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Out & About in Cleveland

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Networking Meeting at Shooters on The Water

On Wednesday, March 15th, we attended the "Plexus; LGBT and Allied Chamber of Commerce" meeting at "Shooters on the Water" located on Main Avenue down in the Flats.

The turnout was great and, just like the last couple of years, we were divided into groups that rotated to four stations scattered throughout the room where we discussed and offered input on such matters as what constitutes an LGBT friendly neighborhood and business (we offered "Margaret W. Wong & Associates as an example as well as a couple eateries that we love in Lakewood ; what activities would we like to see "Plexus" take a lead role in (i.e. diversity appreciation & unconscious bias awareness) and where should it conduct more outreach (we suggested refugee and immigrant organizations because we know that many wish to become entrepreneurs); what progress has been made recently in terms of federal, state, and local legislation on behalf of LGBT/transgender people.

There was plenty of time for networking so we had conversations with:

***Cleveland City Councilperson Kerry McCormack (District #3) about the immigrant rights demonstration that took place in Market Square on February 3rd which Councilperson McCormack fully supported as did Councilperson Phyllis Cleveland (District #5) who was at the "Plexus" meeting also.

***Ms. Jean Schell, of "Jean Schnell Photography" who took photos of Ms. Margaret W. Wong when she was profiled by "Crain's Magazine" back in the 1980's. Ms. Schell loved getting our holiday greeting cards each year but hasn't been receiving them lately so we promised to put her back on the list.

***Mr. Matt Wiederhold, Director of Development for the "Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio" voluntarily walked across the room to tell us how much his organization appreciated the support of "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" over the years.

***Mr. Dan Cox of "Heights Driving School" who told us that he would help us next winter if we wanted to learn to drive more comfortably on the snowy streets and freeways.

***Mr. Nolan Beck, the renowned artist, who designed the Cuyahoga County seal as well as a multi-colored pin for a MOCA event that several "Plexus" members were wearing that evening.

For us, the highlight of the evening was when Mr. Steven M. Licciardi presented an award to Mr. Thomas Hawn for his many years of activism on behalf of the LGBT community and human rights for all people. In the course of his career, Mr. Hawn was employed by both "Progressive Insurance" and "KeyBank" and played a big part in making both organizations the LGBT-friendly organizations that they are today. He also played an instrumental role in the founding of "Plexus."

Mr. Licciardi said that Mr. Hawn "changed hearts and minds and enlightened people with his perspective."

As he accepted his award, Mr. Hawn said that he was very impressed by the number of people who were present that evening and that he was confident that they would carry forward his work. He thus concluded by saying that "your presence makes me happy for the part that I have played in launching this organization."

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC