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Painesville "Coffee Contacts" and International Names Pronunciation

On Thursday, January 7th, we started our day with "Coffee Contacts" presented by the Painesville, Mentor and Eastern Lake County Chambers of Commerce. At this gathering, Ms. Sherri Trivisonno and Ms. Kristin Strauser, the co-creators of Coffee Contacts, reminded us that this networking event has been taking place every first Thursday of the month at a multitude of locations for the last eight years. On this day, Coffee Contacts was held at the Matchworks of Mentor on Station Street in Mentor and we got to talk about Margaret W. Wong and Associates with several people who expressed an interest regarding our services. One such person was a businessman who has associates in China, and his wife teaches ESL to students who have immigrated to the United States from Asian countries. Another person we talked to knows several people who have immigrated here from Mexico and look forward to acquiring green cards and eventual citizenship.

IMG_6810As for the Matchworks of Mentor, this beautiful brick structure was built back in 1868 and was eventually purchased in 1938 by the Columbia Match Company which occupied it for approximately 40 years and provided employment for a great many residents of Lake County. In 1976, is historical status was recognized by the Mentor Historical Society as being one of the oldest industrial buildings in the Mentor area.

Recently, in October of 2015, it was purchased by Mr. Marc Wertenberger for the purpose of converting it into a multi-tenant office building. Mr. Eric Downing, President of Downing Media, assists with the marketing and social media and was glad to take us on a tour of the building. Mr. Downing said what he really likes about it is that its style is that of an old, historic building with some modern touches mixed in. Due to its unique design and the innovative and positive vision of people like Mr. Wertenberger and Mr. Downing, we are very optimistic about the future of the Matchworks.

On Thursday afternoon, we went to Nord Hall at CWRU to attend a fascinating workshop concerning the pronunciation of international names that was put on by the Center for International Affairs as part of their Global Talk Series that offers different cross-cultural programs each month.

During the course of an hour and half, we were addressed by 10 international students from China, Persia (Farsi IMG_6837language), Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Turkey who shared with us facts about their countries of origin, their alphabets and notable features of their languages, how their names related to their cultures, difficulties people who speak English might encounter when dealing with tonal languages, how common names are pronounced, and how genders may have different ways of saying things.Towards the end of the program, a young student from China suggested that a good short cut is to use google to obtain the correct pronunciation of a name or word via audio.

Ms. Cami Ross, Coordinator of Programming at the Center for International Affairs, discussed strategies for correct name pronunciation. Among the things that Ms. Ross suggested was to ask someone how his/her name should be pronounced; repeat the name and ask if you got it right and if not keep trying; and privately repeat the name several times and make notes to help in the future.

Ms. Elise Geither, Associate Director for Spoken English Programs, talked for a moment on why the correct pronunciation of a person's name is so important. She gave some excellent reasons which were that a name is a part of everyone's identify and thus means a lot to them; if someone pronounces a person's name correctly that person feels acknowledged and accepted; people are more at ease in a group where everyone's name is known; when a person's name is known and correctly pronounced, he or she feels that people care about them so community and interaction are created; and knowing names is a skill for professional development and networking.

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