Local leader Mary Cusick has been honored as part of the YWCA Women of Achievement class of 2010.

Local leader Mary Cusick has been honored as part of the YWCA Women of Achievement class of 2010.

Cusick, the immediate past president of the German Village Society and the senior vice president of restaurant marketing for Bob Evans Farms, is part of the 25th class of the Women of Achievement, which has honored more than 200 women for their contributions throughout the years.

Cindy Lazarus, president and chief executive officer of the YWCA, said the Women of Achievement award honors women who have benefited the community in significant ways.

"It started with the YWCA recognizing the value and need of the community to recognize and celebrate the contributions of women," she said. "Originally, it was a relatively small event with women meeting after work to recognize different women who have made significant contributions to the community."

Since its start, Lazarus said, the Women of Achievement program has gained a broader audience to further carry into the community the message of leadership and giving.

Other 2010 Women of Achievement award recipients include Lisa Hinson, president of Hinson Public Relations; Teresa Long, Columbus Public Health commissioner; Linda Stoverock, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of patient-care services for Nationwide Children's Hospital; Tei Street, Franklin County and statewide minority liaison for the Ohio Secretary of State's Office and founder of StreetTalk; and Audrey Tuckerman, first vice president of investments for Merrill Lynch.

Lazarus said she is proud to honor Cusick's service to the community.

"Mary has been the face of Bob Evans in the community for as long as I can remember," she said. "One of the things the selection committee found notable about her is the length of her service."

Lazarus said the 19-member selection committee was comprised of past members of Women of Achievement classes, YWCA board members, community representatives and representatives from The Columbus Dispatch, the Limited Brands Foundation and Honda, the program's three major sponsors.

In addition to working with Bob Evans, Cusick has served as on the board of Action for Children, a nonprofit organization that supports early childhood learning, and the Public Relations Society of America.

Cusick also is the co-founder of the Women of Bob Evans and a founding member of Seven Generations Circle of Women, which helps support the work of Action for Children through philanthropy.

She also is an advisory board member for Crimson Cup Coffee and the former co-chair of Celebration of Learning, a fundraiser through the Columbus Foundation that helps support the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

She worked to fundraise for Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Ohio 4-H Foundation.

"Mary has been one of the most ardent, consistent and staunch supporters of the YWCA," Lazarus said. "We saw (her) work very much tied to our mission."

Cusick said she is honored to receive the distinction.

"It's a tremendous privilege and an honor to have a chance to be recognized," she said. "I think it honestly is a reflection of so many people in the community that I've had a chance to know."

She also said she hopes the honor would help bring more attention to the issues she champions.

"It's a chance for those issues to be in the forefront," Cusick said.

Cusick and the other five honorees will be recognized during the YWCA's 25th anniversary luncheon April 7 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. For more information, visit www.ywcacolumbus.org.

gmartineau@thisweeknews.com