Columbus, OH,
16:47 PM

Secret Lives of OhioHealth: Finding Joy on Four Legs or Two Wheels

​Managing the entire infrastructure of two major hospitals isn't a job for the faint of heart.

Cathy Cannone, director, facilities, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center and OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital, works long hours during the week. She manages a team of about 40 people to ensure all equipment, mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems are maintained and in working order.

Pressure is high because the smooth running of the hospitals depends on Cannone and her team. By the time the weekend rolls around, Cannone's ready for some "me" time.

Luckily, she knows exactly how to relax and recharge. For Cannone, happiness is riding a horse through the countryside near her Hocking Hills home, or jumping on a motorcycle and feeling the wind in her hair as she heads out of town.

It helps that she and her husband, John, own 11 horses and four Harley Davidsons.

​"It's really about leaving behind a functioning facility, knowing that the patients and building occupants are in good care, and walking away from that into a totally different environment," Cannone said. "You're out there, you're going through the hills, you're connecting with yourself, the earth, the wind and the elements, and you're just letting it all go, you're getting your balance back."

Cannone began riding horses as a child. Her family couldn't afford a horse or riding lessons, but some neighbors allowed her to ride their horses in exchange for doing chores. The freedom of riding out in nature, and the connection she felt with the horses, captivated Cannone. She still enjoys the exhilaration of riding and the uniqueness of human to animal interaction.

"The horse is a relationship," she said. "The horse can't talk to you, so you have to learn to communicate with it in a different manner. You have to be patient, observant."

Later in her youth, Cannone became fascinated with a different kind of beast: the roaring motorcycles her dad and brother rode.

Sometimes she'd ride with them on the back of the bikes. But that wasn't enough.

"I wanted those handlebars in my own hands, I didn't want to be on the back," she recalled. "I wanted to ride and master that machine."

​When Cannone was 29, she took a motorcycle safety course and bought her own Harley Davidson. She founded the first "Women in the Wind" motorcycle club in Columbus. It was the early 1990s, and at the time, very few women rode motorcycles. The chapter provided encouragement and camaraderie for female riders.

Today, Cannone relishes in riding scenic routes through Ohio and Kentucky with her husband, following the Ohio River, stopping at restaurants and sometimes staying overnight at a hotel before heading home.

"It's about freedom. Getting out there on the open road and just letting it all go. Having that freedom to just go anywhere, ride anywhere," Cannone said. "It's what makes my heart sing."

This story was originally published in an internal OhioHealth associate publication.

About OhioHealth

OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth has been recognized as one of the top five large health systems in America by Truven Health Analytics, an honor it has received six times. It is also recognized by Fortune as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and has been for 13 years in a row, 2007–2019.

Serving its communities since 1891, OhioHealth is a family of 30,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, and a system of 12 hospitals and more than 200 ambulatory sites, hospice, home health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area.

OhioHealth hospitals include OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, OhioHealth Shelby Hospital, OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Berger Hospital. For more information, please visit