"Coffee Contacts"; Annual Geneva Area Business Expo and "Creating Global Citizens"
On Thursday, February 18th, we attended two chamber of commerce events and an event put on by the Center for International Affairs at CWRU. First of all, we got up early to attend "Coffee Contacts" put on by the Mentor Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce. On this day, it took place at Slice Pizzeria on Center Road in Mentor. As Ms. Sherri Trivisonno, one of the "Coffee Contacts" organizers, said, "What an amazing Way to start off the day-pizza in the morning!" Of course, all kinds were served including a delicious vegetarian pizza which we loved. Mr. Mark Gaspar, who owns Sliced Pizzeria with his wife Val, described his establishment as "an old-time pizza joint" offering "good food, good times and a happy hour!" During our thirty-second introductions, Mr. Chester Karchefsky, Senior Director of Energy Consulting for Amerex Energy Service, poured coffee for everyone and we connected with a party who might need our services to help a relative who is having a tough time with the immigration process as it pertains to helping a spouse immigrate here from Canada. We saw several of the people from "Coffee Contacts" at our second chamber event which involved tabling on behalf of Margaret W. Wong and Associates at the annual Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce Business Expo/Trade Show located at Geneva High School on South Ridge Road in Geneva. About fifty-five vendors were there and we were told by Mr. Mike Goddard, who helped to organize, that the public turnout was pretty good compared to last year when it was a lot snowier and a lot colder. It also helped that a basketball game was scheduled to take place in another part of the high school so a spill over was anticipated. We set up our table next to that of Keystone Physical Therapy whose Clinic Director, Mr. Thomas Adams, told us that in sixteen years he has probably worked with people from one hundred thirty different countries. We spent a lot of our time there going around to the different vendors and introducing ourselves. We met Mr. Chuck Stout who told us that in the 1980's he worked for "Technicare" and referred several people who were having issues with their visas to Ms. Margaret W. Wong. Mr. Nicholas Sidoti of Burk Law Office, LLC heard us talking and walked over to tell us that his brother, Mr. Marcus Sidoti, also an attorney, used to work for Ms. Wong. We also talked to representatives from Grand River Academy in Austinburg who told us that international students from all over the world attend school there. Naturally, we also had conversations with several people who stopped by our table including Ms. Millie who talked with us about her mother who immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia in 1910 when she was only sixteen years old. She passed through Ellis Island and came to live with her aunt in Cleveland where, a few years later met her future husband (Ms. Millie's father) who immigrated here from Czechoslovakia too. Our middle-of-the-day event concerned "Creating Global Citizens" which was organized by the Center for International Affairs at CWRU. It took place at Tomlinson Hall and about 20 people, mostly faculty and administrators attended. Ms. Molly Watkins, Executive Director of International Affairs, defined a "Global Citizen" as someone who has "the ability to appreciate, understand, and adapt to different cultural perspectives, values, and behaviors." Dr. Joshua Terchek, Associate Director of Institutional Research, reviewed the results of the National Survey for Student Engagement (NSSE) which CWRU participates in every three years which indicated that "CWRU students appear to have more opportunities to interact with people who are different from them. They are also more liking to think about the world in more culturally relativistic ways." Ms. Watkins then lead a discussion about how a "Global Citizen Program" could be established. Upon arriving, we shared a table with Mr. G. Dean Patterson, Jr., Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and an affable, charming man. We kidded each other about having the same last name. He described his role as one who makes sure that students' needs are met. "I do my best," he said as he smiled, "and I have an excellent team to help me." He elaborated on this a little further and concluded by saying that, "my work involves helping people talk to each other." But, above all, "I have learned so much from my students." Written by: Michael Patterson Community Liaison, Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.