The Daily Times prides itself on its community projects that highlight the many stunning facets of Scioto County and surrounding areas. Every year, one of these features includes some of the most prominent women in business. This year is no exception, with dozens of women showcased, from Positively Portsmouth’s Leigh Anne Smith to Shawnee Mental Health’s Cynthia Holstein.
While highlighting the standout women in business this year, the women staff members of the Daily Times will also receive some limelight for the work they do behind the scenes to make sure things go smoothly and the presses run as planned.
Publisher Hope R. Comer has been in office since April and, in her short time, has worked with management to redefine the product. With a deep love of her home, and seven years of working for the publication, she has striven to print the news that needs to be covered, but not letting it take over the good of the community.
“I am proud of what my staff has already accomplished and I look forward to our future growth.” Comer said. “My goal is to provide the community with the latest local news, events, features and products valuable to our communities.”
Some of the new additions, her team has worked into the paper include weekly features, such as Scioto County’s Most Wanted, Know Where to Go, TV Week, a revamped business section, color comics, and more. The Times has also given you seven-day coverage, with the revival of the Monday edition, an enhanced weekend edition on Saturday, and the Sunday edition of the Community Common.
“We just want to produce the best possible product for our readers and area businesses,” Comer said. “Everyone in the office has been working together to implement our recent changes and I feel good about the direction we have taken.”
When looking at successful women in the community to write about, Comer said it only seemed natural to also highlight the women who bring the Daily Times and Community Common to the stands every day.
“Since I have a passion for being involved in the community, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of new people, but I know I have some of the best women in the area working with me,” Comer said.
When Comer isn’t running the community publications, she is a dedicated Falcon and mother of two daughters and one son. She is also a member of Portsmouth Rotary, Chamber of Commerce (Portsmouth and Pike County) and attends Minford Community Church.
Tracy Ison is the senior media consultant for the Daily Times and Community Common. Ison began her work with the company in 2000, as an employee of the Community Common. She transferred with the company in 2008 and became an employee of both publications. Prior to her 15 years in media, Ison worked in community service.
When Ison isn’t working, she enjoys her Sundays at Madison Missionary Baptist Church and assisting her community as president of Lucasville Kiwanis. In the past, she has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland.
Ison has two children, Sean and Selby, and a granddaughter, Laylan.
Ison says she enjoys traveling and learning new things, as well as cooking and reading.
Sharon Cassidy is a media sales consultant and has been with the Daily Times and Community Common for nine years. Cassidy explained that she has been dedicated to the community, accommodating the ever changing market.
Cassidy is married to husband Daniel Cassidy. The Cassidys have two sons, Shane and Brandon, as well as two dogs.
Her extra time is spent involved in many hobbies, two of her favorites include reading and shopping. She also enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren, Emily, Grace, Logan, Avery, Josh, and Brooke.
Michelle Bentley is the one of the newest additions to the media consultant team of both the Daily Times and Community Common. She joined February of 2014 and has learned the ropes quickly in order to help many businesses get their stories told.
When she isn’t working, she is assisting the Southern Ohio Autism Project and the Challenger League. Bentley also enjoys reading and creative writing. She has been involved in local creative magazines and enjoys short stories and poetry the most.
She married her husband, Justin Bentley, in 1999, and they have built a family with three children and three dogs.
“The best thing about working for the Daily Times and Community Common is helping new businesses become established in our community,” Bentley said. “The field of advertising it the perfect place to marry my knowledge of business and my desire to be creative.”
Linda Phipps works in the circulation department, where she has been since June of 2014. Phipps enjoys working with the public and bettering the relation between customers and the newspaper. Phipps is the jack of all trades in the office and is always there to lend a hand to anyone who needs help getting something done.
She has three children and one grandson. Outside of the office, Phipps participates in ministry work, helping those in recovery and assisting victims of domestic violence. She is a member of the River, a church in Southfield, Michigan, under Pastor Marlin J. Reid, where she plans to relocate.
Phipps also enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and having dinner parties with her friends.
Ciara Rae Williams is a customer service representative and student at Shawnee State University, where she studies comparative literature, with a minor in creative writing.
“I remember touring the newspaper in the sixth grade, back when the press was functional,” Williams said. “I was mesmerized. I spent hours hunched over books, reading. The phrase, ‘Rae, get your nose out of that book,’ was uttered an innumerable amount of times in my household.”
Williams said when she is not at work or class, which is hardly ever, she enjoys reading trashy non-scholarly novels, attending concerts, and looking at cute pictures of dogs with her boyfriend, Ryan.
Portia Williams has been staff writer for the Daily Times since 2012. She covers church and Kentucky news, as well as a few Ohio townships. She also covers topics of family values and life skills through her columns.
She is the wife of Mark Williams and mother of three children, Michah, Jori and Pajah.
“I thoroughly enjoy working as a content producer for the Daily Times. Not only do I have the opportunity to interact with people, something that I love to do, but I have been blessed to work with a great newsroom team, and company of great people,” Portia Williams said.
Portia Williams has been interested in news and journalism since age 11.
“At age 11, I became deeply interested in the news, and enjoyed watching the evening news of anchors such as Angela Pace and Jerry Revish, who still appear nightly on WBNS 10TV news cast,” she said.
Portia Williams currently serves on the Scioto County Community Action Board, is a member of the Scioto County Ministerial Association, is a member of the Northend Community Choir, and serves as an associate minister, trustee and joint board member of Pleasant Green Baptist Church. In the past, she has been involved with numerous efforts in the Portsmouth City Schools system, Business and Professional Women, 14th Street Community Center Board, and a host of other activities.
Kathy Venturino has been a cornerstone of the Daily Times for 22 years as an accounting clerk. She has many roles in the company and makes sure all paperwork and finances are in order.
“Kathy isn’t a demanding person, and she doesn’t need a lot of praise, but we would be at a loss without her years of experience there to guide us along the way,” Comer said, in regard to Venturino.
Megan Keaton has been a sales media consultant since November and is the newest to the team. She is the daughter of Gene and Jill Walters, who she says have always been supportive of her. She has studied biblical counseling and is a volunteer at Rejoice in Recovery and International Justice Mission.
Keaton attends Christ Community Church, where her partner, Matt Rawlings, is a teaching pastor.
In her free time, she enjoys playing with her favorite niece, Carter Brooke, and her dog, Cricket.
For additional features on standout women in the community, turn to pages A6 and A7.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.