We are asking business, government and community leaders to judge a handful of  essays and grade them on a scorecard that we will provide. Scoring will occur from the end of February through the month of March.

Click on each line to expand.

    • What kind of time commitment is involved with being a judge?

    Hopefully not too much! Judges receive at least 10 one-page essays, requiring maybe 5-10 minutes each to read and decide if they pass to round two or not. The actual number depends on how many students enter and how many judges sign up. If you want fewer essays, just let us know and we can make that happen. Or if you read the first batch and enjoy it, we'll put out a call for anyone that is willing to continue judging in round two.

    Our post-contest survey last year asked “How much total time did you spend reviewing essays for the contest this year?” Here are their responses, which indicate that most people spent a total of less than 3 hours:

                Less than 1 hour         4%

                1-2 hours                     37.5%

                2-3 hours                     46%

                4-5 hours                     12.5%

                More than 5 hours       0%

    • How many essays does each judge read and how are they scored?

    Depending on the number of judges and the number of essays we receive, each judge can expect 10-20 one-page essays to read. Essays are be provided electronically and scored using an online program. In round one, each essay is given a pass/no-pass score based on being satisfactory in four out of five criteria (we provide this). We’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to access essays and provide their scores. If any of this is inconvenient, we would be happy to work with you to ensure a good experience (i.e. providing hard copies of essays or score sheets).

    By signing up as a judge, you are only committing to judging in round one. Based on what you think of that experience, you may choose to continue reading essays for round two in the second half of March. Round two volunteers will be given additional essays and asked to assign a numeric score to them using a provided rubric. We plan to hold 2 conference calls before judging begins to introduce ourselves, go over any details or updates, and answer questions.

    • When does the essay reading/judging begin and end?

    The essay submission deadline is February 21st. For 2 weeks, starting February 23rd, 2018, we’ll have the first round of judging. All essays will be delivered electronically and can be read at home. Round two of judging

    • Will students know who is judging their essay?

    Both the judges and the students are anonymous to each other. Judges have the option to provide their name, if they so desire, during round two when feedback can be offered to students. Student anonymity is important to the integrity of the contest, so judges will only have knowledge of the students’ grade level during the judging process.

    • I have a question that isn’t answered here. Whom should I contact?
    • I’m ready to sign up. What should I do?

Thank you to the following people that have signed up to be a judge
for this year's 3rd Annual We Solve Problems Essay Contest:

