Announcing Columbus CEO's annual CEO of the Year awards for 2021

Katy Smith Jess Deyo
Columbus CEO
CEOs of the Year 2021 Elizabeth Martinez, from left, Jonathan Moody, Tim Robinson and Michael Kaufmann

Just like that, we’ve endured yet another COVID-19 year, tasking our region’s executives with yet another set of struggles to overcome, some new and some centuries old and finally coming to the surface.

These include, but are certainly not limited to: labor shortages, massive supply chain disruptions, inflationary pressures, an ongoing, life-threatening pandemic, and continuing efforts in the fight for racial justice and equality for all.

There are seemingly no days off in the pursuit for equilibrium, but these execs have accepted the heavy workload, creating entirely new departments, setting new benchmarks and taking a deep look at every aspect of their organizations.

We asked Columbus region business leaders responding to our 2021 Columbus CEO Survey, which was conducted in October, to share with us their expectations for the coming year. They see continued struggles to find labor, but are optimistic they will have the business case to hire.

Our favorite part of the survey (besides the expert analysis from Bill LaFayette at Regionomics)? We asked respondents to vote for the CEOs of the Year in four categories: Large and small business and large and small nonprofit. The slate of candidates was compiled though recommendations from chambers of commerce and other business organizations and Columbus CEO’s editorial staff.

Here are the executives they chose—four winners and 12 finalists — as Columbus CEO's 2021 CEOs of the Year.

CEO of the Year 2021 finalists

Small business winner: Moody Nolan sees continuous success with father-son duo

Small nonprofit winner: Big Brothers Big Sisters CEO enables youth to reflect, grow and prosper

Large nonprofit winner: Nationwide Children's 127-year-old mission gets CEO Tim Robinson out of bed each day

Large business winner: Cardinal Health CEO Mike Kaufmann leads with intention and perspective