Board Profile: Meet Mike Valerino

by Alexandra E. Bodie  June/24/2015

What do you love about Cleveland – are you originally from the area?

I grew up in Bay Village and have lived most of my life in the Cleveland suburbs. There is a special bond that connects everyone who is from the Cleveland area. I usually run into a Clevelander or two when traveling out of town and there’s always an unspoken acknowledgment of commonality, a look that says, “We’re both from Cleveland. We have must have similar values.” There’s a strong loyalty to this place. We know it’s not perfect, but it’s our home and we love it.  

What are your main priorities as 2nd Vice President of the NHSGC Board of Directors?

My goal is to leave NHSGC better than I found it. It’s quite a lofty goal because NHSGC is already a tremendous organization that does an incredible amount of good for the community. We have amazing people on staff and we offer a great mix of programs and services. I just hope we’re able to position the organization for continued success for years to come.

As 2nd Vice President, what is something you really want to achieve for NHS of Greater Cleveland?

Strategic thinking is crucial to the growth of any nonprofit. The Board of Directors is very focused on NHSGC’s current strategic plan which is scheduled to be completed by 2017. I think we’re all excited and driven to see the plan through as it will really put NHSGC in a place to help even more people.

 

Home is…the cornerstone of the American Dream.

 

Why were you interested in becoming a part of NHS of Greater Cleveland?

In my work with the Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS® (ACAR) I’ve really come to appreciate the importance of homeownership to the economy, to schools, to communities and to families. It really is the cornerstone of the American Dream. I wanted to get involved at NHSGC because it’s an opportunity to help more people to achieve, preserve and sustain that dream.

How long have you been in the role of Chief Operating Officer of ACAR?

After graduating from Ohio University in 2001 I started with the association as an intern. I’ve been in my current role as COO since 2013. As the voice of real estate in Northeast Ohio ACAR offers services that empower our REALTOR members to be ethical and successful and we also advocate for real property rights at all levels of government.

What is one of your greatest accomplishments?

My greatest work accomplishment is helping to facilitate the merger between the old Cleveland and Akron Area Boards of REALTORS. Our CEO, Sandy Naragon and I had a shared vision for how the two associations could become so much greater than the sum of their parts through regionalism and consolidation and it has been unbelievably fulfilling to see it become reality. 

Does your role as Chief Operating Officer transcend into your position of 2nd Vice President of the NHSGC Board of Directors?

Absolutely. My experience on the Executive/staff side of an organization allows me to bring a unique perspective to the NHSGC Board of Directors. Also, there’s a lot of synergy between the two organizations and our goals are very much aligned.

In your free time, what do you most enjoy doing?

My wife and I have four kids, so I enjoy any opportunity to spend time with my family. Recently, I started getting involved with helping to coach their baseball and football teams and it’s been great.

Why does home matter to you?

As Steven Covey said, “When it comes to developing character strength, inner security and unique personal and interpersonal talents and skills in a child, no institution can or ever will compare with, or effectively substitute for, the home’s potential for positive influence.”

If there’s one thing you could pick, what do you wish more people knew about NHS of Greater Cleveland?

Before I was involved with NHSGC, I always knew it was a great organization. But what I learned through my service on the Board is that we have some really amazing people doing really great work. I wish more people knew the people behind the organization.