“Dream no little dreams.”

Clay Mathile

1941–2023

We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our founder and chair emeritus, Clay Mathile. Clay’s spirit is ever-present through Aileron; join us in celebrating and remembering Clay together as a community.

“Dream no little dreams.”

Clay Mathile

1941–2023

We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our founder and chair emeritus, Clay Mathile. Clay’s spirit is ever-present through Aileron; join us in celebrating and remembering Clay together as a community.

“Aileron is a support system for business owners and entrepreneurs who are seeking some kind of advice for how to grow or strategically manage their businesses.”

Renee Hoderlein, Owner of Maximum Fire Protection

“Aileron is a support system for business owners and entrepreneurs who are seeking some kind of advice for how to grow or strategically manage their businesses.”

Renee Hoderlein, Owner of Maximum Fire Protection

Founded on the Belief that Small Businesses Improve Lives and Raise the Quality of Life

In aviation, an aileron is the moveable part of the wing that allows an airplane to maintain balance, control, and lift. This concept is the namesake for our organization. We work with private business owners to help them achieve balance, control, and lift in their businesses. Also akin to an airplane, we use a proven systematic approach to help them step back from the day-to-day to get a 30,000-foot view of their business.

Since our founding in 1996 by entrepreneur Clay Mathile and the parallel launch of our flagship program, Course for Presidents®, we’ve welcomed thousands of private business owners from across America into our community – and yet we know our true impact is seen not just in the work we do with them, but the way their businesses create jobs and stability for families and communities across America.

Aileron

As Featured In

Growing Businesses Across America with a Proven Professional Management System

Partway through his entrepreneurial journey as the owner of the Iams company, Clay Mathile set out on another dream – building a community of trusted mentors to support small business owners who practice professional management. He believed that when entrepreneurs performed the noble act of putting their own capital at risk, they were also maintaining our country’s wealth, freedom, and prosperity.

Clay founded Aileron to continue his work of honoring, studying, and supporting the entrepreneurial journey. His learnings laid the foundations for Aileron’s DOC System, our unique approach to professional management. He went on to document his leadership approach and the thinking behind the DOC System that enabled him to grow the Iams Company from $500K to $1 billion in Run Your Business, Don’t Let It Run You, a practical guide to living professional management and building a thriving business.

Run Your Business | Aileron

We Are a Thriving Community of DOC System Practitioners

Aileron has welcomed thousands of businesses into our community through our flagship program, Course for Presidents, which onboards business owners to the DOC System. We continue to support our members’ professional management journeys through offering business-building workshops and one-on-one coaching and building a community for professionally managed organizations to learn and grow together.

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Business owners have regained control of their business through Course for Presidents and professional management.
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Leaders visit Aileron annually to attend workshops, meet with coaches, or use campus to work on their business.
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States represented in our national community of private business leaders.
National Leader | Aileron

Thousands of Leaders Have Transformed Their Businesses and Lives Through Their Work at Aileron

Thousands of Leaders Have Transformed Their Businesses and Lives Through Their Work at Aileron

Marisa O’Neill, RetireMEDiQ | Aileron

Marisa O’Neill

RetireMEDiQ – Miamisburg, Ohio

Bridging the Leadership Gap

Learn how Marisa O’Neill navigated stepping into the mindset of a CEO and grew her leadership team.

Jim Smith, Keith Smith Company | Aileron

Jim Smith

Keith Smith Company – Hot Springs, Arkansas

Creating a Smooth Transition

Read how Jim Smith navigated two successions – one in the early 1990s as he stepped in as CEO, and one more recently as he prepared for retirement.

Ben Chestnut, Mailchimp | Aileron

Ben Chestnut

Mailchimp – Atlanta, Georgia

Getting Clear on Strategy

Listen to NPR’s “How I Built This” podcast to hear what Mailchimp founder Ben Chestnut learned during his time in Aileron’s Course for Presidents.

Businesses that are Part of Our Community

Meet Our Team

  • Everyone
  • Board of Trustees
  • Business Coaches
  • Leadership Coaches
  • Erika Alessandrini
    Facilitator and Leadership Coach
    Erika Alessandrini
    Facilitator and Leadership Coach

    Erika joined the Aileron team in 2019 to surround herself with like-minded leaders who share a passion for helping people, businesses, and organizations uncover their potential. Prior to Aileron, Erika spent 23 years in the automotive aftermarket and participated in four post-acquisition integrations at the executive level. Through those experiences, Erika learned why most leaders fall short, give up, or burn out. She went on to start her own coaching business in 2015.

    Erika is a fearless communicator who harnesses her values of love and protection to speak the truth with passion and compassion. Through this balanced approach, she evokes the wisdom of a trusted friend and the care of an older sister. She will give you a hand when you need it, and a push when you really need it. While Erika is driven by task and logic, her intuition and empathy shine through when supporting others.

    Outside of work, you can find Erika in her home with her husband and kids. She’ll find any excuse to entertain or gather a group of family and friends for a shared meal; carrying on her mother’s tradition, there is always a seat at her family’s table.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “A conscious improvement I am looking to make is being a better human — in all ways. Embracing the inherent vulnerability and imperfection of being human promotes humility. I believe achieving some degree of self-mastery is crucial in all facets of life, business, and relationships.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I strive to intersect my responsibilities and passions in my pursuit of results. I prioritize personal and social responsibility, autonomy, and connection. I weave creativity and love into all that I do.”

    Why Aileron?

    “My life purpose is to unleash potential in all things: people, opportunities, and organizations. What sets Aileron apart is how it allows me to live my own purpose at scale through the people at Aileron and the community at large. At Aileron, I work with people who are achieving things they never thought possible every single day. It is the highest honor to be trusted to have a front row seat in people's lives and businesses, and to witness their transformation.”

  • Dave Allison
    Business Coach and Facilitator
    Dave Allison
    Business Coach and Facilitator

    As a Business Coach, Dave helps Aileron community members answer the big-picture question: What’s next? He brings to Aileron decades of experience helping large corporations like Honda and BF Goodrich answer that question through leadership positions in engineering, packaging, procurement, and international relations.

    Dave is known for his relatable coaching style; he’s quick to lean on his business experience – and its many ups and downs – to empathize with his clients. He’s situationally motivational, easily meeting people where they’re at emotionally to support them when and how they need it. And he’s tenacious; he’s known for being the person who will take on the hardest problems and face them with unrelenting energy and resolve.

    When he’s not supporting business leaders as they plan for the future, Dave enjoys playing volleyball, competing in triathlons, and rating golf courses for Golf Digest.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Self-reflection and self-development; professionally I’ve done a lot, but on a personal level, there’s always room to improve and do better.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I value being helpful, courteous, and kind. I find that a little act of kindness can make a big difference, even if you don’t know it.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I chose Aileron because I wanted to make a big impact helping several organizations rather than being a leader at a single one. That’s what drives me – making an impact on people’s lives.”

  • Lindsey Bahr
    Director of Finance and Administration
    Lindsey Bahr
    Director of Finance and Administration

    Lindsey Bahr, CPA, MBA, first saw herself working for Aileron when she was a public accountant auditing Aileron, but at the time, she had no idea she’d later be a member of the team. She went on to do SEC reporting and HR for a large public company, a role that would round out her expertise and give her all the experiences she’d later need in her current role as the owner of Aileron’s finance, accounting, HR, and legal activities. 

