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Read articles and learn more about the Cincinnati Chamber through our related news articles

Cincinnati Chamber Announces Liz Keating as VP of Government Affairs and Advocacy
Metro celebrates 50 years of impact – looks to the future
Recognize & Celebrate businesses & people

Great Living Cincinnatians: Honorees

Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.

Tom Cody

Awarded In 2013

Tom Cody is a person who doesn’t worry about who gets the credit, but cares deeply about what gets done.

Cody joined Federated Department Stores as senior vice president for Law and Public Affairs in 1982. In 1988, the company was loaded with debt and was forced into bankruptcy.

Over the next two years, Tom Cody devoted 90 percent of his time guiding the company through Chapter 11. In the end, Federated wrapped up what many considered the most complex bankruptcy in United States history on a breakneck schedule.

Soon after, Federated made one of Wall Street’s largest initial public offerings. The company then implemented an acquisition strategy that transformed it into one of the strongest department-store chains in America under the Macy’s nameplate. Tom Cody had his hand in every step along that path.

And increasingly, Cody and his wife Mary Ellen became embedded in a wide range of community organizations.

“It is really a privilege because people are letting you affect their lives,” said Tom Cody in a 2009 interview. “You’ve got to be very, very serious because when people open up that way, you’ve got to deliver.”

This combination of experience and passion made Tom Cody the perfect person to step into the midst of Cincinnati’s most difficult challenge in 40 years, the 2001 civil unrest.

Cody and Ross Love (named a Great Living Cincinnatian in 2009) went onto assume leadership of the Cincinnati Community Action Now Commission. Although tensions were high and the demands for immediate action were loud, the commission refused to focus on quick fixes or flashy announcements.

“We discovered that there is a cycle of need. We found out that absent some sort of intervention at an early age, people are caught in that cycle of failure,” said Cody.

Cody and Love pressed forward, methodically gathering hundreds of volunteers to lead and staff multiple committees dealing with health care, education, business, policing and the criminal justice system.

CAN made a lasting impact by promoting the adoption of Community Oriented Policing and the creation of the Minority Business Accelerator at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and Success By Six (funded by Macy’s in early years). Five years later, Tom Cody continued the work begun by CAN as the chair of the 2007 United Way Campaign.

In 2010, Tom Cody retired from Macy’s and went onto become the chairman of the board at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Although the stress of bankruptcies and responsibility to help a community heal may exhaust some people, fortunately Tom Cody believes “It makes you alive.”

Nominate a Great Living Cincinnatian

Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization