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Noontime Dialogue at The City Club

On Friday, January 27th, we were lucky to get into the City Club which hosted a noontime dialogue between WKSU's digital editor, reporter and analyst Ms. M.L. Schultze, Cleveland Indians Manager Terry Francona and its General Manager Mike Chernoff.  Fortunately, we made our reservation several weeks ago because the event was completely packed with about 261 in attendance.

We introduced ourselves to a couple of people who had never been to a City Club program before but were drawn to this one because of their love of baseball and Mr. Don Readance, the Athletic Director at Shaker Heights High School, brought a tableful of eager students. In fact, Mr. Dan Moulthrop, the City Club CEO, took a poll before the program begin and a surprising number of people were at the City Club for the first time on this day.

We encountered Ms. Rebecca Morgan, President and CEO of Fulcrum Consulting Works, Inc., who has been a frequent City Club guest as of late, and spoke to her about what type of question we should ask during the Q and A that combined baseball and immigration. She suggested a good one which was, "are the Indians doing anything to help immigrants or foreign-born people develop a love and respect for baseball?" In the end, we didn't get to ask it (which was all right because a lot of people had relevant questions to ask) but we spoke to Mr. Chernoff for a brief moment after the program and he assured us that a lot of positive outreach is being conducted to various sectors of the Cleveland community and this will continue to happen.

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When Mr. Francona and Mr. Chernoff walked in to have lunch, the room erupted with applause. During our three years of attending City Club programs on a consistent basis, we have never witnessed anything like this for guest speakers. The program, itself, was introduced by Mr. Paul Clark, Regional President of PNC Bank, Cleveland. who said that he was a "huge" Indians fan and paid tribute to the team for winning the American League Pennant in 2016 and for making it a very exciting, uplifting World Series. To be sure, he congratulated Mr. Francona for being named "Manager of the Year" for the second time in his career. He said that Mr. Francona and Mr. Chernoff made "us proud to be Clevelanders!"

Ms. Schultze then kicked things off by supposing that so many people were in attendance because baseball is a lot of fun so she hoped that this program would be fun too.

As for ourselves, we do not follow sports closely although we were very aware of the fine year that the Cleveland Indians had in 2016. Nevertheless, we were caught up in the excitement and found many of the things the Mr. Francona and Mr. Chernoff said to pertain to building a positive workplace environment in any industry.

For instance, it was said management asks a lot of their players but at the same time realizes that it is important that they be treated with honesty and respect as well as being properly cared for on an individual basis according to their particular needs. It is important that all involved enjoy their time working with the Cleveland Indians (because this brings out the best in people) and a collaborative culture between the front office and the players on the field must be established. Praise must be given to those who may not be doing well but are trying their best to do so and that every game is a new beginning and losses are history; that is why the Cleveland Indians have not lost more than three games in a row.

Mr. Francona talked about how proud he was to have helped create the "Larry Doby Youth Fund" which will allocate $1 million towards the needs of inner city youth, and Mr. Chernoff talked about how outreach for new talent is becoming more and more international which has resulted in several players being recruited from the Dominican Republic Summer Academy Baseball Training Camp.

Of course, we learned other interesting tidbits like how much full-capacity crowds and great applause is appreciated but it is preferred that the players not be approached when they are warming up before a game because they must use this time to concentrate on doing the best job that they can do.

Afterwards, both Mr. Francona and Mr. Chernoff were surrounded by enthusiastic admirers but we conversed for a moment with Ms. Schultze who, upon learning that we worked for Margaret W. Wong and Associates, told us that she recently covered an event with the International Institute in Akron and how troubled they were about new federal policies about refugees. We thanked her for her concern and personally resolved to do the best job that we can do wherever and whenever we can during this troubled time and beyond.   

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.

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