Cheers to Gloria: 40 years of service, growth and guidance

Gloria Liebenow has stories to tell. A lot of them. And it’s not surprising given the many varied experiences she’s had throughout her career.

In 1978, after working at Good Samaritan Hospital in the business office and then as a secretary in the Labor and Delivery unit, Gloria joined Angus Baldwin, a respected Cincinnati employment agency, to do a little of everything. At the time, all communication was done by mail and phone. Clients called the firm with job openings they wanted to fill and candidates mailed in their resumes for consideration. The company received hundreds of phone calls a day, but Mondays were the busiest after the job ads ran in the Sunday papers. Gloria filed stacks of resumes into manila folders labeled by industry and position, making photocopies if a candidate fit multiple categories.

The partners of Angus and Baldwin split in 1980 and Gloria worked for spinoff Baldwin & Associates. But a recession hit in 1981 and by the following year the recruiting business took a dive, so she used the opportunity to go back to college. She studied political science at the University of Cincinnati and took on a part-time job as a psychiatrist’s assistant.

Through a mutual friend—a violist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra—Gloria met Cincinnati philanthropist and businesswoman Louise Nippert and went to work as her personal assistant. An accomplished pianist who studied at the Conservatory of Music on Oak Street (which later became CCM), Gloria accompanied Mrs. Nippert when she sang to local groups, including an annual Valentine’s Day performance at Maple Knoll Village.

After several years working for Mrs. Nippert, Gloria returned to school to earn a master’s degree in political science. She considered sticking around for a Ph.D., but a professor recognized her aptitude for computers and instead encouraged her to pursue a career in technology. That’s what she did. In 1996, Keith Baldwin asked her to come back to his firm and help with bookkeeping and payroll. Gloria accepted the position but knew it was time for a change, so she implemented and maintained our first client and candidate database and installed QuickBooks and other digital processes. In the following years, the firm got its first website and server and continued to invest in technology as a competitive advantage. In recent years, she also led our research team providing client insights and identifying potential candidates for hard-to-fill positions. The firm eventually became Baldwin Gilman and then Gilman Partners. Throughout it all, Gloria solved problems, pitched in anywhere she was needed and ensured the work got done.

Looking back over her career and the many changes she lived through, Gloria mused, “I don’t know if faster communication today really makes things faster, mostly because we didn’t have the vast outreach to passive candidates. People would apply to the ad in the Enquirer or we would have those people in our resume files. If an appropriate candidate didn't apply, we would rewrite the ad and try again. Resumes were mailed to the client in a few days, interviews would follow in the next week or two. There were fewer candidates to choose from so the process was faster. Clients didn't expect us to look under every rock for the ‘perfect’ candidate.”

Gloria retired from Gilman Partners this month—40 years after she started in the industry with the company that would eventually become Gilman Partners. She never worked for the money or accolades. She wanted to be around people she enjoyed and her work afforded her the opportunity to spend time on the things she enjoyed most: volunteering, civil rights issues, and music.

Gloria is a talented musician, research wiz and technology expert as well as a friend (and confidant) to all with no ego and a great sense of humor. It’s quite a combination—and that’s why we’ll miss her! 

Upon her retirement, Tom Gilman had this to say “Gloria has been a critical part of the fabric of Gilman Partners. In addition to being an important resource for all of us, she’s been the glue for our corporate culture, which, in turn, has been a key reason for our success. We wish her the very best in the years ahead.”

In her first few weeks of retirement, Gloria is finding even more time to do those things she loves. Her social calendar is filled with lunches and appointments with friends, she regularly stops in to visit and talk with Hospice patients, and she’s registering local voters. This fall she plans to start playing music in nursing homes and volunteering at an animal shelter.

The office is quieter without her for sure. She brought energy and humor and never felt the need to soften her critiques. We were often better because of it.

Cheers to Gloria. To her ability to make us laugh—often and hard. To her fierce belief that all people should be treated equally. To her loyalty. And to her friendship.

There just can’t possibly be anyone else like her.