The Courtney Howard Hodapp Leadership Award

As we’re getting ramped up with i.c.Stars|*Columbus, I am proud to announce an award we will be giving to a participant in each cycle. The “Courtney Howard Hodapp Leadership Award.” The award will be given to the person who best exemplifies the commitment to lead and support others during the cycle.

When you venture to do something new, you need some champions that will do more than they are asked to and need to. The asks and needs are seemingly endless. Certainly more than is reasonable to ask for someone to do. As part of bringing i.c.Stars to Columbus I found this champion, Courtney Howard Hodapp, with JPMorgan Chase.

Courtney was responsible for Chase's philanthropic efforts for Ohio when we first met. Courtney has since taken a new position at JPMorgan Chase which means she won’t be as involved with i.c.Stars|*Columbus as she has been. I wanted to come up with a way to recognize her contribution that would remind us all how much she has meant to us.

We first met about the Columbus startup ecosystem. JPMorgan Chase sponsored an analysis of Columbus' startup ecosystem which I was fortunate to be included in based on my and AWH's involvement in the startup community. You know when you meet someone for the first time and you sense you should get to know them better, because you will be better for knowing them? That was my sense of Courtney. My sense was right and then some. Courtney is one of the smartest, most engaging, and talented people anyone would have the privilege to know and work with.

Our first conversation after meeting was focused on the startup community in Columbus. Near the end of the conversation, I mentioned I was working to bring i.c.Stars to Columbus. We probably spent another hour talking about it. We had similar views on workforce development, so she was intrigued and began to dig into i.c.Stars. She wanted to know as much as she could about the model, the impact, and why it made sense for Columbus. She dug deep. So deep she:

  • Joined me in Chicago, along with Dan Sprehe, to visit the i.c.stars program personally.
  • Helped look at and evaluate spaces for us to initially call home.
  • Interviewed Executive Director candidates.
  • Evangelized i.c.Stars with many other funding & community partners facilitating us raising more funds to support our initial operations and making key partnerships.
  • Sponsored a grant from JPMorgan Chase to help fund operations over the first three years.

In addition to all of the above, Courtney became a friend and confidant. I and the entire i.c.Stars team will be forever grateful for Courtney’s commitment and support of who we are and our mission. The “Courtney Howard Hodapp Leadership Award” will be an ongoing reminder of all Courtney did for us. Thank You, Courtney.