    Lindsey is an avid collaborator and empath who seeks out different perspectives to better understand any situation. She feels fulfilled not by simply creating new processes to improve how we work, but making those processes visible and executable by the larger team. And she is a passionate people developer who finds joy in empowering her team to experiment, explore ideas, and grow their skills through doing rather than watching. 

    On the weekends, you can find Lindsey with her husband and their two children at a UD basketball game, hanging out at Kings Island, or checking out a new local restaurant. 

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “One of the things we value here is transparency, and I’m always working to be more articulate so I can be as transparent as possible. The better able I am to communicate my ideas with a team, the more insight into my ideas and intentions I can give them.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I value systems, and get energized knowing things can happen seamlessly when supported by great processes. I strive to never be a bottleneck that holds people back, but instead aim to enable others to feel comfortable taking advantage of opportunities to learn new skills and do their best work. I also value responsibility, which is why I find it so gratifying to work with a team of ambitious high-performers.”

    Why Aileron?

    “When I was growing up, my parents owned a grocery store, and when I look back on their experience, I think about how valuable Aileron would have been for them. Even in my first experiences with Aileron, I just had this feeling this was a great place with great people doing great work. I knew back then that I wanted to work here, and now that I’m here, I’m loving it. I think it’s our ‘we’ system thinking that drives me and gets me excited to come to work every day.”

  • Jenny Banner
    Leadership Coach
    Jenny Banner
    Leadership Coach

    As an Aileron Leadership Coach, Jenny helps leaders understand how their actions influence their teams, and how they can use that influence as a tool for catalyzing growth and positive change. Jenny has a rich history in people development; she previously worked in human resources, and after experiencing the most energy when helping people reach their potential, she moved into HR consulting and eventually leadership coaching.

    Jenny learned early on the importance of listening in both her personal and professional lives and relies heavily on active listening during coaching sessions. Her ability to listen enhances two other strengths she brings to her role: rapidly building connections with others (she has a StrengthsFinders theme of Woo) and being present. In a crowded room surrounded with distraction, she’s naturally inclined to hone in on one person to get to know them more deeply.

    Jenny is an iPEC Certified Coach and holds additional certifications in Everything DISC, Myers Briggs, Leadership Challenge, and Conversational Intelligence. When she’s not working toward her next professional certification, she’s spending time with her husband, three daughters, and two dogs in their home in Indianapolis, Indiana, or hiking in a local park.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Moving too quickly to action. I love ideation, and I love implementation, and in between those two points are discovery, exploration, questioning, and vetting. I tend to live in the ideas and the action, and what I’m working on is being better about doing the in-between phases.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “My primary value is growth – both my own growth and helping others grow. Three others that are important to me are creativity, fun, and love. I believe there’s a creative way to do even the most mundane tasks, and I try to bring levity and humor to most situations and show care to the people I interact with.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I am married to an entrepreneur, I’m the daughter of an entrepreneur, and I’ve led a small business myself. I believe that small businesses are the silent engine of our economy. The fact that Aileron is focused on affordably supporting those people to develop leaders is very aligned with my own values.”

  • Tony Collins
    Business Coach and Facilitator
    Tony Collins
    Business Coach and Facilitator

    As an Aileron Business Coach and Facilitator, Tony Collins works with business owners and their teams to help them get more of what they want out of their businesses. Prior to Aileron, Tony started and led multiple small to medium-sized businesses in a variety of industries for more than 25 years.

    Tony is a curious-minded individual who is passionate about helping business owners find ways to do more with less effort. He is often called upon by business leaders for advice and input on how and where to grow themselves and their businesses. And he thrives on learning from his clients about not only what makes their businesses tick, but what they know that he doesn’t.

    When Tony isn’t helping and empowering business owners, you can find him at home in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife, Janet. In his free time, he is reconnecting to his artistic side as a budding watercolor artist.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Asking better questions. Someone once told me, “The quality of your life is related to the questions you ask yourself.” It’s not only the questions I ask myself, but how can I ask questions to others as well that helps them see new possibilities and approaches that they otherwise might not have seen.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “Curiosity - I am always striving to be a continuous learner, and at Aileron that is something that comes easy. I am always learning something new from anyone and everyone I interact with. The humble and hungry clients I work with all feed my curious mind.”

    Why Aileron?

    “The main reason I chose to work at Aileron is we were after the same thing - helping businesses get better. Aileron introduced me to a professional management system, but what got me interested was the kind of companies they attract and their culture. Everyone I work with is humble and just as curious as I am. I am really fortunate at the latter part of my career to have found this group of people to work with.”

  • Joni Fedders
    President, Facilitator and Leadership Coach
    Joni Fedders
    President, Facilitator and Leadership Coach

    As a past business owner, Joni understands the risks, rewards, and challenges that ownership and professional management bring.  She had the opportunity at Iams as a Brand Manager to live in a professionally managed organization where she saw first hand how strategy, strong leadership and culture can fuel a company to do great things.

    After Iams, Joni co-founded a technology services company and became an Aileron client herself, taking the Course for Presidents, establishing an outside Board of Directors and utilizing strategic planning.  The company grew from 2 to 100 employees in five years, was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Cincinnati Entrepreneur of the Year award, and was named by the Cincinnati Business Courier as one of the 25 fastest growing companies in the region.  After selling this business, she and her husband just couldn’t stop and bought a second business in decorative packaging that they operated for seven years before successfully selling.

    In her role as President, Joni oversees Aileron’s strategic direction, culture and operational activities. Her leadership and energy inspire and motivate the Aileron team and the community as we strive to raise the quality of life, one private business at a time.

    Joni was honored with the “Forty Under Forty” award and received her bachelor’s degree in business from Miami University (the real one, in Ohio).  She obtained her MBA from Xavier University.  As college sweethearts, Joni and her husband Jim have been married for 27 years; they have three great children, a golden retriever and a small mutt who thinks he’s a cross between a mastiff and a pit bull.  Family time is a crucial priority for Joni and they enjoy skiing, tubing, running, fishing, sports, eating Chipotle (don’t ask Joni to cook – she can’t), family events and vacations.

  • Peter Feil
    Facilitator
    Peter Feil
    Facilitator

    As a Facilitator, Peter meets regularly with Aileron’s CFP Peer Group and holds space for like-minded presidents, owners, and CEOs to share challenges, ideas, and perspectives in a small group setting. He’s worked in several areas of the manufacturing industry for 35 years, including serving 20 years as General Manager of STOBER Drives Inc., a manufacturer of high-end gear reducers and electric motors.

    Peter’s personality profile is that of an architect—he’s determined to understand how pieces fit together to make a whole. He’s driven to build high-performance leadership for private businesses, and he believes that if every component of the organization has the support they need to grow, the entire company will thrive.

    With a big family and a lake house, Peter loves to provide a place where everyone can relax and congregate. He enjoys playing sports of all kinds, and he roots for FC Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Bengals.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Building up the people that work for me, not just as people and professionals but as leaders of people. I believe everyone’s a leader because everyone’s watching you, whether you know it or not. Be a leader as best you can, help people grow, and set an example that others want to follow. I always want to get better at that—I don’t think there’s any way to be perfect at that.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I want to do my little part in improving humanity at a very high level. I value providing opportunities for people, whether it’s stakeholders, customers, owners, or employees. I want to give people the opportunity to become the best version of themselves. Also, in business I value providing something of value, not just something that’s quick and cheap.”

