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Taking action to accelerate Cleveland’s economic momentum

GCP Annual Meeting previews three-year strategic plan

Cleveland, Ohio—It’s widely agreed that Cleveland has positively redefined its narrative and is viewed as a city on the move.

Now it’s time to accelerate that momentum and ensure that the city and Northeast Ohio are places where people and businesses want to be.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP)—one of the largest metro chambers of commerce in the nation—is looking at what comes next.

The more than 1000 business, civic and nonprofit leaders at the GCP 2017 Annual Meeting, held today at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, heard a preview of the organization’s new three-year strategic plan that outlines the business community’s role in sustaining and enhancing the city’s economic progress.

In his remarks, GCP Board Chair Rick Chiricosta, chairman, president and CEO of Medical Mutual (photo right), discussed four areas where the organization plans to focus:

Places of Impact: “This is about leveraging and investing in our assets—from maximizing the lakefront and creating a welcoming downtown—to growing the neighborhoods and ensuring we are equipped with amenities to support population growth.”

Talent that Fuels Growth: “The single biggest issue of concern for employers across the region is talent. Educational attainment, a focus on skills development, and improving the level of talent within the workplace are key areas of opportunity.”

Driving Connectivity: “While connectivity is critical, it is not without its challenges. We must understand the risks and make strategic, calculated decisions to continue our progress in areas such as air service, worker mobility, digital connectivity, and member connectivity.”

Business Development: Start, Stay, Scale Up: “Northeast Ohio must be a place that can support existing companies, attract new companies, and provide entrepreneurs with budding ideas a place where they can take risks and grow. The best way to attract new companies is to continue demonstrating the expansion culture of existing businesses.”

Continued collaboration needed for impact

While GCP represents the interests of the business community, collaborative efforts are essential to delivering impact and results, said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman.

“While this is GCP’s strategic plan, this isn’t a plan for GCP; it’s a plan for the region and specifically for the business community,” he said.

“And because of that, the plan’s success will be contingent upon many things – one of which is the ability to work towards a shared vision by leveraging the strengths and assets of our member companies and partner organizations.”

Ongoing priorities remain important

Roman also said the organization will maintain its current areas of focus including government advocacy, education and workforce development, diversity and inclusion, business retention and development including targeted efforts for the technology sector, mid-market and small businesses, and investing in catalytic projects to support economic growth in Cleveland neighborhoods.

Diversity and inclusion pacesetters recognized

The Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of the GCP, presented eight Northeast Ohio employers with its annual Best-in-Class awards for:

Board Diversity: Huntington National Bank (large for-profit organization); The MetroHealth System (large nonprofit/government/public entity); and JumpStart, Inc. (small/mid-sized organization)

Senior Management Diversity: Enterprise Holdings (large for-profit organization) and
Cuyahoga Community College (large nonprofit/government/public entity)

Workforce Diversity: Enterprise Holdings (large for-profit organization); Cleveland Clinic (large nonprofit/government/public entity); and Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (small/mid-sized organization)

Supplier Diversity: NASA Glenn Research Center (large nonprofit/government/public entity).

The Commission also announced the induction of NASA Glenn into its Hall of Fame, an honor for organizations that are a three-time Best-in-Class winner in any one category. The organization is a three-time winner for supplier diversity.

Best-in-Class winners are selected based on the results of the Commission’s annual Diversity and Inclusion Organization Assessment.

Community development advocate honored

Mark McDermott, vice president and Ohio market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., was honored as the recipient of the 2017 Richard A. Shatten Leadership Award, which is presented annually to a nonprofit leader who has made a significant impact in the Greater Cleveland community.

“Mark has worked tirelessly to bring people, organizations, policymakers and investments together to make affordable housing a reality for so many who would have gone without it,” said Roman. “Through his work, he has transformed neighborhoods and lives, giving people a new hope and opportunity for success.”

The award is presented in memory of Shatten’s role in the economic revitalization of Cleveland as an accomplished educator and research mentor at the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management and through his civic leadership with Cleveland Tomorrow and other organizations.

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About the Greater Cleveland Partnership
The Greater Cleveland Partnership, one of the largest chambers of commerce in the U.S., mobilizes private-sector leadership, expertise and resources to create attractive business conditions that create jobs, grow investment and improve the economic prosperity of the region. www.gcpartnership.com.