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Connecting with our members: GCP’s annual Chairman’s Forum

More than 125 Northeast Ohio business leaders from Greater Cleveland Partnership member companies attended the standing-room-only GCP Chairman’s Forum on Tuesday, August 20, at GCP’s offices with Board Chair Christopher M. Connor, chairman and CEO of The Sherwin-Williams Company.

Connor provided opening remarks and participated in a panel with GCP Board members Terrence Egger, chairman of The Plain Dealer Publishing Company, who moderated the discussion, and Eddie Taylor, president, Taylor Oswald, and GCP President and CEO Joe Roman.

The panel discussed some of GCP’s current priorities including the organization’s work to keep and grow the United Airlines Hub at Hopkins International Airport; implementation of The Cleveland Plan to reform and improve public education in the City of Cleveland; progress by the Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of GCP, toward next steps in developing the framework to implement Community Benefits Agreements for future development projects in Cleveland; and an update on progress toward developing Cleveland’s waterfront and greatly improving connectivity between the waterfront and downtown Cleveland’s many other assets.

In photo left to right: GCP Board member Terrence Egger, GCP Board Chair Christopher Connor, GCP Board member Eddie Taylor and GCP President and CEO Joe Roman. Click here to see more photos on the GCP Facebook page.

Thanks to our event sponsors:

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Extending “sin tax” will support public investment
in pro sports facilities

Carol Caruso, GCP’s senior vice president, advocacy, wrote a guest column last week in The Plain Dealer urging approval of the extension of the “sin tax” on cigarettes, beer and wine to pay for improvements at FirstEnergy Stadium, Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena.

She notes that “These venues have helped stimulate the multi-billion dollar renaissance of downtown Cleveland that continues today. It is easy to see the growth and progress and it continues to multiply. The benefits that the investment the public made in these facilities are so numerous and dynamic, they are almost incalculable.

"This is not about whether we made the right investments years ago; clearly, we did. This is about how to best position our venues for the future and the most appropriate way to do it."

Click here to read the full column. 

National, local strategists share best practices
in diversity management

The Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of GCP, hosted its fifth annual conference, "Economic Inclusion as a Competitive Edge," on Tuesday, August 20 at Corporate College East. More than 240 diversity and HR professionals, the largest group of conference attendees to date, participated in one of two professional development tracks:

Track 1: "Culturally Competent Leaders are Change Agents," led by Cleveland State University Diversity Management Program faculty; and

Track 2: "How to Operationalize Best Practices and Tools for Impact," led by award-winning organizations and experts featuring these topics:

“Building a Successful Talent Pipeline," Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, national managing partner, diversity and corporate responsibility, KPMG LLP;

"Increasing Board Diversity: An Innovative Advisory Board to Corporate Board Model," Cindy Burrell, CEO, Diversityinboardrooms, Inc.;

"Incorporating Supplier Diversity into your Business Strategy," Veronica Cook-Euell, supplier diversity program manager, Kent State University;

"Capitalizing on Employee Engagement and Innovation," Marlon Moore, vice president, inclusion, and Erin Walberg, inclusion specialist, Huntington National Bank;

"Your Marketing Strategy: How to Market your D&I Messages and do it Well,” James Norman, vice president, Kraft Foods.

Dr. Rohini Anand, senior vice president and global chief diversity officer at Sodexo (above photo left), opened the conference. Under her leadership, Sodexo received the prestigious 2012 Catalyst Award, which honors exceptional business initiatives that advance women in the workplace. In addition, Sodexo ranked No. 1 in 2013 and No. 2 in 2011 and 2012 on the DiversityInc index of Top Companies for Diversity.

The conference topics and speakers were chosen to to help the Commission inform its Decade 2 strategy, which will include developing initiatives and partnerships to build upon the Northeast Ohio employer community’s gains in minority leadership development and procurement dollars spent with minority-owned businesses.

"The Northeast Ohio business community is to be commended for its ongoing efforts to measure its progress in inclusiveness,” said Brian Hall, the Commission’s interim executive director. ”But our most recent numbers tell us that progress has stalled and our levels of inclusion have not kept pace with national workplace averages.

"Through our conference, we’ve brought in nationally known diversity management strategists, as well as experts from our region, who can help our members take a fresh look at how to move the needle within their organizations."

Advantages of innovation in the middle market

German management authority Hermann Simon created the term “hidden champion” to describe mid-sized companies that are first, second or third in their markets yet have little awareness outside their industries. These companies include those with up to $4 billion in revenue, although the vast majority are under $1 billion.

Simon’s research found several traits common to these companies including an emphasis on innovation, which Simon calls the dominant driver of market share in high-performing companies. The National Center for the Middle Market spoke with Simon recently about the innovation advantages of hidden champions. 

Click here to read more. 

Learn how Burke can take your company to new heights

Learn how flying out of Burke Lakefront Airport can take your company to new heights at the third annual Burke Corporate Aviation Expo on Thursday, September 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. The expo represents a unique opportunity for Cleveland area firms that use—or are considering using—corporate aviation services to meet with leading players in this industry.

They include aircraft manufacturers, charter services and fractional-ownership companies. Among those invited are C-level executives from major and mid-major Northeast Ohio companies, as well as corporate flight department executives, corporate jet service representatives and aircraft manufacturers.

The Expo is set on the ramp of Burke Lakefront Airport and will include an elegant cocktail reception with hors d'oeuvres and live music. Plan to attend this event to see the latest in corporate aviation and enjoy the city’s best sunset, with dramatic views of Lake Erie and the Cleveland skyline.