    Why Aileron?

    “Aileron and other similar organizations have helped me get from where we started to becoming a $50-million company. I’d like the opportunity to help others break the barriers they’re facing.”

  • Oyauma Garrison
    Board of Trustees
    Oyauma Garrison
    Board of Trustees

    As a member of Aileron’s Board of Trustees, Oyauma provides strategic guidance and asks challenging questions to help our leadership team sustainably scale while staying on the cutting edge. He has a background in leading organizations through cultural and operational transformation, and is currently the CEO of Maryhaven, a Columbus-based recovery center providing services for individuals struggling with drug, alcohol, and gambling addictions.

    Oyauma is a natural bridge-builder; he enjoys connecting the dots in his work – finding links between problems, solutions, and opportunities – as well as connecting like-minded individuals to build relationships. His love of connecting people also shows up in his team orientation and strongly held belief that winning happens collaboratively.

    Oyauma stays busy when not at the office; he’s an avid runner and has run every day since January 1, 2020. He has ~70 marathons and ultra-marathons under his belt with no intention of slowing down. He also enjoys giving his feet a rest to spend time with his three children or dig into a book; two reads he recommends to anyone in business are What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Little Red Book of Selling.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “I’m always trying to get better at truly learning to relax. I am a self-proclaimed workaholic, and I tend to pour myself into whatever I do. I have to be reminded to take vacation – which is important as a leader. The shadow of a leader should be to ensure it’s okay to take time off. I need to be better about cascading that.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “Honesty, integrity, and having a strong work ethic. I also value being of service to others. I like to live by ‘good:’ do good, be good, deliver good, and know that what I’m doing has made a difference in someone else's life.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I’m no stranger to business owners who find themselves trying to strengthen or add to their toolkit. I have personally gone through Course for Presidents and coaching. It got me thinking about how to provide something to help people be better in whatever line of work it is they pursue. To me, Aileron represents that.”

  • Wes Gipe
    Business Coach, Facilitator and Leadership Coach
    Wes Gipe
    Business Coach, Facilitator and Leadership Coach

    Wes Gipe works with business owners and their teams as a trusted facilitator, business coach and leadership coach. Known for his enthusiasm and high-energy approach, Wes’s willingness to boldly approach tough issues and go the extra mile have gained him loyal clients who look to him for help with strategic planning, leadership and culture development, and conflict resolution.

    Wes started his journey as an Aileron client in 2008. After applying Aileron’s Professional Management principles to build a self-managing company, he now spends much of his time helping other organizations—big and small—build a strategy that endures. Through this work, he has logged over 9,000 coaching hours with more than 500 individuals throughout North America and Europe. His work has been featured in Forbes as well as other national media outlets. Wes resides in Miami County, OH with his wife and three rambunctious boys.

  • Mike Gossett
    Product Manager
    Mike Gossett
    Product Manager

    Driven to improve the learning experience for our community, Mike focuses on Aileron’s professional management science system. He ensures that our workshops and services evolve, stay relevant, and provide as much value and impact as possible. He joined Aileron after having worked in the print advertising world as a product manager, and he holds a bachelor’s degree from Wright State University.

    Mike is particularly adept at understanding how small components come together to create a bigger picture. Where others might see a mountain to climb, he takes a look at the mountain and figures out how to carve a path to reach to the top. He has a strong set of organizational skills which allow him to narrow his focus on key details, making project management an ideal fit.

    Outside of work, Mike loves to run outdoors and enjoys participating in 5k races in the warmer months. He also loves to read nonfiction and learn as much as he can about historical events, particularly World War II. Mike raises two kids, Lucy and Jack, with his wife, Ellie.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Patience. I like to see the clear destination, and I tend to over-focus on that destination and forget to enjoy the process or the journey to get there. Something I’m always trying to get better at is living in the moment.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I’m naturally a very curious person. If I stumble across something that I don’t know a lot about, I tend to get fixated on it, and I have to explore it further. I like to say I know a little bit about a lot of subjects.”

    Why Aileron?

    “At this point in my career, I’m looking to do meaningful and impactful work. I believe my values align really well with Aileron’s vision and mission, and I’m looking to really have a positive impact on the community. We spend so much time of our lives at work, and so I’m excited to have a positive influence on that and improve that for our clients.”

  • Theresa Graf
    Controller
    Theresa Graf
    Controller

    As Aileron’s Controller, Theresa has an enthusiastic and collaborative approach to helping Aileron achieve its financial goals and enhance our overall performance. She brings with her more than 17 years of experience in diverse accounting roles.

    Theresa's passion for numbers is evident; she describes herself as a "number whiz" who loves to make connections and tell stories through data. However, she defies the stereotype of a traditional accountant with her outgoing and energetic nature, infusing a lighthearted energy into her work. Known for her sociable personality, Theresa is a people person who enjoys sharing jokes and having fun.

    Outside the world of spreadsheets, Theresa finds solace in quality time with her family. Her two sports-loving sons keep her and her husband busy, as they cheer them on from the stands or join them on outdoor adventures. When she seeks relaxation, you can find Theresa and her family enjoying an evening fire on their patio or boating on Lake Cumberland.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Knowing when to ask for help. I am someone who takes pride in my work, and I value accountability and ownership of what I produce. I acknowledge that I do not have all the answers and recognize the power of collaboration and shared knowledge, so I actively seek out questions to facilitate the creation of optimal results for myself and colleagues.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “Having a strong work ethic and being a hard worker – which I get from my dad. He was a self-employed plumber and electrician, and I was inspired by the motivation and integrity he had in running his own business. I carry those values in my professional journey, fostering a strong commitment to excellence in my work.”

    Why Aileron?

    “Aileron resonated deeply with me when I first read the organization's mission, vision, and purpose. The profound connection between my work and its impact on the community ignited my inspiration. I also appreciate the culture and intimate size of Aileron, which affords me the opportunity to enjoy a diverse range of responsibilities and make a significant impact across the entire organization.”

  • Ryan Grieco
    Director of Technology
    Ryan Grieco
    Director of Technology

    In his role as Director of Technology, Ryan helps the Aileron team leverage the technologies we employ to create meaningful opportunities for our community to learn and engage with Aileron. He ensures our technology systems are scalable, secure, and support the work our community and team do. Ryan brings to Aileron a background in project management and IT; in his former role with Speedway, he supported store operators with back-office inventory management systems.

    Ryan is a diplomat; in his work in IT and project management, he’s learned to mitigate tension by approaching work with an unbiased, analytical lens. His project management past also shows up in his tendency to play a supporting role; he prefers directing traffic to being in the driver’s seat and is happy to let the work be the star of the show. And he’s naturally situational; Ryan is fulfilled when he shows up for others in the ways they need him to and is flexible to provide different levels and kinds of support depending on the project, the team, and their needs.

    When not at a computer tinkering with tech, you can find Ryan with his wife and their four kids, writing fictional short stories, or preparing for his annual marathon; each year he combines his appreciations for travel and fitness by running a marathon in a new city.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Communication. My inclination is to be a listener; I feel comfortable in the background. But most of the time people don’t want you to just sit and listen. They want you to engage. I have to remind myself that I need to provide direction and input in certain circumstances.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “Some of the biggest motivators for me are giving back and being transparent. I’m a big advocate of open-source code and authored an open-source anti-spam plugin for WordPress sites called Stop Spammers. Open-source code was the only way I could have learned how to code in the first place, and now it’s a way for me to give back so others can learn, too.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I’ve known about Aileron for a long time. My dad took courses here a decade ago. He was a business owner for several years. I’m a little too risk averse to be a business owner myself, but I love engaging with people who are like-minded. I also wanted to work with a small, energized team that was collaborative in achieving big goals and had a strong sense of where they were going.”

  • Megan Hershberger
    Product Manager
    Megan Hershberger
    Product Manager

    Megan has always been passionate about connecting with individuals and finding solutions to their needs. Her natural curiosity and desire to help others brought her to Aileron as a Product Manager. She is thrilled to be a part of a team that is dedicated to continuous improvement and the success of our community members.

    She is responsible for managing project plans, supporting our products and services, and conducting research. She is most excited to collaborate with her coworkers as Aileron continues to evolve alongside our community.

    Megan is a graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies, with minors in Marketing and Business. She is a proud Bobcat and loves any excuse to talk about Athens! On a typical Saturday you can find her walking with her dog, tackling a home project, grilling outside with her husband, or planning her next adventure with friends!

  • Chuck Huggins
    Chief Operating Officer, Business Coach, Facilitator and Leadership Coach
    Chuck Huggins
    Chief Operating Officer, Business Coach, Facilitator and Leadership Coach

    As Aileron’s Chief Operating Officer, Chuck is responsible for pushing the organization’s products and business model forward through concepting, testing, and implementing new solutions. Previous to Aileron, he founded and sold two businesses, an experience that arms him with an empathy for and understanding of the community Aileron serves.

    Chuck has a keen eye for identifying problems and an unrelenting passion for pioneering ideas, and spends much of his time at work experimenting. He’s naturally humble, which fuels his experimentation by freeing him from fear that his ideas will fail. And Chuck is hyper-focused on the future; every day he asks himself: “How do we prepare our clients for the future to ensure they’re thriving ten years from now?”

    Chuck will tell you there’s no other way he’d rather spend the weekend than with his wife, son, and daughter. In the summer, you can find them soaking in the sun at Indian Lake, where Chuck occasionally sneaks away to enjoy his favorite hobby: bass fishing.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “My contribution to Aileron – I’m constantly asking myself: How can we touch more people, create more change, and improve the quality of life for the people that we touch?”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I value innovation and experimentation. If I was somewhere I couldn’t do those things, that would be tough for me. I also value responsibility, which can be at odds with innovation – sometimes you have to be less responsible to innovate.”

    Why Aileron?

    “People ask me this a lot, because I sold my business to come here. But I did that because I can impact more people here than I could running my own business.”

  • Robin Jacobs
    Receptionist
    Robin Jacobs
    Receptionist

    As Aileron's Receptionist, Robin brings a wealth of experience in human connection to her role. With 17 years as a mental health specialist and a degree in psychology, Robin excels at active listening, building rapport, and understanding client needs.

    Robin considers this role her dream job as it allows her to directly impact the client experience by ensuring their needs are met seamlessly. Her passion for understanding others and fostering connections shines through in every interaction.

    A wife and mother, Robin finds balance in hobbies that celebrate her love for the outdoors – fishing, four-wheeling, and gardening – and loves spending quality time with her identical twin sister who is a constant source of support. Also an avid bird enthusiast, Robin is always happy to chat about her favorite feathered friends.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    "Patience — in all aspects of my life, I am a go-getter and love results. But as time goes on, I have realized that slowing down is worth the wait."

    What are the values that drive you?

    "Respect and compassion are huge to me, but the golden rule I go by is 'Treat others as you want to be treated.' While I know it's a bit of a cliché, it remains true and is a steadfast pillar in how I approach my life."

    Why Aileron?

    "My values completely align with the values that Aileron is constantly striving for. As a continuous learner, finding a place where I know I can grow and become a better person, while being surrounded by fantastic people, is so worthwhile to me."

  • Sam Johnson
    Market Engagement Associate
    Sam Johnson
    Market Engagement Associate

    In her role as Market Engagement Associate, Sam supports Aileron’s mission, vision, and purpose as she connects individuals – including existing clients and entrepreneurs across America – with Aileron through in-person, digital, and social channels. Sam started working with Aileron as an intern on the Market Engagement team and came back to continue her work with us in this full-time role.

    If you interact with Sam, you’ll quickly see her extroverted side come out; she finds joy in connecting with others, creating community, and collaborating. Sam also thrives when given space to be creative, preferring to live outside of the box where she has space to think freely and explore ideas without boundaries. And she’s a self-motivated initiator, quick to solve problems as she encounters them and proposes solutions.

    When not at work, Sam enjoys going to country music concerts, finding deals at local thrift stores, and getting in a good sweat at Dayton’s local cycle studio, Rinse Cycle.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “So many things. I often refer to the mantra: ‘What’s one thing you can do for your future self today?’ Getting better is part of my daily life, and I’m always working to be one percent better today than I was yesterday.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I have very high value for achievement, which really motivates me to move my life forward personally and professionally. I am passionate about creating; I like to produce and make things that add value to the lives of others. And I get a sense of purpose from helping others; my grandpa instilled in me the importance of legacy and leaving a place better than it was when I got there.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I can’t really put it into words, but when I’m here, I feel like I’m supposed to be here. It’s a very special place and somewhere I feel I’m meant to be. There’s nothing like it.”

  • Tami Jones
    Facility Manager
    Tami Jones
    Facility Manager

    As the Facility Manager, Tami’s primary focus is to maintain the campus to the highest standard possible. Tami manages the maintenance, improvements, safety, security, catering, and daily operations of the physical space and site of Aileron to ensure the campus provides an enjoyable experience for all.  She is the champion of the campus recycling program and of every living creature that walks, struts, flies, slithers or trots on the property. A lot of Tami’s work is performed behind the scenes so you may not see her, but be assured the pristine appearance of the campus is a direct result of her efforts.

    If Tami is not zip lining with her husband Jody and their two sons, then they are out motorcycling, four wheeling, sledding, swimming, canoeing, walking their adorable pit bull Laya or playing with their two grandchildren.  If it’s outside, she’s all about it.

    Tami comes to us from KTH Parts Industries where she worked in an automotive manufacturing environment. Prior to KTH, she spent 20 years at W.B. Marvin Manufacturing honing her keen mechanical mind.

  • Nicole Loy
    Learning Experience Designer
    Nicole Loy
    Learning Experience Designer

    As Learning Experience Designer, Nicole leverages best practices to design engaging material that facilitates learning for our community. She is passionate about creating opportunities that amplify clients’ professional development goals. Prior to joining Aileron, she focused her career in higher education administration and non-profit leadership.

    Nicole is a natural team player; no matter her role, she’s driven to bring a group together to leverage the power of multiple perspectives. She’s humble and hardworking, and is unafraid to say she doesn’t know the answer to a question but quick to offer help in finding one. And she’s optimistic; Nicole believes having a positive attitude is the difference between average and high-performing teams. 

