The Corporate Club at Landerhaven presented 3 heavy hitters at the March 15 event. The topic was Marketing Cleveland and moderator Chris Tye of WKYC-TV3 led a panel of David Gilbert, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Positively Cleveland, Baiju Shah, President and CEO of BioEnterprise and Ivan Schwarz, Executive Director of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.
Moderator Chris Tye of WKYC-TV3, David Gilbert, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Positively Cleveland, Baiju Shah, President and CEO of BioEnterprise
and Ivan Schwarz, Executive Director of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.
Before the panelists spoke, a representative of the American Red Cross presented a certificate of appreciation to Landerhaven's Harlan Diamond for hosting and supporting the 14th annual Red Cross Blood Drive at Landerhaven. It was the first opportunity for many of the movers and shakers in the audience to hear from Mr. Diamond who was charged last week with one count in connection to the Cuyahoga County corruption probe.
Harlan Diamond accepting award from American Red Cross
The Red Cross presentation was a reminder about how much Harlan Diamond has done for the Cleveland and NE Ohio community. We hope that he is still at the helm for many, many more years.
Moderator Tye, a Chicago native, began by asking about the need to market Cleveland to Clevelanders, maybe more so than to outsiders. Ivan Schwarz is from Los Angeles and was surprised at the numerous "Why did you move here" questions he has received from Clevelanders.
Baiju Shah told how people from cities that Clevelanders seem to want to emulate (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, etc.) come to Cleveland for health care.
David Gilbert mentioned that a "Can't Do" attitude can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Schwarz touted the region's benefits to film makers. "Who wouldn't want to shoot here?" he asked. We have the infrastructure for 1 million people with only 400,000 residents. "Ohio is like a back lot - everything is open for filming." He told how everyone walks away with a positive impression after a site visit to Cleveland.
Plus it is relatively inexpensive to do business here. "They can stay at nicer hotels in Cleveland" than they could in more expensive cities, for example.
All three panelists stressed that it's not about the marketing so much as it is about jobs and economic development. Schwarz said film makers spend a lot of money in a short amount of time.
Vicky Hawke with NOACC
Shah said that cities don't typically build hotels around health systems but we have 4 with another 2 on the way. Clevelanders don't fully appreciate what we have here because it's always been there. He said that in 2001 we had about 250 health care companies. Now there are over 600 such companies. Even our manufacturing base is evolving to become suppliers to the healthcare market.
Gilbert told how an event like the upcoming NCAA tournament will bring in 10,000 or so people and have an impact of 10-12 million dollars. Multiply that by the 10 major national sports events in Cleveland to be held this year and you can see the tremendous impact. And the psyche of the community gets a lift which adds to the quality of our lives.
David Gilbert said that Clevelanders use the wrong "W" when meeting newcomers. Instead of "Welcome", it's too often "Why" as in "Why did you move here?"
Baiju Shah agreed pointing out that many of our assets are known nationally. Several Presidents of the US have displayed Cleveland institutions as icons for the rest of the country yet locals don't fully appreciate what we have.
When asked about the effect of sports teams records, David Gilbert said that it is especially important in a city like Cleveland that is not as transient as say Phoenix or Miami. Generations of people have been rooting for local teams so we have deep roots and are tied to our teams. It's a very passionate community.
And the weather? Baiju Shah told how Seattle lost a basketball team and has rainy weather yet still acts as if it were truly the Emerald City. Gilbert said that we don't market the sunny skies or buildings - we market via business plans.
Ellen Kelley and Nancy Artale of Positively Cleveland
Baiju said the Medical Mart is "a watershed moment - a symbolic statement" to Cleveland and the country. Yes it focuses on medical but other industries will grow as well. A series of small projects will be accomplished and "consistency creates foundation."
Of course just having a new Medical Mart won't make business magically appear. Likewise, David Gilbert said that just having a new convention center doesn't mean they will come here. Schwarz agreed. "Just because we have the back lot doesn't mean they are coming." They all cited the need for world class service and even "Only in Cleveland" services.
Schwarz said we should not try to mimic other cities but should strive to become the "best Cleveland we can be."
Dennis Lieberman showing one of his Post-Up Stands for displays
They key to attracting and retaining young people is to show them the opportunities that are here. Baiju Shah returned to Cleveland knowing that he could quickly accomplish what he wanted to do here while it would take years in some other cities. Schwarz says that young people could move to NY or LA but that would not guarantee a job in the film industry. In Cleveland they can get the experience now.
Though the panel was titled 'Marketing Cleveland' it really was a business discussion. As David Gilbert summed up, "Cleveland Rocks - whether it's our slogan or not, it should be our attitude."
City of Beachwood Community Services Director Karen Carmen (center) and Beachwood High School students Telly Mattocks, Michael Bohm, Brian Diamond and Michael Perrino
The students were promoting The Green Dream billed as Ohio's largest eco-friendly showcase. The event will be held April 15, 2011 from 1-7PM at Beachwood Community Center.
Top of Page
Back to Great Lakes Geek Events