Springfield Lakemore Area Chamber of Commerce Luncheon; International Gala at LaCentre Conference Center
On Wednesday, May 17th, we noticed that we were invited to a networking luncheon that the Springfield Lakemore Area Chamber of Commerce was hosting at Uncle Tito's Mexican Grill on East Waterloo Road in Akron.
We didn't think that we had ever visited this chamber before so off we went. Soon upon arrival, though, we learned from Mr. Tom Craig, District Executive with "Boy Scouts of America" that we had indeed been there before; a couple of years ago when the monthly luncheon was held at a local bowling alley. We then recalled being warmly received at that time just as we were on this day.
Fortunately, the group was small but telling so we got to visit with more people on an individual basis. Among those we talked to were Ms. Shirley Workman who deals a lot with mobile homes so we talked with her about our experiences living in the mobile home park in Euclid Beach. We then visited with Mr. KD Drye, Marketing Coordinator with "Great Work Employment", sharing with him what we had learned at other chambers about how some people would be better advised to pursue a career in manufacturing than going going to college and Mr. Drye very much agreed.
Several of the chamber members like Mr. Craig and Ms. Dawn Presley, a Principal with "Summit Academy Schools", made helpful suggestions regarding possible contacts in the Akron area for matters dealing with immigration.
That evening we went to LaCentre Conference Center on Detroit Avenue in Westlake for an "International Gala" put on by Ms. Shirien Muntaser and her family to celebrate her graduation from Tri-C which naturally featured performances by several international dance groups like the "Hula Fusion" and there was good food, photo opportunities, music and henna but the much-deserved highlight was Ms. Muntaser, herself. We have encountered her at quite a few international events over the last two years and we were pleased to receive a personal invitation to attend that evening's affair because we respect her genuine commitment to humanitarian concerns.
Joining us at the gala were other friends of ours who have worked with Ms. Muntaser (who immigrated to the U.S. with her family from Palestine when she was three years old and, on her own, initiated the citizenship process when she was eighteen) including Mr. Joe Meissner, Ms. Gia Hoa Ryan, Ms. Mari Galindo-DaSilva, Mr. Pierre Bejjani, and Mr. Asim Datta from "ICC-WIN" and Mr. Don Bryant and Ms. Nina McLellan from "Cleveland Peace Action." To be sure there were also people there from Tri-C who have worked with Ms. Muntaser like Professor Frederick Perry from the Theatre Arts Dept. and Ms. Christiana Vespucci, the student body president of Tri-C West.
Of course her family was there too, and thus we got to meet Mr. and Mrs. Danny Muntaser, her parents, and her son, Mr. Ibrahim Taych who was honored to be his mother's official escort for the night.
As far as Ms. Muntaser's future plans, she started to tell them to us but they were so realistically ambitious that we had to run back to our table to retrieve our pen and notepad and hurry back to her in order to write them down so that we could quote them accurately. Overall, she plans to definitely pursue both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master's from CSU in public administration. This fall she is scheduled to do an internship in the office of Mayor Frank Jackson of Cleveland which could turn into a permanent position. But, she is also involved with the "U.S. Committee on Immigrants and Refugees" and plans to leave on May 27th to study abroad in Costa Rica for a short time. Ultimately, Ms. Muntaser would like a career in the public affairs division in the U.S. State Department.
What's more Ms. Muntaser is very committed to helping other women achieve their potential and believes that the keys to this are self-expression, self-worth, and self-reliance. Above all, though, women and people in general must believe in themselves; accordingly, if they have a passion in a particular area they must step out of their comfort zone and go for it.
Several of the lovely poems that Ms. Muntaser had written were read and people gave testimonies about her and her good works.
Mr. Joe Meissner from "ICC-WIN" spoke about how touched he was by a poem that she wrote that called for a day of reconciliation instead of a day of reckoning and maintained that if we all believed that way then the U.S., if not the world, would be better. Mr. Meissner then recalled how much he had benefited from traveling throughout Southeast Asia and urged Ms. Muntaser to see as much of the world as she could.
A special friend of Ms. Muntaser is Mayor Ann Marie Donegan of Olmsted Falls who had several stops she had to make that night but made a special effort to get to LaCentre and speak on behalf of Ms. Muntaser because, as she said, Ms. Muntaser represents strong women and the mayor was "honored and blessed" to call her a friend."
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC