2nd Annual Women's Leadership Symposium Held at Cleveland Public Auditorium.
On Wednesday, April 13th, we tabled at the 2nd annual Women's Leadership Symposium taking place this year at the Cleveland Public Auditorium. This all day event was hosted by Cleveland State University and Ohio University and it was attended by approximately 800 people. As the news release stated, this occasion was an exploration of "women's ways of leadership and women's contributions to our community, while building powerful partnerships between students and leading women in Northeast Ohio. Whether women serve in business, government, the arts, sciences, sports, or in the home, the opportunities to achieve, make a difference, and meaningfully contribute to society are greater now than at any time in previous generations." There were panels and breakout sessions concerning such topics as women doing jobs in areas like construction that were previously dominated by men; how women can succeed in business and entrepreneurship; understanding how law firms and departments do business; and the inspirations and aspirations of women of color. One panel that we would have liked to have attended, but we were tabling at the time, concerned the appreciation of the differences and similarities of cultures and religions because it featured several people that we know likeMs. Julia Shearson, Executive Director of CAIR; Ms. Lisa Gaynier, Director of the Diversity Management Program at CSU; the Very Reverent Tracey Lind, Dean at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral; and Pastor Michelle Trotter from the House of Jubilee Ministries. Afterwards we talked to Ms. Julia Ross who thought it was wonderful because it presented differing viewpoints by people who were respectful of each other. We also talked with another of its panelists, Dr. Cory Crawford, Assistant Professor of Classics and World Religions at Ohio University. Dr. Crawford only wished that it could have gone on a bit longer. He went on to tell us that he believed that it is very important for people of different cultures to interact with each other. In fact, he recently conducted a class that was visited by several Muslims who spoke to his students about their faith and their lifestyles and it was a fine experience for all concerned. On this day, we ourselves tabled with maybe forty other vendors, some of them offering services and others focusing on employment opportunities. Our own table was between those of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (we had a particularly good dialogue throughout the day with Ms. Charlene Torbert and Ms. Vanessa Sampsel who were staffing it) and the Washkewicz College of Engineering at CSU. Some of the additional tables were occupied by Zenworks Yoga, State Highway Patrol, Heritage College, Designer Walls, Inc., Great Lakes Brewing Company, Vector Security, Foundation Center, and Chick-Fil-A. For lunch, we enjoyed as veggie sandwich in the grand ballroom as we listened to a heartrending presentation by Ms. Nancy Frates who, along with the rest of her family, devoted herself to raising awareness of ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) as well as funding for research after her son, Pete was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. Among other things they kicked off the "ALS Bucket Challenge" which raised $220 million in just a few weeks back in 2014. Of course, as we tabled we had a lot of good conversations with such people as: ***Ms. Chaerani Affandi, an architect who now has her own firm.We talked about some of the situations she encountered when she was in the process of immigrating to the United States from Indonesia. ***Ms. Jessica Paine from the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association who told us that they always look forward to receiving our holiday card each year. ***Ms. Kris McGuigan who we saw just a couple of weeks ago at the Rotary Club of Cleveland luncheon. She was very sorry that we couldn't attend its most recent gathering where Mayor Frank Jackson received an award ***Ms. Deb Venzor who talked about the good work of the Effective Leadership Academy which helps youngster develop leadership skills sometimes by means of a summer camp. ***Dr. Deborah Miller,from the College of Sciences and Health Professionals, who recalled attending a Liberian conference in Mayfield a few years back where Ms. Margaret W. Wong spoke. ***Ms. Patricia Otcasek, Manager of the Graduate Student Resource Center at CSU, said that it was good to see Ms. Margaret W. Wong represented here because she is a strong woman and this is a place for strong women. That evening we attended the monthly CAMEO (Cleveland American Middle East Organization) meeting that was NOT held at the Holiday Inn on Rockside Road in Independence this time but at Kan Zaman Restaurant on West 25th Street in Cleveland. CAMEO's President Pierre Bejjani thought it would be good to have our meeting here for a change because Kan Zaman was superb in representing the Middle Eastern community by way of "food, atmosphere, and decorum." We talked about upcoming CAMEO events that we do not want to miss like the annual picnic on July 10th to be held in Middleburg Heights and, especially, CAMEO's 46th Anniversary Celebration taking place on May 20th at St. Elias Cultural Center. This year the honorees will be Mr. Fred Bourjaily, CAMEO's 2nd Vice President and Dr. James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C. By: Michael Patterson Community Liaison, Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.