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SummaCare Launches Lift Up Local Mentorship Program for Ohio Businesses

Posted September 15, 2022 by Michelle Bisson | Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Since our founding in 1990, one of SummaCare’s core commitments has been to partner with the community. While celebrating the 25th anniversary of our Medicare Advantage Plans in 2021, SummaCare looked for a way to both honor that commitment and to also inspire and support a local small business via a mentorship project called Lift Up Local.

What began as a project to improve and refocus small businesses’ marketing efforts and training, has evolved into an annual community enrichment program to help these companies stand out and succeed. 

SummaCare’s first Business of the Year recipient, Safety Training Group USA (STGUSA), a small, woman-owned business dedicated to preventing workplace tragedies through proper safety training, was partnered with Akron-based integrated marketing firm Knox Marketing to identify its business goals and revamp its digital presence and marketing materials.

In addition to a new logo, STGUSA received a rebranded and optimized website and social media pages and a capabilities brochure. Knox also worked with STGUSA President, Mandy Forlina, on the benefits of new and emerging search engine and digital marketing strategies to maximize the company’s overall visibility within the Ohio business community.

“It’s amazing that SummaCare extended their resources to lift up a local company,” said Mandy. “I think being seen and heard in a digital world is hard because there’s no guidebook. I needed help with sales, I needed the phone to ring, I needed a new way to capture business.”

STGUSA’s new branding and content gives employers a snapshot of what differentiates the company from its competitors. One big way STGUSA stands out is by being a credentialed woman-owned business.

As a result of SummaCare’s help and Mandy’s determination, STGUSA not only has new customers, but its online reach has also greatly increased.

“Our Facebook page reach has grown over 77,000%, our LinkedIn page reach has grown over 960% and our LinkedIn impressions have grown over 200%,” said Mandy Forlina.

Although Lift Up Local was initially intended as a one-time mentorship project, SummaCare made the decision to formalize the program. Each year, SummaCare and its partners will mentor a small business on the value of enhanced marketing and communications efforts. 

As a company that began with two, local businesses working together to improve the lives of those in the community, the evolution of Lift Up Local continues SummaCare’s mission by spreading goodwill and assistance to other businesses working to achieve great things for Ohioans.

“I’m so appreciative of SummaCare’s commitment to lifting up local businesses to allow us to serve our communities better together,” said Mandy. “There’s not enough gratitude that I can articulate to express my thanks.”

SummaCare is currently accepting applications for the 2023 Lift Up Local Business of the Year. Ohio businesses can submit their application or learn more about the requirements at The application deadline is December 31, 2022. Any applications received after that date will automatically be entered in the 2024 application pool.

Lift Up Local Selection Criteria

  • Nominated small businesses must be in their first 24 months of operation and located in Ohio.
  • “Small business” is defined as a company with fewer than 10 employees.
  • Businesses with a focus on health and wellness, safety, community outreach/benefit, non-profit organizations or diverse/minority-owned are preferred.
  • Businesses who are seeking support in marketing, communications and public relations are preferred.