Father Norm Smiling

Father Norm Douglas

Born in Los Angeles, California, Fr. Norm grew up in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from North High School in 1965. He majored in English at The University of Akron, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969. He attended Borromeo Seminary College and transferred to St. Mary Seminary receiving a Master of Divinity degree. He completed the Myers Briggs Certification Process and training in the Enneagram Inventory.

He was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Cleveland in 1974. He was assigned first to St. Barnabas Parish and then Holy Family Parish as Associate Pastor. In 1985, he became Pastor of St. Martha Parish and served there until 1999. In 1990, he and Larry Vuillemin co-founded Heart to Heart Communications, Inc. In 1999, Fr. Norm was named Executive Director of Heart to Heart Communications, Inc., a spiritually-centered, inter-faith organization that brings individuals and organizations together to reflect, discuss and promote ways to strengthen the connection between people’s inner spirit, ethical values and daily work. In 2016, Fr. Norm became Executive Director Emeritus of Heart to Heart Communications, Inc. and returned to full-time parish ministry as the Pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Akron.

Fr. Norm is a member of the Leadership Akron Class of 1997. He served several years on the Akron Bar Association Ethics Grievance Committee and the Board of Trustees for Coming Together Akron, and was an officer of the Character Counts Board. In 1997 he was the recipient of the Charles Salem Humanitarian Award presented by the City of Akron Human and Community Relations Commission. In 2005, Fr. Norm was one of the recipients of The University of Akron Outstanding Alumni Award. Jointly with Larry Vuillemin, he received the 2002 Distinguished Leader Award presented by Leadership Akron, the 2006 “Founding Principles” Award from the Sales & Marketing Executives – Akron Chapter, the 2009 Betty Dalton Community Service Award, the 2014 Community Medal Award presented by the Salvation Army of Summit County, and the 2015 Friend of Young Leaders Award presented by Torchbearers.

Fr. Norm is called upon frequently as a keynote speaker at work-related and civic gatherings. Fr. Norm co-authored a book, How in the World Do We Make A Difference? – Getting to the Heart and Soul of Love and Work with Larry Vuillemin and Stephen Hallam, Ph.D., former dean of The University of Akron School of Business.