    Nicole loves to spend her personal time with her husband and their young daughter, Ellie. She has a love for exploring new things, and now, she gets to experience the world anew through her daughter’s eyes. She also enjoys hiking, biking, and reading as many books as she can.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Lifting others up. I want to offer my time, energy, and skill sets to let people know that they’re important and they matter.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I value creating a sense of belonging and community. It’s important to me that people feel welcome in my presence, no matter where we are.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I love that we empower people to strive both professionally and personally. When we’re helping businesses succeed, our work is also impacting their families and personal lives. That’s not something you get to do at every job.”

  • Allison Mader
    Client Engagement Associate
    Allison Mader
    Client Engagement Associate

    Allison joined Aileron’s Client Engagement team shortly after graduating from Cedarville University with a degree in Ministry. In her role, she enjoys connecting with our clients to understand their needs and provide key support wherever it’s needed, from services to event management to everyday assistance.

    Leading with joy and motivated to uplift others, Allison thrives most when she’s around people. She loves to meet new folks and forge relationships that are built on authenticity and encouragement. She also has a keen eye for detail and an innate love for organization.

    Allison has a deep love for writing and enjoys devoting her personal time to strengthening her craft. She also co-owns and operates a small business with her sister called Live Defined, in which they design clothing that embodies Christian values and inspires others to embrace inner beauty.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “I constantly strive to invest in and elevate the people around me. I strive to encourage, to uplift, to improve the lives of the people I encounter on a daily basis. A huge piece of my purpose in life is to use my gifts and the abilities I’ve been given to serve others. I look back at the mentors and leaders in my life, and I see how much their investment has shaped me as a person, friend, and leader. There’s so much joy and return when you actively choose to elevate and serve others.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “My faith, first and foremost. That affects the way I view myself, treat others, and do my job. I have a desire to constantly grow, not only for myself but for other people. That goes hand-in-hand with elevating others.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I was first drawn to Aileron’s culture. The first time I visited, and every time since, everyone has had positive, kind words to say about others. I think that’s rare, and when that happens, it creates a special work experience. As far as the work that Aileron does, I admire how they aspire to help businesses thrive in any situation. It’s evident that they keep their clients their top focus. Everything they do puts their clients’ needs first, and I think that’s an awesome mission to get behind.”

  • Sally Mahrt
    Connection Center Support
    Sally Mahrt
    Connection Center Support

    Sally has been a part of Aileron’s Client Engagement team since 2017, bringing with her 40+ years of management and operations experience. For 10 years prior to joining Aileron, she managed a wellness spa in a rural setting, and for 30 years before that, she planned trips for professional groups; she found particular joy in finding ways to “deluxe” someone’s experience.

    She describes herself as “the best human arrow,” pointing folks in the direction they need and finding resources that support them. She’s naturally drawn to scoping out details in any environment, and she loves discovering hidden gems that can elevate someone’s interaction with the space, their work, with others.

    In her free time, Sally is a yoga teacher who leads classes in Troy; she considers the practice an exercise of love. She’s passionate about dog rescue, and she enjoys spending as much time as she can with her husband and her friends, and being outside in her garden and she-shed.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Happiness and joy in every moment, in everything, and in everyone. It’s the first thing I want to look for and the last thing I want to see at night – what joy I found throughout the day. Also, having awareness to shift my energy when I’m going along a joyless path.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “Every day at the breakfast table, my dad would tell me, ‘Sally, you go out and give them 110%.’ He was a consistent, skilled hard worker, and taught me to be, too. My mom always said, ‘Be kind but laugh and have fun.’ She always told me, ‘Kindness is probably going to get you more in life,’ and, ‘Don’t be so serious that you don’t enjoy what you do.’”

    Why Aileron?

    “I love going in because the energy is so wonderful. It takes me back to working with a team, with goals, with people striving to make their businesses successful. I really am appreciative to have that connection – it boosts me up and keeps me excited about things I’m doing in life. I also believe that Aileron has guardian angels. The people are so good and so interesting. They help each other. And to have the motto that your work is making a better America; I think that’s pretty darn cool.”

  • Mike Mathile
    Chairman, Board of Trustees
    Mike Mathile
    Chairman, Board of Trustees

    Mike Mathile is a family business executive and private investor with experience in strategic positioning and family asset management. As Chairman of CYMI Holdings, Mike provides strategic leadership and management acumen to the Mathile Family’s business entities.

    Mike holds Board of Director positions and advisory board seats in a number of portfolio companies including: CSAFE Global and MyScript.

    Prior to the positions listed above, Mike was the President and Chief Executive Officer at CSafe Global, formerly known as AcuTemp Thermal Systems, a Dayton-based, world-leader in energy efficient cold chain technology solutions. He is also Chairman of MyScript, the world’s most advanced technology for handwriting recognition and digital ink management.

    Mike holds an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree from Wright State University.

    He currently serves on various for and non-profit boards, as well as the Advisory Council for the Institute for Church Life-Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to his business career, Mike played professional baseball with the Montreal Expo and Cincinnati Reds.

    Mike and his wife reside in the Dayton Region and have four children.

  • Timothy Mathile
    Board of Trustees
    Timothy Mathile
    Board of Trustees

    Tim serves as Co-Chair and President of the Mathile Family Foundation Board of Trustees. In addition to these positions, he has started or assisted in the start-up of multiple ventures and now holds equity positions in several other entities.

    After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio Northern University in 1987 and an MBA from Xavier University in 1991, Tim purchased Franklin Brazing & Metal Treating, which provides brazing and annealing services to the automotive, appliance, lawn and garden, and power-generation industries. In 2008, he founded Coblynau Partners, a private equity company whose mission is to assist business owners in pursuing their dreams. He has retired from both endeavors.

    Tim is the Board Chair of the Mathile Institute for Human Nutrition. He has extensive experience in family governance and has been active on both for-profit and non-profit boards. He actively serves as a Trustee on the board of Aileron, the Mathile Family Foundation and the Franciscan Media Advisory Board. Previously, he has been a Trustee/Director for the Mathile Family Office, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Cincinnati Zoo Foundation, Cincinnati Art Museum, Summit Country Day School, Life Success Seminars, St. Anne’s Convent Development Board, and ONU Engineering Advisory Board. He is also an alumnus of Leadership Cincinnati – Class XXV.

    Tim is the proud father of two incredible daughters. He enjoys traveling with his family, attending his daughters’ activities, and learning about anything new. His lifetime ambition is to do the most with the blessings and gifts God has bestowed upon him.

  • Tim Meadows
    Help Desk Technician
    Tim Meadows
    Help Desk Technician

    As our Help Desk Technician, Tim plays a vital role in keeping all of us connected and updated. He joined the team in 2018 after working with a local technology solutions company, and spending 10 years as part of the Geek Squad at Best Buy.

    Tim calls himself a patient problem-solver with strong communications skills—three traits a person really needs when working in the IT field to resolve technical issues. When a new tech item comes along, he enjoys taking a closer look at how it works, and figuring out how to integrate it optimally into the organization.

    When he’s not getting us back online, Tim can be found gaming. He particularly enjoys PC gaming and plays a variety of different programs.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Getting better at being fast and efficient at obtaining resolutions.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I like to know that I’ve made an impact. I like to know I’ve made something easier for whoever I’m helping out.”

    Why Aileron?

    “The reason I like the position I’m in is that I get to enjoy messing around with different tech and IT-related items.”

