Grace Wakulchik to be Honored as the 2021 Spirit of Women in Business Award recipient

KENT, Ohio – The Kent State University College of Business Administration announces Grace Wakulchik MBA ’96, President and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital, as the 2021 Spirit of Women in Business award winner.

The 10th annual Spirit of Women in Business conference hosted by the Kent State College of Business Administration will take place virtually at 11 a.m. on Fridays throughout the month of March. Wakulchik will be honored during the March 19 event.

“We look forward to honoring accomplished leader and Kent State MBA alumnus Grace Wakulchik at this year’s conference,”. said Deborah F. Spake, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business Administration. “Grace’s numerous contributions to the advancement of children’s healthcare in our region and her involvement with the local business community are worthy of recognition.” 

Wakulchik is only the third president of Akron Children’s Hospital, and the first woman in the role. She joined Akron Children’s Hospital in 1992, holding nursing and hospital leadership roles until being named Chief Nursing Officer. In that position, Wakulchik helped the hospital secure its first American Nurses Credentialing Center designation as a Magnet hospital for nursing excellence.

Wakulchik was then named Chief Operation Officer of the hospital, overseeing a period of significant growth and change including the installation of the Epic electronic health record system and MyChart online patient portal, the construction of the Kay Jewelers Pavilion and Considine Professional Building expansion on the hospital’s Akron campus, the expansion of Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley Beeghly campus in Boardman and extensive program and regional growth to bring primary and specialty care closer to families throughout northern Ohio.

Wakulchik is a member of the board of directors of Akron Children’s Hospital and the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and serves as Chairperson of the boards of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce, Development Finance Authority, Akron Regional Hospital Association and the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association. She is a past member of the board of directors for the Healthcare Executives Association of Northeast Ohio and the Blue Ribbon Committee for the City of Akron. She is also a past appraiser for the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program. She was named one of the 2018 Notable Women in Healthcare by Crain's Cleveland Business, a recognition that honors female leaders who are blazing a trail for other women in health care, a top industry in northeast Ohio. She most recently received the Athena Award in 2019.

Wakulchik earned bachelor’s degrees in nursing and sociology from Case Western Reserve University in 1979 and 1978, respectively; a Master’s degree in nursing from Case Western Reserve University in 1982 and a Master’s degree in business administration from Kent State University in 1996.

View Wakulchik's acceptance speech here

The 10th annual Spirit of Women in Business conference will bring together women from diverse professional backgrounds to honor and empower women in business. The conference will begin on March 5 with a keynote address from Tasha Eurich, New York Times bestselling author of “Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think.” Additional speakers include Jamie Maniloff, Assistant Manager, Chevrolet Global Content Operations on March 12; Rose Crane, Member, Board of Directors of Teva Pharmaceuticals and Member, Board of Directors of Catalent Pharma Solutions on March 19 and Michelle Settecase, Associate Director, EY on March 26.

The events are free and open to the public, but registration is requested. For more information on the Spirit of Women in Business conference, visit

Kent State College of Business Administration

The Kent State College of Business Administration holds dual accreditation from AACSB and is one of only 185 business schools worldwide to achieve accreditation in both business and accounting.

The College offers numerous graduate business degree options including highly ranked Executive, Online and Full-time MBA programs; five dual degree graduate programs; a Master of Arts in Economics; a Master of Science in Accounting; online and in-person Master of Science in Business Analytics programs and a comprehensive Ph.D. program.

The Online MBA program with a concentration in business analytics ranks #25 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2021 and the Online MBA ranks as a Best Online Program by U.S. News & World Report in 2021. In addition, the Online MBA program is ranked #26 by The Princeton Review for 2021, #1 in Ohio by MBA Central in 2019 and #46 in the QS global ranking in 2020. All of Kent State’s online MBA core courses have earned Quality Matters certification.


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POSTED: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - 12:15pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 26, 2021 - 4:21pm