Name Company and Title Words from the Judges Interesting Things about Their Career
Jeff Hoffman Global Speaker and Co-Founder of priceline.com
Brandon E. Chrostowski EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute, Founder – President – CEO
Daniel Fritz Orange Village Fire Department
Christine Weiss Neighbors Magazine
Susan Morgan Millcraft - Corporate Projects Manager
Sheree Gravely Gravely Group College Advising Writing is a lifelong skill and represents you in so many situations. Just like you take time to find the right clothes and get the right haircut, take the time to learn to be a good writer and practice the skill! I love working with high school students as they navigate their college admissions process.
Kathleen Bliss Goldfarb Make every word count toward your content & solution. Clarity of your problem statement & an "implementable" solution is everything. Be open to career growth & reinvention because this is only the beginning!
Suzanne Seifert North Coast Community Homes, CEO Write as honestly as you can and people will respond! I have been everything from a bouncer to a CEO
Charlotte Brett Charlotte Brett, Freelance Writer Don't worry about trying to get your essay nailed on the first try. Let ideas flow first. As a wife and mother of four children, I enjoy the flexibility that freelance writing offers.
Kyle Miller Dominion Energy - External Affairs Words matter. I've served in 3 congressional offices and the most important leadership quality is effective communications.
Vadim Kleyner Smartland
Johnny Brewington Woodmere Fire Department Fire Chief Voltaire "Writing is the painting of the voice." Molly Williams was the first recorded woman to serve as a firefighter in an official capacity in New York City in 1815.
Eric Diamond Westporte Capital Consultants - President Write your own truth and the rest is easy. I help communities reinvent themselves using entrepreneurship.
Kathleen Valerio First Federal Lakewood / Mortgage Loan Originator
Jeff Griff Lowe's Greenhouse and Gift Shop Pres.
Stacy Bauer BauerGriffith, LLC
Stephen Bales Ziegler Metzger LLP Managing Partner
Yocheved Belsky ClearSquare Group, LLC
Jorge Zapata TurningMode LLC Partner
Maureen Foster Proof!
Janice Radak Freelance Rudyard Kipling was right: Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. I once wrote a proclamation that President Bill Clinton read in the Rose Garden.
Cheryl Cameron Highway Garage, Marketing Manager
Carrie Hawk Carrie Hawk (Chagrin Valley Little Theatre)
Julie Hanahan Traill Communications LLC, President "If I waited until I felt like writing, I'd never write at all." -Anne Tyler
Erina Calder A Comfortable Mind, LLC. Owner Be generous with the world. Share your perspective! A central part of Life Coaching is becoming crystal clear about the difference between thoughts, feelings and facts.
Bill Davis ARC Media Co., Web Developer "The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe." Like so many things in life, developing web applications and building websites is just the artful organization of words.
Liz Bencivenni ARC Media Co. "No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." - Robin Williams I create content and tell stories to help small businesses reach their customers as efficiently as possible.
Mike Roberts Orange Police Department
Katherine Malmquist Branch Manager, Chagrin Falls & Gates Mills Branch Libraries
Rebecca Tench Hilton Worldwide - Director of Sales Writing is a skill that requires practice, otherwise you'll lose it. It is not like riding a bike! I grew up dreaming of being a lawyer, but realized when I was 23 that I was meant for the hospitality world.
Julie Liedtke Cuyahoga County Public Library-Orange Branch Manager
Stephen Werber Professor of Law Emeritus, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Mary Ann Breisch Ther is nothing as powerful as being able to tell a good story. I never planned on being a executive director - I just tried to pay attention to opportunities where I thought I might make a difference.
James Cozzarin Senior Editor, ProEd Communications, Inc. Write from the heart first, then revise! I was a junior high and high school English teacher (back when dinosaurs ruled the earth)!
Abbie Leska Cuyahoga Title Services, Ltd Attorney
Dave Strahl CertaPro Painters of Chagrin Falls, Owner Writing should be used to illuminate. Stay on point.
Christi George CZG Publishing LLC Create a concise thesis, prove it with your argument and support material, summarize argument. Started as a writer, spent 30 years in chemical industry in sales, now a publisher
Bruce Corson Patient Computer Help for Grown Ups; President Write like you speak...but speak well. Started my company at age 56.
Mireille Wozniak-Michalak Petiole HR, LLC and President/HR Advisor
