We are all suburbs of somewhere: CLI to host leadership sessions

Debra Adams Simmons, editor of The Plain Dealer; Richard J. Clark of the John P. Murphy and Kulas foundations; Bruce Hennes of Hennes Paynter Communications; and Valarie J. McCall, chief of government affairs for the City of Cleveland discuss the role of philanthropy, government and media in civic life during a CLI session in July.

This winter, Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC) and four chambers of commerce are cooperating in a whole new way. For the last two years, Civic Leadership Institute (CLI) has brought together business owners, executives, and key nonprofit and community leaders via seminars designed to foster understanding about how the city and its suburbs work together—and sometimes against each other.

Beginning Feb. 1, the CLI brings its six-part program to Cleveland’s eastern suburbs.

When Angie Polman, executive director of the Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce, attended the fall session of the CLI at its usual downtown City Club location, ideas percolated. “CLI gave me great insight into the history of our regional economy, and sharpened my civic dialogue skills,” said Polman. “It’s an excellent class for anyone serving on a nonprofit board of directors, or for people looking to put passion to work for their community, and build relationships and effective collaboration. In fact, this program was so good that I just had to help bring it out to the [suburbs].”

CLC has partnered with the Beachwood, Heights-Hillcrest, Solon and Warrensville chambers of commerce to present its East Side Edition--a proactive way for local residents to hear from, and meet, key business and community leaders, engage in networks and conversations, and deepen their understanding of how Cleveland and the region's social, economic, business and political issues are intertwined.

CLI’s mission and commitment is to broaden "community-think" by tying CLC and Eastsiders in a true civic partnership. There are over 300 CLI alumni, but this is the first time the program hit the road outside beyond downtown Cleveland. Dates and places for next neighborhood editions have yet to be decided.

Registration is open at www.cleveleads.org for this six-part series, which highlights the region’s economy, movers and shakers, arts and culture, public sector and civic interaction. Sessions fit easily into the workday, running from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Vigorous debate is guaranteed.

The CLI-East Side Edition begins Feb. 1 with a reception at the Beachwood Buick GMC car dealership, at 25975 Central Pkwy. The first class is Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the new University Hospital’s Ahuja Medical Center, at the corner of Richmond and Harvard road. Tuition for the program is $500 per participant, with a nonprofit and government rate of $350. Members of participating chambers of commerce are eligible for a $25 discount.

Bruce Hennes, CLI faculty and member of the Cleveland Leadership Center board of directors, said, “I spend much of my time in the suburbs, but when someone asks me where I’m from, I always say I’m a Clevelander. Civic Leadership Institute provides the opportunity to put meat on that phrase.”

Marianne Crosley, CEO of Cleveland Leadership Center, summed it up: “It’s thrilling to partner with the chambers of commerce, take Cleveland on the road, and reach new audiences in the eastern suburban community. The education and access we provide is critical to making connections and understanding community issues for all Clevelanders—no where you are.”

Adaora Schmiedl

Adaora Schmiedl is a Heights resident. She works for the Cleveland Leadership Center.

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Volume 5, Issue 2, Posted 4:53 PM, 01.16.2012