This is the sixth of seven profiles of the 2020 honorees of the Outstanding Women of Clinton County Class of 2020.
Few people in Clinton County have the varied experience in public service administration of Brenda Woods.
A former township fiscal clerk, city administrator, and county clerk, she won a hard-fought race in 2016 for a seat on the county commission. Woods lives a life balanced between home and a daily diet of meetings, decisions and hearings that can often extend into the evening hour.
Those who know Woods credit her with fostering a culture of accessibility and transparency in every role and task she’s undertaken. They give her high marks for investing time and energy into building partnerships with residents, businesses and public service colleagues, discussing issues and solving problems.
Her work in forging consensus on an economic development and planning strategy was rewarded in 2019 with a historic and groundbreaking agreement between the county, city of Wilmington, community improvement corporation and convention and visitors’ bureau. The four partners are funding a five-year development agreement with the port authority as lead agency, a model now being closely watched by economic experts in Ohio.
Woods’ key support for creation of the Clinton County Legacy Fund in 2019 — with a portion of funds earned from the sale of Clinton Memorial Hospital — is widely regarded as a consequential and forward-thinking decision that will protect assets for use by future generations.
Woods began her career as a clerk in the county commissioners’ office, later taking on the role of assistant county administrator. She also formerly served as fiscal officer of Wayne Township, and executive assistant to Wilmington’s mayor and clerk of council.
Her early experiences in government offered her an opportunity to learn how to manage the process of government decision-making, including budget preparation, human resource law, lobbying state and federal officials, keeping appointment schedules, and drafting meeting agendas and minutes. Her early career was a practical training ground for the leader Woods would later become.
Her election to the commission represents only the second woman to serve on the three-member board. In 2019, Woods served as board president.
When friends ask her about her life’s greatest legacy, she promptly says her family. With her devoted husband Larry, they are the parents of three children.
Everyone who knows her well marvels at Woods’ capacity to balance work and home life.
“She is the hardest-working person I know,” says one friend, adding, “even when the odds are against her, she always gives her best effort.”
Known widely as a good listener, she treats everyone she meets with respect and kindness. Whether meeting someone new, or seeing someone she has known all of her life, “it is very hard to dislike her,” one friend says, adding, “but she will not let anyone step all over her. She is not afraid to stand her ground on things she believes in.”
Please note that Monday, March 2 is the deadline to purchase tickets to the March 7 event, which is sponsored by the Wilmington News Journal, with generous support from First State Bank, Peoples Bank, Wilmington Savings Bank, and Wilmington College.