Press Release
Posted October 31, 2017

Lorain County Community College hosted The New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner, Thomas Friedman, as part of the Roy and Bobbi Church Visionary Leadership Speaker Series on Monday, October 30 in the Spitzer Conference Center. More than 300 local leaders attended the breakfast.

Friedman discussed how nearly half of today’s jobs will not exist by 2050 and that technology continues to outpace human nature’s ability to adapt. This is creating an environment where it is critical for communities to come together and support those who are feeling left behind, Friedman said.

He frequently highlighted communities that are rising from the bottom up, in contrast to the many that he said are collapsing from the top down. The key to being part of the former group, he said, is the ability for communities to create complex adaptive coalitions. His full analysis is in his latest book, “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Acceleration.”

LCCC is embedded in the community in a way to create a complex adaptive coalition by way of connecting philanthropy, education, business and government, Friedman said. Working from the ground-up, communities can create positive futures for themselves, he said.

“As the community’s college, we inherently play a critical role in this region’s future,” said LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D. She continued, “We uphold our vision to empower a thriving community – which includes helping people to not only adapt, but to thrive.”

Following Friedman’s keynote, a panel of local leaders discussed how to apply Friedman’s global concepts here in Northeast Ohio. Panel members included Dr. Roy Church, President Emeritus of LCCC; Deborah Hoover, President and CEO of Burton D. Morgan Foundation; Randell McShephard, Vice President of Public Affairs at PRM International; and Fred Pond, President of Ridge Tool Company, Inc.

The panel was moderated by Dustin Klein, Chief Operating Officer and Publisher of Smart Business Network, Inc. Their discussion centered on ways that collaboration from industry, higher education and philanthropy are fostering innovative solutions to today’s challenges.

About the Roy and Bobbi Church Visionary Leadership Institute
In honor of Church’s 30 years of service as president of Lorain County Community College, the Lorain County Community College Foundation created The Roy and Bobbi Church Visionary Leadership Institute in 2016 to bring the nation’s top thought leaders to the Lorain County community. Friedman was the second speaker in the annual series. Michael Porter, professor at Harvard Business School, was the keynote speaker at the inaugural event in 2016.
For more information on the Roy and Bobbi Church Visionary Leadership Institute, visit The entire broadcast of the event can be viewed at