  • Brianna Nichols
    Staff Accountant
    Brianna Nichols
    Staff Accountant

    With a desire to help people and communities—and a knack for organization—Brianna supports our accounting department as a staff accountant. She joined us after having graduated Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, and spending three years in public accounting. When she learned about Aileron and its mission to support business owners, she found that her values aligned naturally with ours.

    Details can intimidate some, but they don’t for Brianna. She’s dedicated to helping systems run smoothly so that they benefit everyone and working with her team to strengthen connections and collaborations. She’s inherently optimistic and positive, and she focuses on bringing joy and enthusiasm to her work.

    Brianna loves to cultivate relationships with others and spends a lot of her personal time with her family and friends. She enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and passing the time in a newly discovered coffee shop. She’s also dedicated to helping the younger generation of her parish learn and grow in their faith.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Helping others feel seen, heard, and valued. I’m constantly striving to get better at listening to others and seeing things from their perspectives. I want to invest in people and have them know I care about them and their thoughts, ideas, and feelings. I believe that we can learn best from each other.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I value collaboration. It gives us opportunities to communicate and learn from each other. I also value hard work, achievement, and respect. I’m always striving to do better and be better, and I love feeling that I’ve accomplished something—I believe it takes hard work to get there. I also want people to leave an interaction with me feeling heard, seen, and valued.”

    Why Aileron?

    “From my first experience with Aileron, I knew it’s a special place. I was drawn to the culture. Everyone is so kind and cares about helping each other grow. I was also drawn to the mission of the organization. I grew up in a small town, which started my love for small businesses and entrepreneurs and helping them succeed. I believe they are

  • Samantha Parker
    Brand and Content Strategist
    Samantha Parker
    Brand and Content Strategist

    In her role as Brand and Content Strategist, Samantha champions work that evolves our brand, digital experience, and communications. She brings to Aileron backgrounds in marketing, brand strategy, and digital project management with experience in both in-house and creative agency environments.

    Samantha is a natural communicator and finds joy in distilling seemingly complex ideas into simple, digestible language. She’s a fun-loving creative who finds energy in concepting solutions that don’t just solve problems but are enjoyable to make and consume. And she’s a word smith; she’s known around campus as “word girl” and is our team’s go-to resource for translating nebulous ideas into clear, concise communications.

    In her personal time, Samantha loves hiking with her son, teaching hip hop dance fitness classes, and exploring the world (particularly the Mediterranean and Middle East) from her kitchen. Samantha also authors a A Moment of Courage, a weekly micro-email with a single, potent idea that will challenge you to live a braver, bolder life.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Being a better partner and mother. I believe relationships are the primary source of joy and fulfillment in life. There’s always plenty to learn when it comes to how we love, understand, communicate, and create harmony with those closest to us.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “This is easy for me to answer because we have our Parker Family Values documented. They include personal responsibility, self-development, love, adventure, intuition, intentionality, and grounding. Those are the values that we choose to guide our lives and decisions.”

    Why Aileron?

    “My parents were entrepreneurs, and I started my career working closely with entrepreneurs in a start-up environment. I have immense respect and appreciation for entrepreneurs and agree with Clay’s sentiments that they are the backbone of our economy. America is a global nucleus of innovation, passion, and progress. I am incredibly energized by supporting our nation’s entrepreneurs as they do the important work of growing their businesses, supporting families, and creating jobs and prosperity for individuals and communities.”

  • Krista Powell
    Director of Product Development, Facilitator and Leadership Coach
    Krista Powell
    Director of Product Development, Facilitator and Leadership Coach

    As Director of Product Development, Krista Powell helps bring Aileron’s strategy to life by designing and developing Aileron’s products and services, ensuring they empower business leaders to grow in professional management. She also works directly with Aileron community members as a Leadership Coach, leveraging her deep understanding of organizational change and her background in professional management implementation across a variety of cultures and roles.

    Krista is naturally transparent; when she doesn’t know the answer, she isn’t afraid to say so – and she’s invigorated by finding it. She seeks to understand others’ points of view, and leans into curiosity over judgement. And she sees the opportunity in everything; Krista is easily excited about new ideas, and can envision the potential of an idea even in its infancy.

    Krista is a third-generation entrepreneur; her father and grandparents were both small business owners, and today Krista runs a branding and design agency, Christopher and Mae, with her husband Jon. When not working on the business, she’s knee-deep in a DIY project or spending time with her three children, adventuring to nearby museums, parks, and attractions.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Everything. I love learning and I see an opportunity for improvement in every aspect of my life. I’m also really passionate, so it’s easy for me to put my whole self into everything I do.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I have a high sense of both independence and interdependence; I love collaborating with a team, and at the same time I love autonomy. I am creative, so I enjoy designing and developing the experiences that we offer at Aileron. And I also have a high sense of responsibility – I’m driven to make an impact in what we do.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I have seen the impact that a well-run company can have on individuals’ lives, their families, and their communities – and I’ve also experienced companies that were not well-run, and the impact it had. I really believe professional management is making people’s lives and communities better.”

  • Kristen Rhoads
    People Engagement Manager
    Kristen Rhoads
    People Engagement Manager

    Kristen has always found her purpose in helping others discover the meaning behind what they do. Open-minded and creative, she joined Aileron to focus on people—and as the daughter of a small business owner, she has a soft spot for the community that Aileron serves.

    Described by her coworkers as goofy, easygoing, and empathetic, Kristen can find common ground with everyone. As Aileron’s People Engagement Manager, Kristen devotes her days to developing relationships with Aileron’s many contributors—passionately seeking to understand their perspective, show them their value, and learn from their motivation. Kristen’s heart for people is also evident as she invests in her local Cincinnati community with friends, family, and her husband, Jason. She also loves hiking and traveling, especially to the west coast where her favorite destinations are Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, Yosemite, and anywhere in Montana.

    At Aileron, Kristen is enabled to pursue her passion for leadership development by focusing on the person behind the business. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or by email.

  • Larry Rice
    Facility Specialist
    Larry Rice
    Facility Specialist

    It’s a privilege to work at Aileron as a Facility Specialist who is responsible for supporting day-to-day campus operations and sponsored events. I ensure the needs of staff and external clients are met through supporting the client’s needs and helping them to reach their goals.

  • Jennifer Rohren
    Market Engagement Manager
    Jennifer Rohren
    Market Engagement Manager

    Entrepreneurship runs deep in Jennifer’s family: three generations deep to be exact. As a result, she is naturally passionate and curious about fueling free enterprise. Working at Aileron feels like an extension of her life in and out of the office as she helps push forward the mission to unleash the potential of private businesses through professional management.

    As the Market Engagement Manager, Jennifer enjoys spreading the word and getting the message out that Aileron can make a difference in the lives of small business owners and their respective employees. On any given day, you can find Jennifer helping her team study, plan, execute, and evaluate the marketing strategies that put Aileron in the best position possible.

    Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing, with minors in Finance and Entrepreneurship. Jennifer is happily married to the lucky Craig Rohren and keeps busy spoiling her young daughters whenever possible.

  • Wendy Roop
    Facilitator and Leadership Coach
    Wendy Roop
    Facilitator and Leadership Coach

    As an Aileron Facilitator, Wendy establishes and nurtures connections with Aileron community members to help them make their visions a reality. Professionally, she’s always made people her priority, developing expertise in the area of human resources management and organizational and leadership development; it set the stage seamlessly for her to launch her business in 2021 as a leadership coach.

