Stay Informed on News and Policy

Every Monday -- News from GCP

Tax reform and the Northeast Ohio business community

On Friday, February 24, the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) hosted a forum with Senator Rob Portman and GCP members regarding the direct impact our nation’s tax code has on job creators and the business community as whole.

The constructive discussion provided business leaders from across the region the opportunity to address critical tax issues and specific tax priorities that directly impact our region.

Click to watch
a portion of the Senator’s remarks after the meeting.

Senator Portman currently serves on the Finance Committee. And, as chairman of the Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight, he is taking the lead on developing corporate tax reform legislation in the U.S. Senate.

GCP Board member chairs Small Business Congress event

The National Small Business Association (NSBA) recently held its 2017 Small Business Congress in Washington, D.C. where small business leaders from across the country discussed topics ranging from tax reform and alternative financing to regulatory reform and improving the Affordable Care Act.

Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) Board member Kevin Johnson, president Glenwood Management Company, served as chair and oversaw a successful event with a record number of attendees.

“The Small Business Congress is NSBA’s biennial event held at the start of each new session of Congress,” said Johnson. “It is designed to give NSBA members a voice in determining the organization’s top policy priority issues.

“I was honored and humbled to lead this year’s event.”

The two-day conference was packed full with policy discussions and culminated in attendees voting on NSBA’s policy priorities for the coming two years. To view NSBA’s top priorities, click here.

Learn why diversity doesn’t stick without inclusion

Business leaders have long recognized that a diverse workforce of women, people of color, and LGBT individuals confers a competitive edge in terms of selling products or services to diverse end users.

Yet a stark gap persists between recognizing the leadership behaviors that unlock this capability and actually practicing them.

Part of the problem is that “diversity” and “inclusion” are so often lumped together that they’re assumed to be the same thing. But that’s just not the case.

In the context of the workplace, diversity equals representation. Without inclusion, however, the crucial connections that attract diverse talent, encourage their participation, foster innovation and lead to business growth won’t happen.

As noted diversity advocate Vernā Myers puts it, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Read the entire article by Laura Sherbin and Ripa Rashid for Harvard Business Review in the “Strategy Essentials” section of the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s Best Practices Repository.

The Commission on Economic Inclusion is a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

Online Diversity Assessment now available

The Commission on Economic Inclusion’s new online Diversity & Inclusion Organization Assessment can now be accessed for completion. It is a valuable resource whose results function as a barometer of inclusion in our region and provide employers with a tool and benchmarks for examining their own diversity and inclusion efforts.

The Assessment is available to all Greater Cleveland Partnership members as a benefit of membership. We encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity!

During the past year, the Commission solicited feedback from stakeholders in various industries and job responsibilities and implemented a full re-design of the former Employers Survey on Diversity Assessment using a new online platform. The result is a far more powerful tool that is easier to use and will provide more meaningful feedback in a tighter time frame.

Employers who complete the D&I Assessment will receive immediate feedback upon making their final submission, along with suggested resources which can be useful for internal diversity and inclusion strategic planning. The D&I Assessment and the associated resources can be helpful to any organization—whether they have an established D&I program in place, or they are looking for a place to start.

A report on aggregate results of all employers’ data, as well as a confidential individual scorecard for each organization that participated, will be distributed after the data collection is complete.

Need more information? Have questions?

If you have previously completed the survey and have not received your confidential link and password, or if your organization is interested in completing the Diversity & Inclusion Organization Assessment for the first time, please contact Scott Harrington at or 216.592.2213.

Avoid the downhill trajectory of “business as usual”

Being successful long-term in business includes having the ability to anticipate disruption in the marketplace, having a response to that disruption, and identifying and maximizing opportunities that result from it.

Attendees at our first-quarter Accelerating Middle-Market Progress last week heard from Peter Grimm, CEO of Cipher Systems about how Competitive Intelligence helps businesses anticipate disruptions that could have a major impact on their competitive environment.

The ultimate goal is to “reduce uncertainty for enhanced tactical (short-term) and strategic (longer-term) decision-making.”

And that, he said, requires an innovative business model that allows for ongoing reevaluation even when it’s successful. He noted that “failing to challenge perceptions can cause you to overlook future market disruptors.”

A real-world example is Blockbuster, whose delivery of entertainment content couldn’t keep up with changes triggered by innovations within its industry.

Other key points from the presentation that businesses should keep top-of-mind included:
  • Lack of diversity of ideas reinforces “business as usual.”
  • “Business as usual” often results in little business in the future.
  • Thinking outside-the-box is difficult unless challenged.
  • Cognitive biases can cloud strategic decision making.

GCP LEAD: Emerging leaders wanted

We are now accepting nominations of emerging leaders from Greater Cleveland Partnership member companies for the 2017 GCP LEAD Cohort 2.

To submit your nomination, please email Angela Finding.

GCP LEAD (Link. Engage. Advocate. Develop.) was created because the GCP recognizes the importance of cultivating our region’s future business and community leaders through the work of the GCP.

The GCP LEAD group will be an exclusive cohort of emerging leaders from member companies with at least five years of professional experience and an interest in getting involved in the areas of economic development, education and workforce, advocacy, diversity and inclusion, and business and physical development.

Members of the cohort will dive into a “GCP immersion experience” by participating in our current work and partnerships. Upon successful completion of the one-year program, GCP LEAD members are encouraged to stay engaged in the organization. GCP staff will work to place them in the areas that best suit their interests and strengths.

Nomination requirements

  • At least five years of professional work experience
  • Employed by a GCP-member company
  • Have an interest in the work of the GCP

Nomination process

All candidates must be nominated by their organization’s president/CEO via an email to Angela Finding at stating their intent to nominate, the nominee’s name, title and contact information.

REMINDER:  Once nominated, the candidate is required complete a GCP LEAD questionnaire (for informational purposes only).

Please click here for information on participation fees and additional details about the program.

If you have questions, contact Angela Finding at 216.592.2385 or

Academies of Cleveland: Help CMSD 11th graders develop job-interview skills

As part of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s college and career readiness work with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District Academies of Cleveland schools, we are helping to identify business professionals who are interested in conducting mock interviews on Friday, March 24 with 11th graders at Martin Luther King High Jr. School located at 1651 East 71st Street, Cleveland, OH 44103.

The interviews will take place over two shifts from 9 to 11 a.m. and 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Volunteers can select a shift or choose to stay the whole time.

The purpose is to help prepare the students for real-life job interviews by acting as the interviewer and providing constructive feedback. Please contact Angela Finding at 216.592.2385 or with questions or to volunteer. Please indicate your shift preference when confirming your participation.

About the Academies of Cleveland

The Academies of Cleveland (AoC) is a new approach to college and career readiness for students in five Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) high schools: Garrett Morgan, Jane Addams Business Careers Center, Martin Luther King Jr., Max S. Hayes, and Washington Park Environmental Studies.

Each school focuses on career pathways from a variety of industries that drive economic growth in our community. The AoC schools work to ensure that young people are prepared to learn for a lifetime, thrive in tomorrow’s dynamic workplaces, and contribute to Cleveland’s economic and civic prosperity.

True2U: Employers needed to host out-of-school experiences
for CMSD eighth-graders

True2U is a youth development and career exploration mentoring program designed for eighth grade Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) students. True2U is a shared vision of community, business, faith-based, philanthropic and educational leaders.

A key component of the True2U experience for students is it to give them “out-of-school experiences” that introduce them to career opportunities from a variety of sectors. The business community is an integral partner in this work. Our goal is to recruit employers to partner with us by hosting one or more groups of CMSD eighth-graders during their out-of-school experience.

All participating organizations will host a group of eighth-graders ranging from 15-65 students beginning at 9 or 10:30 a.m. during the weekdays of April 17-28. They will spend 90 minutes introducing the students to their organization and showing them the breadth of career options available.

Agendas for the day can be determined by each organization in coordination with True2U staff and can include some or all of the following:
  • An organization overview
  • A tour of the facilities
  • A demonstration or hands-on experience (if possible) and
  • A panel discussion showcasing the diversity of careers within the organization with staff sharing their career paths and choices.
If you are interested in being a host organization or have additional questions, please contact Angela Finding at or 216.592.2385.

