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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Friday, June 08, 2018

Guilty as Charged

Brad Whitehead, President, The Fund for Our Economic Future

Earlier today, Jon J. Pinney, Managing Partner of Kohrman Jackson Krantz, gave a stirring and compelling presentation at The City Club of Cleveland. He provided an honest reckoning of our economic position and challenged the community to reach higher in its aspirations.Towards the end of his remarks, he specifically called out eight leaders by name to step up their game and better align efforts.

I was one of those named. And we are all white men.

As Jon went down his list, there was a palpable, growing expectation (horror?) in the room that the list would end where it did: all white men. That this occurred cannot simply be chalked up to a failure of imagination on Jon’s part; instead, it is a sobering indictment of the power structure in our business and civic community. Basically, Jon pointed to some of the most well-funded, best-networked economic development organizations. Those he left off the list are largely led by white men as well.

I could not agree more enthusiastically with Jon’s call for us to lead more effectively. But I think our greatest act should be to change the power paradigm. Therefore, I call on each of us – Dave Gilbert, Chris Ronayne, Brian Zimmerman, Will Friedman, Ray Leach, Steve McHale, Bill Koehler, and me (as well as the unnamed others who are likely to be invited to the to-be-formed “table”) – to nominate someone to lead on our behalf. Someone who is NOT a white man. And it should be an individual who is well-positioned to lead for the next 10 to15 years. Furthermore, I call on each of us to enable these emerging leaders by placing the full weight of our influence behind them.

If any of you need help thinking of someone, please reach out! A wealth of talent exists in this community that is waiting to be tapped. No, I don’t have anything against white men; ultimately, I am sure there are going to be many who will be in the room anyway. But one way to get over what Jon characterized as the Greater Cleveland “ego-system” is to share our positional authority more broadly and more inclusively.

At the end of the Fund for Our Economic Future’s 2 Tomorrows report on regional priorities, we note that being average is a choice. So is being extraordinary. Broadening our power structure is a critical first step towards choosing extraordinary.

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Dan Moulthrop, on behalf of Jan Roller - June 11, 2018

Hats off to Brad Whitehead for his “Guilty as Charged” post to John Pinney’s Friday Form speech. But another post from Wayne Mesker has the same problem as Pinney’s speech, of the many people he listed as “Movers and Shakers” or “VIPs” with prominent roles in the area of economic development, only one was a woman.
In order to align the ecosystem as Mr. Pinney hopes, leaders need to get out of their comfort zone and recognize that many women are deeply engaged in efforts to improve this City and County. Many attended Friday’s Forum such as Eliza Wing, Jennifer Thomas, Megan O’Bryan, Carrie Carpenter, Marianne Crosley, Claire Rosacco, Jerry Sue Thornton, Kate Hubin, Evelyn Burnett , Shanelle Smith, Shilpa Kedar, Shelia Wright and Megan Van Voorhis. As the effort to improve Cleveland’s standing goes forward, reaching out to these and many other women and people of color will only improve the chances of success.

Wayne Mesker - June 09, 2018

Bravo Brad for not being afraid to accept Jon's "Indictment" as it were & rise to the challenge
I have made efforts in my role of Outreach & Advocacy Director of the Alive Inside Foundation to connect with V.I.P.'s that have prominent roles in the ego-system not just within the area of Economic Development but the Movers & Shakers that could be very helpful in seeing our mission to serve an alarmingly growing demographic segment of Northeast Ohio's population ( Elders living with Alzheimer's or other types of Dementia ) expand & succeed
Some of them have been receptive including yourself , Chris Ronayne , Joe Cimperman , PNC's Paul Clark , Matt Carroll from the Cuyahoga County Executive's office , Ed Eckart from the Cleveland Dept. of Public Safety , Bill Kelly from Cuyahoga County Public Library , Eric Gordon from CMSD , Mary McNamara from Cleveland Dept. Of Aging , Councilman Blaine Griffin and several others
Then there are those who have basically brushed me aside or for the most part ignored me like Armond Budish , Ronn Richards , Greg Harris , the folks from the Cleveland Film Festival ( whose praises I have been singing since 2014 ) the Cleveland Alzheimer's Association and I'm sure there will be others
I'm not afraid to name names either and can only hope that they will check themselves
I just recently added the title of Executive VIPeon to my Business Card
My own personal importance if I have any is as a result of my organizational mission
Our organization is building bridges through cooperation and collaboration
Competition at least in this arena is Counter-Productive at the least & Destructive at the worst.
I recently asked Dan Moulthrop out of respect if he would object to me trying to start a City Club in Parma & he was encouraging
We need LEADERS with Vision and accountability
Just sayin'

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