Nancy Rogoff Nancy Rogoff Attorney at Law
Shannon Taylor Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Owner
Lynn Hardacre University Hospitals, Associate General Counsel
Marilyn Anderson  
Maureen Huefner   Writing is a powerful tool to be developed and used throughout your entire life. I am a retired educator having taught Italian in the Mayfield city school system.
Pam Turos Good Cause Creative, Founder & Managing Partner Shared stories have the power to change the world. I was a social worker for 15 years before I started helping non-profit organizations put their mission into words.
Jeri Raymer
Brenda Cain   Don't over-think or inflate your writing, write as if you are telling a friend. In addition to being a newspaper reporter for too many years, I have taught 8th Grade English and worked as a PR rep for NASCAR
Brenan Rucker Chagrin Valley Jaycees / Treasurer    
Karen Garfinkel PCM - Sr Client Support Specialist
James Lawniczak James M. Lawniczak, of counsel, Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP shorter and simpler is usually better I am a writer too.
K. James Sullivan Partner; Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP    
Cindy Menta Gertsburg Law Firm- Law Clerk
Chris Ickes Ickes Software Consulting Written communication is increasingly important in today's digital world. Recently launched a product while flying over the Rocky Mountains
Elizabeth Brooks Co-Founder, Nimble Services LLC
Jeff Barlow Nimble Services
Ali Hively Kijia - Founder Be confident in who you and what you say! My career is about helping people overcome obstacles that get in the way of them becoming their best self.
Mark Hauserman Your creativity will lead you to the solution to these issues I developed the nationally ranked entrepreneurship program at John Carroll University
Brad Pethel Mathnasium of Beachwood - Owner / Learning Director
Eric Golubitsky viperks    
Carol Davis viperks - Vp of Software Engineering
Betsy Coholan viperks-eCommerce Merchandiser
Jared Rube viperks - Strategic Initiatives  
Brian Pender Fairway Healthcare Partners, President    
Erin Oddis Hotcards- COT/Community Relations   I work for the greatest company in Cleveland!
Wesley Donoghue William Grossman insurance agent Health Markets Organize your points expand your vocabulary I helped start BonJour Jeans and LA Gear Sportswear
Nadine Ezzie LeasePilot, Director of Customer Success
Marla Moss viperks
Brittany Hillyer Eidam Sugar Me Desserterie, Co-Owner Being able to thoroughly and effectively communicate (verbally/written) is a skill that will get you farther in life than you can imagine. We have the pleasure of being a part of so many wonderful celebrations. It’s the best part of the job.
Emily Stangl Hemlock Landscapes, Administrative Manager Try going one day without writing something, it's near impossible! From emails, to text messages, Instagram captions, and, of course, essays, writing is a powerful and vital tool. I have yet to use Algebra.
Julie Conrad Be mindful of your audience when writing. The point you are trying to communicate is only effective if it resonates with the person who is reading your writing.
Oleg Kislyansky North Coast Auto Mall VP of Sales Good writing requires focus and thoughtfulness.  
Meg Lynch   Be concise but creative Former English teacher, Corporate Trainer, current elementary aide for special needs
Kristina Morgan Rose Appropriate written communication is a crucial skill set Labor relations work requires a lot of negotiations. You learn a lot about identifying other people's interests and motivations.
Chelsea Whitman-Rush I am a former journalist and corporate writer.
Gregory Glick Gregory R. Glick Co., LPA, Attorney    
Bryan Schwartz   Formal writing need not be boring writing. I once spent 2 weeks in an Italian factory deposing witnesses via interpreters.
Margot Anthonisen SCORE, Mentor Don't hide who you are. Let your heart do the writing. I am a pediatric occupational therapist and love every moment when with the children. I taught OT at Colorado State University and was so enlightened by the students. My avocation has been purchasing real estate for rental purposes.
Mike Hetman Corrie Menary, Principal, Kirtland Capital Partners Writing complete thoughts is critical in business. Do not discount the written word just because you live in a world of texting I get to invest in interesting businesses throughout the US
Kimberly Martin  
Emily Honsa Hicks KeyBank NA, Compliance Analyst The best writing comes from personal experience. I have found meaning in tons of different career opportunities.
Stephanie Colant
Linda Debernardi Linda M Debernardi, Attorney At Law
Jennifer Stephan Vice President, Broadview Analytics    
Amy Gulas Teacher, Heart of Valley Christian Preschool
