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Monthly Luncheon Meeting of The Solon Chamber of Commerce; Best Books for Your Summer Reading List

On Tuesday, June 14th, we went to the monthly luncheon meeting of the Solon Chamber of Commerce which, on this day, was held at the Boulder Creek Golf Club in Streetsboro.

IMG_2106The speaker was Mr. Dave Johnson, Director of Public Relations and Communications for the FirstMerit Convention Center of Cleveland and the Global Center for Health Innovation. We had seen Mr. Johnson give this presentation before on May 10th at the North Coast Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Once again, he talked about the missions of each of the facilities and the great potential that they had to attract people to Cleveland. Similarly, he spoke of the tremendous potential of the upcoming RNC and learned that he helped write the initial bid for it and is very involved with the RNC 2016 Host Committee as well as the RNC Committee on Arrangements.

Mr. Johnson brightened us all up when he said that for many years, during challenging times, Clevelanders have had to deal bravely with defeat like Eeyore the Donkey from "Winnie the Pooh" (remember the old slogan, "Cleveland-IMG_2104 You've Got to be Tough!") but now we must learn to behave like "good winners" because our future looks promising. During the course of his presentation, he paid tribute to the mayoral administration of the late George Voinovich whose reforms helped to pave the way for the RNC.

The luncheon was sponsored by "Marketplace/Events" which helps put on the "The Great Big Home and Garden Show" each February and the "Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo" each March. Ms. Cathy Berthold and Ms. Rese Pardue spoke about these wonderful, much-anticipated events and inspired us to consider tabling at both of them on behalf of Margaret W. Wong and Associates.

Afterwards, we talked to Mr. Johnson and learned that the event that draws the most international people to the convention center is the "IHE North American Connectathon" where 600 engineers from around the world meet to put things together, break them down, and put them back together again in order to make sure that their products are all compatible.

We got to meet Mr. Dana Allender, Partner with "Onyx Power and Gas Consulting" who is very involved with our good friend Mr. Joe Cimperman on the "bike sharing" project which holds great promise in terms alternative transportation.

We also spoke with a person whose relative married a man from South Africa. The family naturally had questions regarding the possibilities of this man immigrating to the United States so they checked the website of "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" and found it very useful along these lines.

On Tuesday night we went to the Happy Dog on Detroit Avenue for a City Club program regarding " IMG_2124 " which was a panel discussion in the panelists were Mr. Valentino Zullo, Teaching Fellow at Kent State University, and Ohio Center for the Book Scholar-in-Residence, Cleveland Public Library; Ms. Karen R. Long, Manager, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; and Ms. Cal Zunt, Notable Books Council of the American Library Association.

The discussion was moderated by Ms. Fay Walker, City Club Marketing and Outreach Specialist; this was her first time acting as moderator and we thought she did a fine job keeping things moving along because there was a lot of good writing to be talked about and it was important that as many deserving authors as possible got to at least be mentioned.

IMG_2127 In the course of the discussion, the value of the graphic novel and/or came into play several times particularly the Wonder Woman series which was actually deemed "a journey of self-exploration" and had a lot to say about the values of feminism and its positive effect on our society.

(Mr. Zullo mentioned something we didn't know-that a backwards "S" was the correct pattern to follow when reading a comic book or graphic novel.)

Along these lines, a graphic novel that was highly recommended which dealt with the civil rights era was "March" by Congressman John Lewis and Mr. Andrew Aydin. Other authors who the panel held in high esteem were Ms. Hope Jahren who wrote "Lab Girl" which Ms. Young said was her favorite memoir of the year; Ms. Jill Lepore who wrote "Joe Gold's Teeth" which was said to do for history what Mr. Walt Whitman did for poetry; and Ms. Alison BechdelIMG_2130 whose cartoon series tackles social issues in a very sharp but pertinent fashion.

During the Q & A, someone asked for a suggestion about what would be a good mystery to read. So when it was our turn to speak we shared with her our enthusiasm regarding a detective series by Mr. Stephen King who we happen to like because he creates outlandish situations that characters that we can relate to have to deal with. We listen to his audio books all of the time as we drive from event to event in the Cleveland area.

At the end of the discussion, each of the panelist talked about what readinIMG_2126g meant to them. Ms. Long said that "the beautiful thing about reading is that it is not passive" because the reader and the author were "co-creating" together.

Mr. Zullo said that super heroes were meant to inspire us thus characters like Wonder Woman "help us get through our daily lives".

Ms. Zunt said that "life is messy and that is why I read" to help sort things out. Come to think of it, we believe that we do too!


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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