During in-school mentor lead advisory sessions, True2U students have been exploring potential career paths available to them. But no amount of in-class activity or discussion can capture the level of engagement and in-depth learning students can have when provided the opportunity to venture beyond the classroom and experience the day-to-day operations of an organization.

By participating in this activity, your organization will give True2U students this opportunity and expose them to the possibilities that exist for their futures.

True2U is supported by community leaders from the Cleveland Foundation, MyCom, Greater Cleveland Partnership, and Neighborhood Leadership Institute. Currently in year two of its three-year phase in, True2U is serving approximately 1,600 eighth-grade students in partnership with over 200 business and community volunteer mentors.

By year three, True2U will serve every eighth-grade CMSD student—there are approximately 2,500—with the assistance of over 600 mentors.

If you are interested in learning more about mentoring for the 2017-2018 school year, please contact Angela Finding at

Connect with diverse suppliers at the B2B Matchmaker

The U.S Small Business Administration and the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) invites Greater Cleveland Partnership member companies and organizations to participate as a buyer at the 2017 Cleveland Business-to-Business Matchmaker.

Please join us on Thursday, June 8 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Terrace Club and Suites at Progressive Field, 2401 Ontario Street, for the opportunity to connect with a diverse group of businesses who can help fulfill your procurement and diverse supplier needs.

As a participant, you can meet with:
  • HubZone certified companies
  • Minority-owned businesses
  • Small businesses
  • Small disadvantaged and 8(a) certified companies
  • Veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses
  • Women-owned businesses
Matchmaking appointments will pair your company’s needs with the capabilities of the small business attendees based on compatible NAICS codes, ensuring time well-spent for both you and the supplier.

Each 15-minute appointment will take place in a private suite at Progressive Field to allow you to have conversations without interruptions or distractions.

There is no cost to you as a buying organization. Continental breakfast, lunch and parking will be provided.

Click to learn more and register.

Deadline extended to apply for Best of Tech Awards

The deadline to apply for the 2017 Best of Tech Awards has been extended until 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, March 13. To apply, click to create a profile with DecisionDesk.

The awards, which have been presented for the past 11 years, recognize successful companies, innovative products and inspirational leadership.

Here are the award categories:
  • Best Tech Services Company
  • Best Software Device/Product
  • Best Healthcare Tech Product
  • Most Promising Startup
  • Tech Team of the Year
  • Tech Company of the Year
  • Best Manufacturing Automation Product
  • Best Tech Workspace
Finalists will be announced on Friday March 24, and winners will be honored at the Best of Tech Awards Dinner on April 27 as part of 2017 Tech Week.

Launched by OHTec in 2011, Tech Week is an annual initiative to support, celebrate and engage the local tech community.

Sponsored by:

Chemical Bank invests in the communities it serves

Chemical Bank’s hometown approach to banking has remained steadfast and focused on community banking, highlighted by local leadership and decision making, a devotion to the community and personalized service. It is committed to delivering the guidance and support you need to plan for the future and reach your financial goals and becoming the preeminent Midwest community bank.

Using a team approach, the bank provides its customers with an array of expertise that spans business, personal and investment services. Its experienced professionals spend much of their time working closely with customers to learn about their goals in order to develop personalized financial solutions to help meet their needs.

As a Community Bank, Chemical Bank actively invests in its communities. In addition to the financial support provided to local organizations, employees dedicate countless volunteer efforts on an ongoing basis. Chemical Bank employees are leaders, members and volunteers of charitable organizations and community events including the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio, Vocational Guidance Services and many others.

Another campaign that is new to the bank and the Ohio area this year is the Winter Wishes campaign. The holiday season may be over, but the giving season has just begun at Chemical Bank. Banking centers across the bank footprint are collecting items for organizations in their area.

To learn what the banking center near you is collecting and where those supplies are being donated in your community, please visit

Chemical Bank has offices located throughout Michigan, Northeast Ohio and Northern Indiana. Please stop by your local banking center or visit for more information about the bank can better serve your banking needs and help you reach your financial goals.

Chemical Bank. Creating Community Chemistry. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.