Remembering Sandy Werth Harbrecht Ratchford

The world lost a beloved leader, business owner, board member, counselor, strategist, educator, mentor, and friend on June 18. We extend our condolences to her family, the team at Werth, and to all who knew Sandy.

I had the privilege of meeting her in early 1996 when I arrived at the Columbus Museum of Art. I was 24 years old, fresh out of graduate school, and learning what it meant to be a professional in the field of public relations.

And there was Sandy. Despite my inexperience and youth, she treated me with the same level of respect and seriousness as if I were her peer. I remember thinking, “Wow, here is this pillar in the industry, and she wants to have lunch with me?” That was Sandy.

Her career started in education, as a teacher. But from my perspective, she never stopped teaching. She had a remarkable ability to see potential – in people and in organizations – and gave of her time, intellect, and resources to ensure that those in her orbit thrived.

She had a gift for seeing a path forward through complex and dynamic situations. Sandy was a quiet leader, whom everyone immediately trusted because she had earned that reputation over decades of diligence. At a time when loud voices, oversized egos, and unrelenting opinions dominate, Sandy was the opposite. Her calm demeanor and steadfast north star won her both professional praise and personal confidence.

My last conversation with Sandy was this past fall. I needed her counsel on an important matter. I didn’t hesitate to reach out to her, and she didn’t hesitate to take my call. I knew I could trust her and that her advice would be spot on.

Sandy, you will be missed. I watched how you led, how you grew your business, and how you served the community. Thank you for teaching me. I only wish you had more time.

To Julie, her niece, who now serves as President and CEO of Werth: countless people are cheering for you and will stand with you as you continue the family business and legacy.

And, to all in our community, may our lives be a reflection of Sandy’s lessons.

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