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Out & About in Cleveland

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Greater Cleveland Partnership

Wednesday, April 2, 2014, we attended the Greater Cleveland Partnership 2014 Annual Meeting. Highlights of the meeting included the transition of board chair, from Chris Connor of Sherwin Williams to Beth Mooney of Key Bank, dazzling video of the growth and success of Cleveland, a review of the past ten years in Cleveland, presentations by Chris Connor, Beth Mooney and GCP President and CEO Joe Roman, and the keynote by Ohio Governor John Kasich.

One of Governor Kasich’s most memorable observations, amongst his wonderful list of accomplishments and accelerating progress of Northern Ohio, was his memory of childhood when his family would venture to Cleveland’s lakefront from suburban Pittsburgh.  His uncle, when the family vehicle passed the Ohio border, would pronounce that Ohio is the Promised Land.

Governor Kasich said of his early memories, his most awe inspiring was Lake Erie.  He said it’s a gem, and one that should be protected and admired.

Part of the excitement of the GCP Annual Meeting was gathering in the relatively new Cleveland Convention Center, a hallmark of civic pride, engineering excellence, and bright new opportunities for our region going forward.

Some of the regional neighbors we me included a geologist from an engineering firm with locations in Cleveland and Detroit (and who’s interested in talking with us further about our international experience), the chair of the business school at University of Phoenix, and two commercial insurance executives who were formerly colleagues at Wells Fargo, but are now with competing/complementary  firms.

An question we often have for people we meet is what component  of their industry is foreign born.  The geologist we spoke with last night is foreign born, the education executive both employs and teaches foreign born.  But the insurance executives agreed that their industry is almost wholly devoid of foreign born.  They were not proud of that, but stated it factually.  They acknowledge that most major contributors in their firms are in their 50s and 60s, and their families have been in country 4 or 5 generations.  They also acknowledge they need younger and possibly more diverse talent, but are not making moves towards making that change.

We’ll see you at GCP – helping drive change and helping the region welcome foreign born to make us bigger, better, and stronger.

Out & Aboutimwong