    Wendy is unafraid to embrace vulnerability and authenticity – she sees both traits as tools that can help unlock the potential in others. Driven by her faith, she cares very much about supporting her clients to understand their value and purpose, and challenging them to grow as professionals – and, more importantly, as humans.

    Outside of work, Wendy loves spending time with her friends and family. She loves to be outdoors surrounded by nature, and enjoys traveling to explore new and interesting places.

    What are you constantly striving to get better at?

    “Making a bigger difference in the world by allowing myself to slow down, quiet my inner critic, and believe that I have everything I need inside of me to be the best version of myself. Holding space for clients helps me to connect with my gifts and talents that I'm meant to share with the world.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I have a deep passion for connecting and collaborating with others through vulnerability. I have found this helps others see the value they bring to the world, to persevere, even when it's hard, and to be the best version of themselves.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I've been a client and friend of Aileron for many years, and now I’m thankful to be a part of the Aileron contributor team. It's a place where the line between work and play is blurred, where I work with friends who are difference-makers in helping people grow, where I meet incredible people, and where I am continually challenged to develop and be the best version of myself.”

  • Marie Schacht
    Board of Trustees
    Marie Schacht
    Board of Trustees

    As a member of Aileron’s Board of Trustees, Marie brings a breadth of experiences building online learning, development, growth, and leadership communities. In her role as CEO of Akimbo, Marie focuses on designing global learning experiences that celebrate our shared humanity and collectively strengthen our ability to change the systems that shape our world. That experience — coupled with her design-mindedness, creativity, and penchant for innovation — bolster her aim of helping Aileron create online content and experiences that can scale across America.

    Marie is a naturally curious learner, and is energized by exploring what is unknown. Her unique approach to leadership emphasizes adventure: “Most things at work and in life are a journey, they take endurance, and there will be times of discomfort — practicing a mindset of curiosity and flexibility will support each step of the way,” she says. And her focus on building relationships and pulling the right people into the right conversations creates a collaborative dynamic that produces impactful work while all parties enjoy the process.

    Marie lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband, Will, and their hound dog, Spot. The couple share a deep appreciation for small business as well as food — particularly Stanbury, the Raleigh-based restaurant Will owns that prioritizes sourcing local ingredients and supporting other small businesses. On the weekends, you can find Marie spending time outdoors or using her skills to support like-minded community organizations.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “I am always in pursuit of a deeper understanding of who I am so I can leverage that insight to communicate from a place of self-knowing — using tone, language, and energy that is connective and supports the relationships and communities I care about. When I see people using their self-awareness for the sake of connecting to others, I see how much impact they’re making in their communities.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “Curiosity, adventure, collaboration, love, service, creativity, community, change, humility, and kindness.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I really believe in Aileron’s mission, and know when small business owners are supported, it directly impacts the communities they’re in. I’m also energized about using what I’ve learned about building online experiences to support Aileron’s mission as they scale across America. Plus, I have a particular interest in governance, and am excited to learn more about and support a well-governed organization.”

  • Tony Schroeder
    Business Coach, Facilitator and Leadership Coach
    Tony Schroeder
    Business Coach, Facilitator and Leadership Coach

    As a Business Coach, Facilitator, and Leadership Coach, Tony executes Aileron’s mission of improving the quality of life in America by teaching business leaders the advantages of incorporating clarity and simplicity into their businesses and lives. An entrepreneur himself, Tony gets is fulfilled by empowering people to practice professional management as a personal and business growth tool.

    Tony loves simplicity and believes the most effective things happen when people have clarity and understanding. He’s an avid and enthusiastic planner; Tony believes having a plan prepares people for focused execution and allows people to make adjustments along the way. (He also maintains that planning a vacation is almost as enjoyable as going on one.) And he’s a storyteller and humor advocate; Tony believes people learn best when they’re having a good time, sharing personal experiences, and creating connections over shared stories.

    When he’s not helping business leaders reach their goals, you can find Tony woodworking, spending time with his kids and grandkids, or biking around the world; he and his wife have biked for 30 days from Zürich, Switzerland to Budapest, Hungary.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Spirituality – understanding why I exist, what my purpose is, and how I can live it. Answering the question: what am I here for?”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “Spirituality, personal growth, and relationships. Spirituality is about living my purpose in life. Personal growth is about continually growing and learning, and taking advantage of opportunities. Relationships is about nurturing relationships with my wife, my family, and other people.”

    Why Aileron?

    “It provides me an opportunity to live my values and purpose. I get personal growth here, I get to develop a lot of relationships, and I get to give back. That’s what I like about Aileron.”

  • Suzanne Smith
    Board of Trustees
    Suzanne Smith
    Board of Trustees

    Suzanne is a changemaker who provides invaluable perspective as a member of Aileron’s Board of Trustees. She is a social entrepreneur, professor, public speaker, and the founder and CEO of Social Impact Architects—a Benefit Corporation that shows organizations how to maximize the potential of the social sector. She authors the top-rated blog Social TrendSpotter, which offers resources and thought leadership that align the interests of nonprofit, business, and government professionals. Her writing has been featured in Forbes, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Business Advisor, and other publications.

    Through multiple professional endeavors, Suzanne works at the intersections of several industries and interests, providing consultation on how groups and individuals can form impactful social partnerships. She strikes a rare balance of visionary strategic thinking and pragmatic execution. She’s considered a futurist among her peers and contemporaries who is able to apply a comprehensive understanding of the past to interpret the complexities of the present and plan for the future.

    In her personal life, Suzanne enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, who is a pilot for Southwest Airlines. She stays connected with the students she teaches at University of Texas at Arlington and Southern Methodist University, and she loves to spend time with her nine nieces and nephews. She is currently authoring a book titled Leap Frog, which shows nonprofits how to be adept at applying business practices that successfully drive change.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “My listening skills. I was a high school debater, so I have been trained to instantly jump into any conversation and win an argument. While this skill can be helpful, it means that I miss out on other perspectives that could evolve my thinking and are often better than my own. So, I purposely try to take a pause, listen to others, watch body language, and then formulate a more thoughtful response.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I often quip that I’m half-mechanic, half-therapist. I come by this honestly. My father has a mechanical brain, so I’m naturally analytical and curious. My mother is a therapist, so I love talking about the why behind everything. My values come from them: a drive for excellence, a thirst for new and interesting information, an ongoing quest for continuous improvement, and a heart for everyone and everything.”

    Why Aileron?

    “I had an opportunity to attend the Course for Presidents and was blown away; I had taken leadership courses in college and business school, but never one like this. It took theory and turned it into practical application that is almost foolproof. That course changed my trajectory as a leader—which is why Aileron is the perfect name for this organization.”

  • Mark Strauss
    Leadership Coach
    Mark Strauss
    Leadership Coach

    As a Leadership Coach, Mark works with Aileron members to bring their goals to the surface, asking the right questions and facilitating a process that empowers them to bring their desired outcomes to light. Mark brings to his work a background in merging communications and customer service to create exceptional, loyalty-building customer experiences from start to finish.

    Mark is an empath; he is quick to suspend judgement and lets his natural ability to try on someone else’s shoes create a healthy and supportive coaching environment. He uses a bird’s-eye approach, leveraging his sales, communications, marketing, and consulting experiences to understand the challenges his clients face. And he sees coaching not as a space to give advice, but as an opportunity to help others bring their own answers to the surface.

