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Elite Women Around the World; Fund Raiser for Judge O'Leary

On Wednesday, June 7th, we went to the Cleveland City Hall Rotunda where we attended a reception put on by "Elite Women Around the World" (EWAW) in which Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson was honored with its EWAW Community Leadership Award which "is presented to an individual who is honored for their professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of personal and professional excellence and leadership skills."

Accordingly, Dr. Mona Gupta (Physician, University Hospitals), Dr. Rupesh Raina (Internal Medicine, Cleveland Clinic), and Ms. Valerie McCall (Chief of Government and International Affair & Acting Chief of Communications in the Mayor's Office at Cleveland City Hall) gave testimonies regarding Mayor Jackson's commitment to diversity and the advancement of women. Dr. Raina said that Cleveland is much more of a muliticultural place due to Mayor Jackson and Ms. McCall praised the diversity that was present throughout the mayor's administration. Along these lines, Dr. Gupta thanked Mayor Jackson for their longtime collaboration and his dedication to making the city, if not the world, a better place.

Mayor Jackson was present and was very humbled to receive the award and praised EWAW for its fearless advocacy and the leadership it displays. Also receiving a EWAW Community Leadership Award was Mr. Eric Tolbert, Financial Advisor with "Eric Tolbert and Associates." As the program was coming to a close, Mayor Jackson distributed Certificates of Recognition to all of the Women's International Day 2017 Award Recipients of which quite a few were there to accept likeMs. Aileen Chin, Ms. Venera Izant, Ms. Sandra Lee and Mr. Dustin S. Klein.

Since January of 2017 EWAW has been operating as "The Women's Intrapreneur & Leadership Career Development Center" and Ms. Rita Singh, the organization's founder and CEO, spoke to us for a few minutes about its potential to really enhance the role of women in our society via the opportunities it offers for networking, mentoring, education, advocacy, collaboration and the building of alliances to name just a few.

During the program we shared a table with Ms. April Harrison for whom it was her first time attending an EWAW event. Ms. Harrison works in Performance Management in the "Cleveland Airport System." Another person who sat with us from the airport was our friend Ms. Jacqueline Muhammad who is now the Director of Community Engagement and Legislative Affairs.


When we first arrived, we had an enjoyable visit with Ms. Nermina Karajina who works for 'Burton Carol Management, LLC." Ms. Karajina told us how she fled Bosnia as a refugee in the early 1990's and ultimately arrived in the United States on January 31, 1995. She was re-settled in Cleveland and remembers taking language classes at the International Services Center in downtown Cleveland and going for hot chocolate on cold days at a little cafe nearby that is no longer there. Her studiousness paid off and Ms. Karajina became a U.S. citizen in 2000. We look forward to meeting her again and possibly interviewing her for "I, Foreign Born."

While we were at City Hall, we spied Mr. Joe Meissner and Ms. Gia Hoa Ryan sitting on the other side of the Rotunda. We saw them again at our next event a short time later which was a fundraiser for Judge Ronald J.H. O'Leary of the Cleveland Municipal Housing Court.

Prior to assuming the bench on April 10th of this year after the untimely death of Judge Raymond L. Pianka, Judge O'Leary was the Director of the Cleveland Department of Building and Safety. His fundraiser was held at "Kan Zaman Restaurant" on West 25th Street and was also attended by several of our CAMEO friends like Mr. Pierre Bejjani, Mr. Sam Tanious, Mr. Faris Alameh, and Mr. Bill Studney.

We got to spend a little time talking to Judge O'Leary and learned that he was a law school classmate of our good friend South Euclid Councilperson Marty Gelfand. We also learned that he is very conscientious about how his rulings might affect a person's immigration status so we told him to call "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" if he had any questions about the fine points of the laws.

The judge was very appreciative of our gesture and we look forward to possibly working with him in the future.



Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC