The Ohio State University's Jackie Wilkins has been named one of Ohio's top 50 women leaders in 2023 by Women We Admire, an organization of the most accomplished women executives and leaders across the U.S. and Canada.
Wilkins served as the first-ever female associate dean and director in the over 100-year history of the Ohio State University Extension. In this role, she provided leadership for carrying out the vision, mission, and values of OSU Extension; established priorities for investment in OSU Extension by local, state, and federal government; and provided oversight of an approximately $77 million annual budget.
She has nearly 30 years of progressive and diversified experience in higher education, as well as profit and nonprofit management and consulting aimed at building organizational and community capacity. Wilkins began her career at Ohio State in 1994 as an Extension associate in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. In 2000, she became the parenting state Extension specialist. She also served as Extension's Northeast region director, providing leadership to 31 counties.
In 2017, she became director of operations for OSU Extension and was responsible for providing leadership to 88 counties and over 800 professionals on matters affecting personnel, finance, and business operations. In 2020, after a year as interim, she was appointed associate dean and director for OSU Extension, spearheading its mission of bringing research-backed information from the university to communities across the Buckeye State in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, community development, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H youth development.
In September of this year, Wilkins returned to her role as full professor focused on Extension scholarship, community-based education, community engagement, and mentoring the next generation of employees.
Her research interests include prevention education, family policy, and organizational capacity building. She has received more than $6.5 million in local, state, and federal funding to conduct research and provide prevention programming for Ohio's children and families.
Wilkins also has experience in the public sector as the owner of a business management consulting firm, where she designed and implemented many strategic planning initiatives and organizational analyses of efficiency, compensation, workflow, attrition, communications, and IT. Her clients included city and county governments, nonprofits, court systems, United Way agencies, philanthropic entities, and for-profit businesses.
Wilkins received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Ohio Dominican University, and her master's and doctoral degrees in human development and family science from The Ohio State University.
According to Women We Admire, the economic landscape of Ohio has witnessed a substantial transformation due to the involvement of women in leadership positions. With its strong manufacturing sector, prosperous agricultural output, and emerging service industries, women hold high-ranking positions across various Ohio sectors including government, education, healthcare, and corporate organizations. The organization noted that this shift is not only a result of increased gender equality awareness, but also due to the proven benefits of having diverse leadership teams.