Convencion Hispana, India Republic Day, and Chinese New Years

On the 23rd, we attended the Seminar on Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses at Tri-C in Cleveland.
COSE and several of the chambers have been promoting this training program, so we went to check it out and do some networking.

Several of the graduates spoke about how this program has gotten them to focus on which direction or perhaps misdirection their business is on, and what they can do to change it for the better and establish a goal. While we were initially doubtful as to how this particular intensive training would be helpful to us, we suggest that small businesspeople that we meet at the chambers of commerce might want to look into it.

We made about 10 new contacts, though, including:

  • Dewey Forward who owns the Popcorn Shop in Chagrin Falls and Dewey’s Fair Trade Organic Coffee at Shaker Square and has certainly heard of us.
  • Lalana Green of Acorn Technology Corp. whose kids went to school with our children.
  • Paul J. Stark and Brian Stark of Real Estate Financiers who told us that we would probably know their dad: J. Norman Stark

In addition, we met a man who told us that we should reach out to a business named Jasstek in Columbus because they often bring immigrants here from India, Brazil and China.

That same day, Convencion Hispana held a get-together in Battery Park.

Our friend Jose Feliciano is active with Convencion Hispana.  In fact we met our other friends, Luis Gomez and Lucy Torres there.

The several new contacts we made include:

  • Suzanne G. Smaltz of New York Life who met us in Akron at an event about a year ago.
  • Ron Kisner, Ombudsman at Cleveland Municipal School District, certainly has heard of us and drives by our office all of the time and says that he likes our building.
  • Magda Gomez of Cuyahoga Community College liked serving on a panel at the City Club with us.

January 24th Catholic Charities Breakfast in Mentor

The people from Catholic Charities as well as those from the Catholic Community Foundation were happy that we were willing to come such a long way especially in the cold weather.

Bishop Lennon was there (we met him at St. Colman’s about a week earlier) and we shook hands with him again.

We made about ten new contacts including Bob Hickey, Director of Development with the Catholic Community Foundation, who recalls meeting us at St. Dominic about eighteen months ago with Father Tom.

We also met Erin Kelley Turner, LISW-S of Catholic Charities. Ms. Turner does Hispanic outreach all over Lake County including the Painesville area. We’ll make a point of cultivating a relationship with her.

January 24th The City Club of Cleveland: Dr. Pedro A. Noguera, Education Reformer

Our colleague Gordon attended this event also, as did our old friend, Marty Gelfand.

We said hello to several people that we knew including Marie Kittridge of Slavic Village Development and Megan O’Brien who used to head the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center but now heads Cleveland Transformation Alliance which is working to improve the schools of Cleveland.

Among those saying hello to expressing condolences (our Margaret W. Wong lost her beloved husband Kam Chan to a long battle with cancer) were:

  • Tom Gill of Urban Educational School who thanked us for our support.
  • Homer S. Taft of River Properties who is an old friend.
  • Lonnie Sharon Williams who used to work at Thompson High School and says that we might remember working with her boss, Mr. Messenger.

January 24th, London Hooley at the East Side Irish American Club in Euclid

We learned about this event on, who posted it close to the last minute.

It was a fundraiser to help send the Irish Dancers of the Murphy Irish Arts Center to travel to London this Easter to compete for the World Championships of Irish Dance.

We called to get information and learned that Sheila Crawford of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens was the founder of the Murphy Irish Arts Center and a big mover with the fundraiser so, of course, we thought it would be good to go and it was because Sheila was most appreciative and we got to sit with a really nice family whose daughter is a Irish dancer and is going to London with the team.

The word-of-mouth seemed to indicate that our team isn’t really expected to win but it will be great for them to go and take part.

January 25th India Republic Day Celebration in Independence, Ohio

We love going to India Republic Day Celebration because Pierre, Murat, Ken Kovach, Joe Meissner, and Asim Dhatta were all there and it is always nice to see them.

Mayor Jackson was honored as the “2014 Friend of India” and he was there to accept.

The “2014 Lifetime Grand Benefactor of FICA” award went to Dr. Mohan Lal Bafna, who was born in a small village in Sadri, Rajasthan, India and has lived in Cleveland since 1968. As we were leaving, we shook hands with Dr. Lal Bafna, who expressed his condolences to us.

We introduced ourself to quite a few people and gave them our card, but only a few of them had business cards to give us.  Another “hello” came from Ravi Marwaha, Managing Director of the International Business Consultants of America.

January 25th and 26th Lunar New Year Celebration at the Asian Town Center.

While Cleveland’s snow and cold weather greatly impacted the turnout of both Saturday and Sunday so not that many people were there, most of attendees were there because they knew someone who was performing on stage.

We obtained one referral from Gino at the Shaolin Kung Fu Institute.

Several people also took our information and said that they would talk to people they know who might need our help and have them call us.

We met with a few people who said hello:

  • Sophia Guo of Keller Williams Realty
  • Amy Mango who used to be Amy Overton and worked for you from 2001-2004 as a paralegal
  • Sujata Burgess of Community Health Promotions
  • Rachel A. Kabb-Effron, Esq. who is an Elder Law Attorney
  • Bob Adelman who runs a litigation support company
  • Kevin’s mother; Kevin interned for us in the summer of 2012.
  • Leo Lader

Mike from the Siam Cafe took some of our cards, pens and letter openers and said he would put them out for his customers.

We gave about 15 cards to a person named Abby Fosh who ministers to the needy as a Jehovah’s Witness.  She sometimes encounters people with immigration problems. Abby was very happy to connect with us.

Mentor Chamber of Commerce

On January 28th, we attended the Mentor Chamber of Commerce luncheon and made about 20 new contacts.

Most promising is Lisa Klammer who is the Prosecutor for the City of Mentor and is currently running for Probate Judge. Lisa expressed an interest in what we do and may consider giving us a call because the City of Mentor often needs help with interpreters. This could be a good opportunity for us.

We introduced ourself to several local officials:

  • Patrick Snee who is head of the Mentor Teachers Association;
  • Mentor City Councilman Bruce R. Landeg;
  • Matthew J. Miller, Superintendent of Mentor Public Schools;
  • Jason Lee, Community Outreach Coordinator for Mentor Public Library;
  • David W. Malinowski, Director of Finance for the City of Mentor;
  • Jim Collins, Executive in Residence for Lakeland Community College;
  • Kevin Knight, Mentor Chief of Police;
  • Jackie Bruner, Director of Business Operations for Lake County ADAMHS;
  • Judy Moran, Lake County Commissioner.

The people we met from the educational community admitted that they do occasionally have to deal with kids whose family has an immigration issue.

We also met several people from the United Way and the American Cancer Society who were working on Relay for Life.

One person (who didn’t have a business card) took our card and said she will talk to someone she knows whose husband just got deported.