Kelly Lawrence Keep it simple. I got to argue a case in the Ohio Supreme Court with my DAD! And we got a reversal. And my dad's fly was down at oral argument
Amy Bohnsack RiPT Fitness; co-owner  
Michael Lichterman
John Liber Thrasher, Dinsmore & Dolan - Attorney Be sure to read out loud what you have written. If it doesn't make sense when you hear it, it will not make sense on paper. Former Assistant State Attorney for Miami Florida
Heather Grice Lantern of Chagrin Valley, EA to CEO
Cindy Alekna Orange City School District-Food Service Supervisor
Dixie Singer Yours Truly Restaurants, President
Nancy Rogoff
Gaty Bauer Be yourself when writing and avoid guessing what the judges are seking. Life Coaching is a second career for ma after many years in IT Management Consulting.
Lee McClain Orange City School Teacher (Brady Middle School) When you write, you wield a power so great that it might possibly change the world. The written word is the foundation of civilization. My 7th grade students keep me busy and happy!
Marnie Fletcher Third Grade Teacher and Plum City Designs Owner & Designer Use your words to change the world for the better.
Maggie Sprinkle Orange Schools - Kindergarten Teacher
Rob Schurr
Kyle Kopecky
Tricia Vidovic I love that I have the opportunity everyday to help families and professionals every day find the resources that they need in order to be successul and supported.
Stacia Clawson Be as clear and concise as possible. Don't add flowery words or language you would not normally use. People can tell when your writing is not authentic.  
Kim Skala Skala Insurance Agency LLC Quality vs. Quantity Every day is different and I get to help people protect what's most important to them every day!
Melissa Baker M.S. CCC-SLP Chagrin Valley Speech Therapy Services, LLC Owner/Speech-Language Pathologist "The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart." - Maya Angelou "The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart" - Maya Angelou
Rachel A. Margulis, CPA/PFS Fairport Asset Management, Advisor
Sean McCreary R43 Limited - Creative Development/Writer/
Kate McCreary Case Western Reserve University, Assoc. Dir., Marketing and Communications for The Alumni Association I worked in animation at The Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California, for eight years.
Roxanne Miller Humanistic Counseling Center, Director Active verbs make writing more lively! I empower people to make their lives better.
Carrie Heppner The Neighborhood Office. Owner
Mary Clyde Toomey Clyde Interiors - President
Megan Dye Hotcards, Executive Administrative Assistant
Tami Tam DYNAMIX GROUP LLC - Executive Search Consultant The Executive Search business is all about connecting companies and talented individuals.
Kathryn Rahz Store Manager, Starbucks
Carolyn Yeager Animal Care Specialty Group, Inc. President/Owner Write in a manner which will cause readers to think twice about the subject With this business I have had the opportunity to travel nationwide through networking
Dee Dee Pearce Teaching was my passion!
Bill Shankland Bill the Bartender, Proprietor
Melanie Maloney Small Business Consultant Writing is a fabulous way to thoroughly explore and express your opinions. Well-thought-out, fully-informed opinions are critical for society to function effectively. Keep learning and be willing to jump on opportunities. Those attributes served me well in a successful corporate career as well as in the start-up world.
Cory Kwait ReMax Traditions, Realtor Writing is a great way to communicate with words on paper. Meeting people from all over the world with different jobs and needs; and to help them with their housing needs.
Kenneth Okeson Corespondence in business is so important. You must be able to communicate with you customers, peers and superiors in a well educated manner. i obtained a BS degree, spent 4 years in the Navy on a nuclear submarine and 37 years in the insurance business. Also, many years as a volunteer in the non-profit sector
Joe Paris Orange City Schools - 8th grade LA teacher "Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little." (Tom Stoppard) Students, nudge your world a little! It is so rewarding to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people, to inspire them, to counsel them, etc. I feel blessed.
Kurt Ingersoll The Hills at Home, Administrator
Joshua Wallace The Hill Group Healthcare Management, Inc.
Gillian Harris The Gertsburg Law Firm, Paralegal (Writing) is the best way to document the history of your thoughts I worked my way up in publishing/media for 20 years and finally started my own business when I way 49
Heidi Spangler Backwards Bicycling, Owner    
