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Heather Whaling honored as 2017 NAWBO Columbus Visionary

The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Columbus chapter, is proud to announce Heather Whaling, President of Geben Communication, as the 2017 Visionary Award Honoree.

Ms. Whaling launched Geben Communication in 2009 in Columbus, OH with the intention of being a market disruptor in the PR industry, and has since added Chicago and Seattle operations to her award-winning operations and grown to nearly 30 employees. Prior to starting Geben Communication, Ms. Whaling built her expertise and her professional credibility through working with other PR firms. She approached starting her business, however, with the idea that it would be a vehicle to allow her to do good. You can see this reinforced on her company website when she says, “We don’t just want to be successful. We want to be impactful.”

That impact is demonstrated in several ways: to clients through the work that they do putting many of their for-profit and non-profit clients on lists of “firsts,” to communities in which the company operates through supporting quarterly service projects, and to employees through paid volunteer time and initiating paid parental leave, a benefit that is nearly non-existent among employers the size of Geben Communication. Ms. Whaling is so committed to giving that the name of her company reflects this commitment; Geben means “to give” in German.

Geben Communication’s continued growth has allowed for more benefits for both clients and employees, which continues to contribute to the company’s growth, visibility, and reputation in the PR industry and among women business owners. As a result of Geben Communication’s efforts, and specifically in recognition of Ms. Whaling’s focus on paternal and maternal leave policies, she has been highlighted in Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Refinery 29, as well as invited to discuss her efforts with organizations such as the Center for American Progress, the National Partnership for Women & Families, The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, and the Small Business Majority. Former Texas State Senator and Millennial women activator Wendy Davis have also recognized these contributions and what changes they can drive in all businesses.

“It is no easy thing to select the Visionary finalists from the many applications we receive,” said Catherine Lang-Cline of Portfolio Creative. “We have so many innovative, intelligent, creative, and successful women business owners in this community. Narrowing it down on an annual basis to one Honoree is like deciding among a few highly-qualified candidates for a key position in your company. This year we had three such Visionary Finalists, each a leader, a trailblazer, and an innovator within her own industry.

Also recognized at this year’s Visionary Gala was State Representative Dorothy Pelanda (R – Marysville) as the Women’s Business Champion for her sponsorship and support of the micro-entrepreneur, and Michelle Casper as the 2016 NAWBO Columbus Member of the Year, Partner with SmithAmundsen.

About the Visionary Awards: In its 20th year, the NAWBO Columbus Visionary Award is bestowed upon a local woman business owner who has achieved success with her business while making notable contributions to her community, her industry, and to initiatives for other women in business. NAWBO Columbus hosts this coveted award as a prestigious way to recognize and showcase the amazing women who not only own and operate businesses that are vital to Ohio’s economy, but also find time and resources to identify needs and drive social change.

NAWBO Columbus held its Visionary Awards Gala on June 9 to recognize Whaling, and two others: Kerri Mollard (Mollard Consulting) and Jill Medley (The Learning Spectrum).