Columbus business leaders head back to school, too

Mary Yost
Nancy Kramer, founder and chair of Resource

Students aren't the only ones excited about the start of a new school year. Across Columbus, business professionals are also heading back to the classroom, sharing their wealth of accumulated experience and knowledge with students in their fields. They do it for the love of their professions and the rewards of inspiring future professionals.

Nancy Kramer, founder and chair of Resource, gives back to Ohio State University, where she received a journalism degree, by teaching leadership and digital marketing to graduate and executive education students in the Fisher College of Business. In the fast-changing digital environment, the business school "couldn't develop curriculum fast enough," Kramer says. Fisher engaged Resource to co-create curriculum on digital marketing, using The Open Brand, a book Resource CEO Kelly Mooney wrote. "It was a way to help train folks in an area where we need more people and the world needs more people," Kramer says.

For the last five years, Kramer has been part of a class in the Fisher MBA program that brings in a collection of business leaders and invites students to explore their alignment with the different leaders. "In that class particularly they ask me a lot of really intriguing and challenging questions," Kramer says.

Through relationships with Fisher students, "we've been successful at recruiting people for our business," Kramer says. Beyond the good business sense of helping educate the workforce Resource needs, Kramer finds personal joy in sharing with students her story of working her way through OSU as a grocery clerk and then seeing students inspired by her story. "I don't know that there is a greater gift," she says.

Dawn Hartman welcomes students into her optometry practice, Columbus Ophthalmology Associates, as a clinical instructor. Hartman's multi-specialty practice has been engaged in continuing education programs for 30 years. In her work as a preceptor, Hartman has one or two students a week for 13-week segments as part of their fourth year of training. "I try to impress upon them that education never ends," Hartman says. "They bring so much energy to the practice….They are so happy to see these things they might have only read about."

For Hartman, the joy of teaching is in passing along the knowledge she has gained in 14 years as an optometrist. "I like being part of building their confidence," she says. "Now that I have had students who have graduated, they are my friends. This has been way more rewarding than I anticipated," she says.

J. Lawrence Hutta, DDS, teaches orthodontics at the OSU School of Dentistry every other Tuesday afternoon, lecturing over the lunch hour and then seeing patients with students. In practice half of his 56 years, he says he teaches "exactly what I do in my office. It's taken 28 years to develop." Handling three classes of five residents each, he and his students care for about 150 patients. Hutta says the OSU Dental Clinic patients-some underprivileged and some professors' children-get the same treatment he provides at Hutta Orthodontics Specialists in Dublin and Worthington. As the dental residents shape their patients' smiles, Hutta says he enjoys "shaping and forming and creating an experience for the profession. Their charge will be to carry on."

Hutta says teaching keeps him current and allows him to share his upbeat nature in a rewarding mentorship environment. "I am as excited as when I started," he says, adding, "If everyone gave back a little, the world would be a better place."