Chuck Valenches TPI Efficiency, Senior Consultant Style & Pace. I consider the ability to make a coherent argument or case essential. I was a minor league broadcaster for 18 years.
Brian Blasinsky Zaremba, Financial Manager Enjoy it and be creative. It satisfies a need that everyone has: housing
Mitch Lauer Connectel Wireless, VP Sales
Chris Hatala Games Done Legit, Event Director/Owner Soft skills (like communication) will put you ahead of your peers, no matter what you do in life. I'm fortunately enough to have taken my passion and turned it into a business!
Ashley Lawson Achieve Incentives Lead with heart and passion I used to lead a soup kitchen
Jim Smith The Executive Happiness Coach Find someone to partner with and edit each others writing. You cannot be the best proofreader of your own writing! I was an English major in college before switching to business. Now I teach MBA students to write better. Go figure!
Robin Carlin Rustbelt HR, Owner/Principal Consultant Be passionate and well-researched First Female Executive Director of Ohio Turnpike
Melissa Barber Impact Communications, Producer/Director Write whatever comes into your mind. Edit later. Songwriter, video producer, play & entertainment writer.
Mitch Lauer Connected Wireless I love to write and recognize talent in other writers Extensive theater background. I love reading and writing.
Katie Onders Proofreading is very important.
Maria Mastrandrea Don't be afraid to use our own style! It's about as diverse as it gets! Every set back turned into a great opportunity.
Ford Fram Equis Financial, Registered Representative Say something meaningful I was a school teacher for 25 years before becoming a financial adviser
Christine Bretz Singer, Berger, Press & Co. Senior Manager
Susan Friedman Friedman Law LLC, Principal Less is more. I write every single day I work.
Jane Clarke
Joanne Craig Express Parts, Inc.Vice President Export Sales- learning about different cultures and their opinions of the U.S.
Victoria Hudson Bertram Hotel & Conference Center, Director of Sales Keep Writing! I thought I wanted to be an attorney, but I found I loved hospitality
Erina Calder A Comfortable Mind, LLC When you write down your ideas, you learn about yourself. Life Coaching is the funnest way to better mental health
Mike Guyer Michael B Guyer LPCC Former college professor of 20 years
Bill Young Entercom Radio - A.E.
Matthew Holmes Cleveland Custom Signs, President/Owner Practice - Write a little every day! I was sold twice and laid off twice - and survived. Now I own my own business.
Holger Sonntag
Michael Stanek Hunt Imaging LLC.
Co-Owner and CFO
It's always good to have someone else proofread your writing as we all have a tendency to read what we expect to see rather than what's actually written when proofreading our own work. In my second career I own a company called Cleveland Cycle Tours. In that career I get to help people have fun!
Janet Zamecnik Janet Zamecnik, PorchLight Rental & Destination Services
Diane Ayres PorchLight Rental & Destination Services   As part of my business experience I was fortunate enough to be part of a private company going public. That inspired me to start my own business and learn, first hand, the trials and tribulations of the entrepreneur's journey.
Michael Callam The Gertsburg Law Firm
Brett Schaffer Great writing is just storytelling. Your writing should evoke feelings in the reader. Before moving to Cleveland I helped older adults write their testimony before advocating before the city council in Washington, D.C for funding.
Dennis Stanley Express Parts, Inc. President I started this export company with no experience in the export market and without ever being outside the United States. With the help of my excellent staff we are now entering our 40th year of operation.
Gene Friedman The Gertsburg Law Firm, Attorney
Tameka Taylor, PhD Compass Consulting Services, LLC, President
Fallon Radigan Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office  
Justin Monday Attorney at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff
Morgan Mackovjak McDonald Hopkins LLC
Jennell Vick Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center, Executive Director Writing is the most compelling way to share what you know, what you believe, and what you feel. Write on!
Diane Helbig Seize This Day, President Write like you talk. I started it when I was 45 years old.
Sandy Naragon Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS CEO Writing is a skill needed in every profession. Being able to write with ease will amaze the people around you. I was hired as receptionist and worked my way up to CEO. I was noticed because of my writing.
Lori O'Neill Alternative Defense Strategies LLC    
Erin Brown Robert Brown LLC
Kelly Mason Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office – Assistant Prosecutor  
