New CEOs of the Year are recognized.

Tanny Crane

President & CEO, Crane Group

About: Family-owned holding and management company with diverse portfolio including Crane Renovation Group, Crane Materials International, Screen Machine Industries, SENSIT Technologies, Pet Paradise, Crane Investment Company

In position: Since 2003

Previous: Various Crane positions; Quaker Oats, product manager of Cap'n Crunch Cereals, AT&T, national sales manager

Balance is important to Tanny Crane—whether in her approach to leadership, in the portfolio changes she has made in her family's privately-held business or with her work in the community.

Drive and ambition are good leadership qualities, Crane says. “But listening and compassion is that balance that sets really good leaders apart. If you're all about just drive and performance and urgency, you may not have anyone behind you, because they're like, what is this all about? … Very, very important and almost at the top of my list is (being) a good listener, and sometimes listening to things that are unsaid, … as my mom used to always say, putting yourself in other people's shoes.”

The president and CEO of Crane Group is Columbus CEO's 2017 CEO of the Year for large for-profits.

In her early positions at AT&T and Quaker Oats in Chicago, Crane was balancing a then-natural tendency to sit back against a conviction that she needed to speak up. She would tell herself, Crane recalls, “I have to ask one question. I have to be part of it. I don't have to be the first one to ask a question. … It's like taking charge of your career—if you just sit back and think it's going to happen, it's not going to happen. You have to lean in. You're going to have to be vulnerable. You're going to have to take a risk.”

Now leadership requires her to sit back and listen, Crane says. “One of the areas that I really work on is not being the first one to talk, but one of the last people to talk. When you're going around the room and everyone's offering their solutions, their ideas, especially in my position, when you're in a leadership position, if you're the first one to give the solution, no one else is going to offer it. If you're the last one, it allows everyone else a voice. I really believe in allowing others a voice.”

Crane cites her late father, Robert Crane, and her uncle, Jim Crane, as great business role models, but she has learned also from contemporary Columbus businesswomen Jane Grote Abell of Donatos and Nancy Kramer, who built and sold her digital creative agency, Resource/Ammirati to IBM.

“I like to find slices from a lot of different people,” Crane says.

In Kramer, she sees “a quality of being vulnerable but still demonstrating enormous capacity of leadership. It's a really interesting balance” of tackling difficult decisions and also being willing to ask for help, Crane says.

From partnering with her to develop Reeb Avenue Center, Crane admires how Abell is “just accepting of people and placing trust in people. I watch her and watch the way people interact with her, and it's kind of changed the way I approach especially folks in poverty and folks on the South Side. It's allowed me to be so much more open-minded and have a different lens.”

Even today, Crane says she still finds herself at tables of mostly men, whether with other members of the Columbus Partnership or on the board of Huntington.

“You can't think of yourself as being a minority or you can't think of yourself as being different. You just have to use your skills you developed your whole life and depend on that,” she says. And she's heartened by growing recognition that diversity is important. “We talk about that at the (Huntington) board table.”

Humility is also important to Crane. “When you look at yourself in the mirror, you take the blame but you give everyone else the credit.”

She would like her work—both in the family business and in the community—to be remembered for making things better. “I hope I left the community a little bit better than it was before, especially on the South Side, and that South Side neighbors feel like they had a voice.”

Large For-Profit Finalists

Matt Scantland, Co-founder and CEO, CoverMyMeds

In barely 10 years, Matt Scantland took his healthcare tech firm from startup to billion-dollar-plus company, as valued in its January acquisition by McKesson.

CoverMyMeds helps patients get prescriptions through its automated prior authorization process serving 60,000 pharmacies, 700,000 providers and most health plans. More than 70 million patients have benefitted as the company infused technology into what had been cumbersome paper process.

CoverMyMeds remains headquartered in Columbus—Scantland's hometown—and operates as an independent unit within McKesson. The company not only reduces waste but also keeps patients from abandoning their prescriptions, which commonly occurred with delays inherent in the previous paper-processing system. Helping speed medications to patients benefits all healthcare stakeholders.

Under Scantland's leadership, CoverMyMeds has won consecutive Top Workplace honors in Columbus CEO. Scantland was ranked #8 nationally in 2017 among CEOs of small and medium companies based on input to website Glassdoor from employees of 600,000 companies.

Scantland is a Columbus Partnership member, an advisor to the Erdös Institute at Ohio State University and a trustee of the Wellington School.

John P. McConnell, Chairman and CEO, Worthington Industries, Inc.

John P. McConnell has risen from being a general laborer in a Kentucky steel plant in 1975 to follow in his father's footsteps to lead Worthington Industries.

Positions he held over his 40+ years with the company include sales representative for two divisions, corporate personnel director, vice president and general manager of the company's largest steel facility in Columbus.

Worthington Industries is a Columbus-based global diversified metals manufacturing company with 2017 fiscal year sales of $3 billion.It employs 11,000 in 85 facilities in 11 countries. Serving automotive, construction and agriculture markets, it manufactures pressure cylinders for propane and other gases, water well tanks for commercial and residential uses, various fuel tanks and and steel framing for commercial construction, among other products.

The golden rule guides corporate philosphy, with earning money for shareholders as its first goal.

McConnell joined the Worthington board in 1990, became vice chairman in 1992, CEO in 1993 and was named chairman in 1996. He is on the board of OhioHealth and is majority owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets National Hockey League franchise and chairman emeritus of the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation.

David Campisi, CEO and President, Big Lots

David Campisi brought decades of merchandising experience and other retail know-how when he came to Columbus as CEO and president of Big Lots in 2013.

Relying on the tools he developed in positions across the country, Campisi has worked to enhance product assortments, improve customer experience and strengthen associate engagement at Big Lots. With his leadership,the company will open new headquarters in northeast Columbus in 2018.

Campisi also helped launch the Big Lots Foundation and a national point-of-sale donation campaign benefiting Columbus-based Nationwide Children's Hospital.

A Fortune 500 company with $5 billion in annual revenues, Big Lots operates more than 1,400 stores in 47 states, with product lines including furniture, food and home décor.

Prior to Big Lots, Campisi was chairman, CEO and president of The Sports Authority, a privately held $3 billion sporting goods retailer. Previously he was chief merchandising officer for the company. Campisi has also held senior executive merchandising positions with Kohl's, Fred Meyer Inc. (a division of the Kroger Company), and May Department Stores.

Campisi serves on the board for Big Lots, Nationwide Children's and the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Mary Yost is the editor.