    When Mark isn’t helping business leaders grow, he’s producing his own short film, spending time with his wife Allison, or exploring parks near their home in beautiful southwest Michigan.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Being present and in the moment.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “Empathy, honesty, relationships, and outcomes.”

    Why Aileron?

    “Because of my background in marketing and branding, I have a sixth sense for understanding an organization’s values when I visit their website. When I visited Aileron online, I got the sense that this was a group that balances people’s holistic needs with the business’s needs, and I value that approach.”

  • Anne Thompson
    Business Coach, Facilitator and Leadership Coach
    Anne Thompson
    Business Coach, Facilitator and Leadership Coach

    As a Business Coach and Facilitator at Aileron, Anne Thompson uses her expertise in organizational, leadership, and culture development to help businesses achieve their vision and purpose. Anne’s diverse experience in working with small privately held businesses, large public corporations, educational institutions, and nonprofits – and growing a business herself – enables her to quickly understand the context and culture of organizations, ask important questions to uncover key levers for change, and assist business leaders in identifying and implementing strategies, structures, and behaviors to create positive, sustainable change in all kinds of organizations.

    Anne is endlessly curious; she uses the power of question to help people make sense of situations and uncover insights. She’s passionate about partnership, and driven to empower her clients to turn their hopes and dreams into realities. She has deep expertise in emotional and social intelligence, and sees the integration of the head and the heart as critical to developing the self, and in turn developing others. 

    In her free time, you can find Anne, her husband, and their son jet setting around the world to experience different cultures and cuisines, or enjoying a beer and OSU football game while stateside.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “I’m always striving to operate from a mindset of being ‘good enough.’ It’s counter-culture to feel that what I do doesn’t equate to the value I have as a person. To get there, I’m continually connecting to the intention of my heart and my desire to serve. That helps to minimize the ‘I’m not good enough’ narrative.” 

    What are the values that drive you?

    “I’m driven by mastery and serving clients through evidence-based, practiced strategies. I thrive on collaboration and work to build reciprocal, respectful relationships. And I practice empathy. I embrace people where they’re at while also challenging them to stretch just a bit further outside of their comfort zone to help them see greater possibilities.”

    Why Aileron?

    “At Aileron, we consistently put into practice with each other what we offer to our clients. Aileron is its own learning lab for all the concepts we’re asking our business leaders to embrace. I love that about this organization.”

  • Michaela Van Arsdale
    Service Operations Manager
    Michaela Van Arsdale
    Service Operations Manager

    As Service Operations Manager, Michaela focuses on the installation, coordination, and delivery of Aileron's services. Often acting as a liaison between our community and Aileron’s internal design team, she ensures that the goals of our courses are met through scalable and consistent systems and processes. Michaela brings with her a B.S. in Organizational Leadership from Wright State University, where she cultivated an interest in mission-oriented leadership and people-focused business management.

    Michaela is a problem solver; she naturally seeks out opportunity for improvement, and finds joy in evolving processes and systems to improve how we work. She’s a lifelong learner, and values the diversity of Aileron’s team members, their perspectives, and how they come together to create an environment where everyone is always learning. And she loves a challenge; one of her favorite parts of her role is the variety of her day-to-day work, and the constant opportunity it presents to try something new or develop an emerging skill.

    When she's not on campus, Michaela is either planning her family's next fun adventure or vegging out at home with her husband Brian, son Braxton, and four rescue dogs.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at?

    “Recognizing and understanding other people’s perspectives—it’s really easy to think the way we naturally think, and live your life that way. But when you recognize how someone else thinks or feels and try to understand them, it helps you be a kinder person. That’s my goal, always.”

    What are the values that drive you?

    “Responsibility and concern for others. I feel responsible for working hard, but also for being kind to others and creating a positive environment around me.”

    Why Aileron?

    “It’s not like anywhere else. It’s a constant challenge with constant rewards. It’s always hard, and it’s always worth it.”

  • Wendy Vloedman
    Business Coach and Facilitator
    Wendy Vloedman
    Business Coach and Facilitator
    Wendy Vloedman began working with Aileron in 2008 as a facilitator for the President’s Roundtable, which has evolved into the Course for President’s Peer Group. She continues to work with the Aileron team to build and develop the organization’s internal Human Resources systems and practices and to add great talent to the staff. She currently facilitates the Course for President’s Peer Group and the Course for Managers, and she serves on a number of boards for privately held companies in addition to providing Executive Coaching for individual clients.
     
    She began her 23-year career with The Iams Company as a Territory Sales Representative in 1984 when the company’s staff numbered just over 100, while sales were less than $50 million annually. During her tenure with Iams and later, with Procter & Gamble when The Iams Company was acquired, Wendy moved through roles of sales management, sales training, training & development leadership, and human resources. She served as the Director of Iams University, a prototype of sorts for what would eventually become Aileron, and in 2000 she became the Human Resources leader for P&G Pet Care, a $1.7 billion subsidiary of Procter and Gamble. In that role, Wendy played an active role on the leadership team and spearheaded the integration of the organization’s practices, policies, and culture after The Iams Company was acquired in 1999.
     
    Wendy brings to privately held business owners her passion and expertise for people development, organizational strategy and change, culture, and performance management. Her deep roots and hands-on, practical experience in the fundamentals of professional management give her a unique perspective in assisting presidents and owners who are committed to establishing stronger professional management processes in their own companies.
     
    Wendy achieved her BS degree from Western Illinois University and is a certified P&G Executive Coach. For fun, she likes to cook, ride her horse, read, and create fabric art.
  • Eric Wiechart
    Business Coach and Leadership Coach
    Eric Wiechart
    Business Coach and Leadership Coach

    Eric is a Business Coach who, as a former business owner, deeply understands the unique challenges that come with entrepreneurial leadership; that perspective guides him as he coaches his clients towards their full potential. Prior to Aileron, Eric owned his company, All Service Glass, for 20 years before transitioning ownership to his daughter.

    Aileron’s conscious leadership principles align organically with Eric’s: He counts the gift of self-awareness among his unique strengths. Combined with empathy and natural curiosity, he’s passionate about understanding how a member’s business works so that they can take it into the future.

    Outside of work, Eric loves to spend time with wife, children, and grandchildren at their family lake house. He finds joy in giving back and enjoys serving his church as well as his local community.

    What’s something you’re constantly striving to get better at? 

    “Active listening. Staying curious in the moment is always a struggle for me, but I know it’s important for my growth.”

    What are the values that drive you? 

    “I think high-functioning relationships that last beyond transactional value can be meaningful and impactful. Having a thought partner can challenge you, lead you, caution you away from something. I’m also driven by the power of community. Being a small business owner can be a lonely process or lonely existence—at times you delegate to yourself and there isn’t anyone else you feel like you can talk to. Aileron offers a place, a process, and people to get rid of that loneliness and be part of a larger community that impacts the world.”

    Why Aileron? 

    “This is a unique place where folks can come together from all different business backgrounds to share the joy of creation and business. It’s a place where you can grow, be challenged, and be supported all at the same time. I think it’s so critical, to our overall culture as a country and as a people, to provide incentives that benefit our society and its participants.” 

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