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Out & About in Cleveland

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International Trade and PFLAG

[video width="640" height="480" mp4="http://www.imwong.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/MWW-PFLAG-CLE-13May2014-final.mp4"][/video] Today we drove to Youngstown State University to attend a program titled "Exports-An Opportunity for Growth" put on by a combined effort of the Ohio International Trade Assistance Center, the Small Business Administration, Youngstown State University and the International Business Network.

The primary organizer, however, was Mousa Kassis, International Trade Advisor at the Williamson College of Business and Youngstown State University who was very interested in the work of Margaret W. Wong and Associates.

The program consisted of presentations by Susan Whitney, Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center of Cleveland, who talked about the things that a business should consider when entering foreign competition like labeling, standards, and export pricing and payment terms; Patrick Hayes, Regional Export Finance Manager of the U.S. Small Business Administration, discussed programs available to help exporters like the Export Express Program; and Jim Haynes, Sales Manager of Weiss-Rohlig USA, LLC spoke about the logistics of shipping products by land, sea, and air.

All of the presentations were very thorough and very detailed. In fact, Donald Esarove of the International Business Network said that business people who were exploring becoming more involved in the international market should not be intimidated by all of this because he knew that after the "first half dozen times" the process became familiar enough to be considered easy and, moreover, there are people like Susan Whitney and Patrick Hayes to provide assistance.

Also present at the program was Kim Kirkendall, founder of International Resource Development who really liked a program that she attended at our office in April, 2014 that she thought was a real benefit to Asian Students.

We managed to arrive back from Youngstown in time to attend the monthly PFLAG meeting at Trinity Commons which was very important because the guest speakers for the evening were Francis Fungsang and Marisela Marquez from Margaret W. Wong and Associates who came to talk about immigration issues affecting the LGBT community.

An all-encompassing power point was created by our office for this evening and Francis and Marisela made excellent use of it as they covered such issues as asylum for gay refugees, marriage as a path to permanent residency and citizenship, and the effects of U.S. vs. Windsor which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Afterwards, questions were asked and many of them had to do with the upcoming Gay Games which will bring many athletes here from abroad. For example, one person asked what if an athlete came to the U.S. from a repressive country like Uganda to take part in the Gay Games and wanted to stay here?

Another person said that the LGBT community should work more closely with those seeking immigration reform because both are human rights groups so a collaboration would be in the best interest of all those involved.

At the end of their presentation, Francis and Marisela received a hearty round of applause and everyone agreed that they had done a terrific job.

Above, you can watch the PowerPoint presentation that Francis and Marisela used at the PFLAG meeting. Unfortunately, there's no sound but still, lots of great information!

Out & Aboutimwong