s like a little adult. He likes quiet; he does like crazy wild like other kids.

“Of course I’ve always had multiple roles,” Wertman said. “I don’t like not being busy. Most people I realize probably couldn’t juggle things as well as I do.” But thinking of Tim and Logan she said, “We’re like a well-oiled machine.”


By Rhonda Bletner

[email protected]