Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton
Chief Executive Officer, Dream/Catcher Educational Consulting Service

Jerry_Sue_ThorntonWhen compiling the list of accomplished and influential women business leaders to include in their new book Uplifting Leaders* (*Who Happen to be Women), Barb Brown and Margie Flynn turned to one of Cleveland’s most distinguished and well-respected female leaders—Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton.

The candid advice and insights she offers in Uplifting Leaders are not only actionable, but also inspiring.

“My dad used to say, ‘There’s no elevator to the top. It’s one step at a time.’ So whenever I skip the elevator and take the stairs, I think about that. I say to myself, ‘It’s one step at a time…one step at a time,’” she says in the book.

“I believe this is something young professionals need to be mindful of—I’m not sure they see those steps. They’re looking for the elevator.”

Dr. Thornton served as president of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) from 1992 until retiring as president emeritus in 2013.

UpliftingLeaders_quote21Today, she runs Dream/Catcher Educational Consulting Service, a consulting firm that provides coaching and professional development for newly selected college and university presidents.

Before joining Cuyahoga Community College, Dr. Thornton served as president of Lakewood Community College in Minnesota from 1985 to 1991. She also held several senior-level leadership positions at Triton College (Illinois).

In 2011, Dr. Thornton was appointed co-chair of the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, a national task force convened by the American Association of Community Colleges.

She currently serves on the boards of University Hospitals Health System and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. She serves on several corporate boards including FirstEnergy Corporation, Applied Industrial Technologies, Inc., Barnes and Noble Education, Inc., and Republic Powdered Metals, Inc. (RPM, Inc.).

She was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1999 and recognized annually by Northern Ohio Live as one of the Top Women Professionals. She received the American Association of Community Colleges Leadership Award in 2014.


To learn more about Uplifting Leaders, visit www.UpliftingLeaders.com.

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