Meghan Donovan Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office
Daniel Starett Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office    
Ronni Ducoff Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office-Assistant County Prosecutor I have completed the trajectory of speech pathologist to an assistant county prosecutor.
Kelly Needham Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office - Assistant County Prosecutor
Josh Wilczynski
Judith Miles Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office Always remember your audience! Structure how you deliver your message so that your audience will best receive it. I have worked in government, private sector, education, and non-profits. I also ran a home-based business for several years.
Jillian Snyder Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office - Assistant County Prosecutor Be descriptive but not too wordy. Read Hemingway for inspiration.
Angela Thomas Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office – Assistant Prosecutor It is a skill that is useful in many different professions I help people pursue justice daily.
Anthony Kratsas Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Office, Cold Case Task Force Unit Investigator
Steven Kormanec Cowboy Food and Drink While you have many, many great thoughts about the topic, be sure to focus on your writing on the topic at hand. Your unique approach and voice will be allowed to shine through. As an Executive Chef, we are approached often by guests and business alike to solve particular culinary issues and challenges. One of the those challenges is corresponding thoughts and ideas using nothing more than the power of the pen.
Denise Salerno Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office - Assistant County Prosecutor
Janet Hendlin Speak from your heart.
Peter Szigeti Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office - Chief Information & Operations Officer
Lynda Nemeth Discover My Cleveland, Owner No matter what your future career choice, strong writing skills will propel you even further. I work with people from all over the world and see first hand how strong communication skills enhance the quality of business.
Michael Hilliard
J P Ohio National Guard Counterdrug Task Force  
Lisa Mullin Federico The ability to write well affects every career! Had the opportunity to meet & work with hundreds of business owners over my career who really made a difference in the economic landscape of CLE
Dan Babic GARDINER, Director of Marketing
Paul Marnecheck Council Representative - City of North Royalton Purple Prose is a no no
Kelly Winkelhake Western Governors University; Faculty, Teachers College, Secondary Education Develop your own voice, one that establishes your intelligence, sense of humor, sense of purpose. I write every day.
Justine Dionisopoulos Writing is one thing that is in every field, so it's important to be good at it regardless of what you do or where you work.
Roger Kallock Focus on actionable recommendations.
Dawn Swit Next IT Staffing, Owner 1) Write once and edit at least twice.
2) Know your audience and write for them. 3) Have a friend or family member provide honest feedback - and listen to the feedback.
In addition to working in the IT and staffing fields, I am an adjunct professor at Kent State University.
Tammy Seringer Company Name: Acelity Title: Director of Corporate Accounts Grammar, punctuation and spelling all count towards making a good first impression. Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new.
Brigid Woodland Better Business Bureau, Director of Marketing  
Michael Short Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office  
Bob Royer Howard Hanna / Realtor Great way to express youself Helping people is rewarding
Bobbie Flynt Crandall & Pera Law, LLC, Attorney
Sally Karyo Assistant Director, Center for Research, School of Nursing, CWRU
Heidi Mazanec Noah Blue Photography Owner Writing can keep to yourself or share with others, always beneficial. Tool to affect the heart and mind. Always love what you do!
Meredith Cores New Clevelanders, president
Erin Roth Zifcheck Baldwin Wallace University Education Student Everyday is a new adventure!
Karen Dixon-Brzeski New Clevelanders, president
David Stewart Cleveland Heights-University Heights City Schools
Patrick Culliton Geauga County Public Library Words matter. Ideas Matter. You matter.
Bill O'Neil
Jamie Ward Geauga County Maple Leaf newspaper writer/editor It's important. I've been a journalist since elementary school.
Katy Farrell Geauga County Public Library, Head of Adult Services at Chardon Library Prior to becoming a librarian, I worked as the editor of a website and edited novels as a freelancer.

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