Partner and chief strategy officer, The Shipyard
About: David Grzelak has over 18 years of strategic marketing experience. His specialties include brand planning, channel and content strategy and consumer culture for brands such as Nike, Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out, Nestle, Mars, Kraft, Cisco, Hershey’s, Allstate, Nationwide, AEP, Donatos and Scotts Miracle-Gro.
Business and community leaders have a responsibility and opportunity to help remove the dangerous stigmas that surround mental health today and raise the dollars necessary to support essential research.
Outside of work: Grzelak is dedicated to changing the conversation around mental health. After losing his 17-year-old son to suicide in 2018, he dedicated his life to inspiring others to drive real change within mental health and reduce the growing numbers of suicides in our country. His company helped create WonderBus and is a board member on the STAR Program (Stress, Trauma and Resilience) at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and fundraiser for Columbus Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
What does Columbus need to thrive? Columbus has a genuine opportunity to be at the epicenter of mental health change. With the leadership of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Ohio State University, Columbus can and should become the model of how communities respond to the mental health epidemic we face. This will require better, more advanced care and research within our hospitals, as well as a cultural change in the way we think about and talk about mental health. Business and community leaders have a responsibility and opportunity to help remove the dangerous stigmas that surround mental health today and raise the dollars necessary to support essential research.
Grzelak’s idea: The high cost of a four-year college degree keeps many bright, ambitious and hard-working individuals underemployed in Columbus. The Future 50 could work with companies to develop new hiring and training programs that increase the number of “new collar” career opportunities in Columbus and ensure the growth of a stable middle-class economy. Some of the largest companies in the world (IBM, Google, Apple, Starbucks) have already shifted their standard requirements for many office jobs—prioritizing skill, grit and determination over a mandatory four-year college degree.