Executive Q&A: Path Forward IT’s Stoeppel steps away from the screen to cultivate big ideas



Some of Tabby Stoeppel’s best ideas hit her hiking in the woods or during a 20-mile Peloton ride.

“The sense of clarity, to slow down for a minute and think through things, distract yourself from the day-to-day, the emails, the client demands, the asks of the team, the numbers, the spreadsheets,” she said. “Clearing my head for a moment allows me to center myself, come back to what’s important, work through the critical items and come up with ideas.”

Despite the fact that she now leads one of the largest IT firms in the region, Stoeppel never intended to get into the field. Her degree was in education. But about a decade ago though, she needed a change of pace. A friend referred her to Path Forward IT and she took the only non-technical position that they offered at the time.

When you are not in the office, what do you like to do to unwind? I love anything outside. I have two kids, so a lot of mom Saturdays are spent watching sports. We like to hike, paddleboard and go boating.

What’s the last great trip you took? I just got back from Colorado three weeks ago. It was the best trip I’ve ever had. I did a huge summit – it was 12 miles total, 6 miles up Big Bear Mountain. It was a great experience. The original mountain we planned and trained for was off-limits because of the weather, but it was still a great trip.

Where do you like to hike close to home? I live close to Indiana, so we’ve found a lot in Brown County and Clifty Falls. In Cincinnati I love the local parks. There’s good hiking in Yellow Springs. We also do a lot of hiking around Hueston Woods and Miami Whitewater.

What’s one of the biggest non-work accomplishments you are proudest of? I’m a proud mom of two, an 11-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. They’re both great kids; we like to stay active in the community. I coach my daughter’s softball team and help coach my son’s tee ball team. I feel like athletics teach your children a sense of discipline, respect and responsibility.

What is the best place to go for a great meal around Cincinnati? It depends on your mood. I love Mexican food. Mazunte is delicious for some quick street tacos. Gomez (Salsa) in Over-the-Rhine also has great tacos. (Jeff) Ruby’s is always a go-to for me downtown. It’s a good place to sit down and have a steak. Cincinnati is home to so many amazing restaurants and breweries. I’m also happy with a pizza and beer.

What’s the last great book you’ve read? I love Brené Brown. Before my Colorado trip I re-read “Braving the Wilderness,” which for me has hit home and is very personal. I also love David Goggins and Simon Sinek. I’ve read all of their books.

What keeps you engaged at work right now? There are three things happening in the managed service provider world that, if I had to guess, everyone is experiencing. First is finding great talent and keeping great talent. We’ve been employing people remotely for 20-plus years. Since Covid, we’ve seen other companies do that, so finding and keeping talent has been a challenge. Secondly, the ongoing issues with cybersecurity. In 2008, if you got a virus, you shut down the computer and removed it from the network. Nowadays, attacks are far more deliberate, far more planned. They are followed up on, so businesses are needing to invest in cybersecurity. Third, the supply chain issues — finding hardware and getting (it) timely. We have lots of clients that are growing quickly and we want to be able to help them do that, but finding hardware in a short amount of time is difficult.

What’s the best part of your job? The role I am in is the result of great leadership and support. I have a phenomenal team. I don’t know everything and don’t pretend to. The support structure is why I’m here and why I’ll stay.

Tabby Stoeppel

Title: CEO, Path Forward IT

Education: Bachelor’s degree in education and business administration from Miami University; currently enrolled at Xavier University in a master’s of executive finance program.

Experience: Stoeppel began her career as a grade school teacher but joined Path Forward IT a decade ago as a dispatcher, working her way up through seven different roles to become CEO.

Resides: Ross Township

Hometown: Norwood