In the summer of 2014, Jason Rudman and his husband, Alvin McCray, relocated from New York City for Jason’s new job as Senior VP, Head of Consumer Payments & Digital Banking at KeyBank. Here is their story, as told by Alvin.
“Cleveland? Cleveland? I mean, we knew where Cleveland sat geographically. It’s that Midwest city directly across from New York City. It was a not a location pinpointed on our map of potential “what if we left the greatest city on earth” destinations. But as my husband Jason Rudman and I have alway said, “anything is possible.” Jason was in the position for change – new job, new city. We talked a great deal about moving our family out to the West Coast and seeing what opportunities were there. Our son Roman was barely a year old when Key Bank reached out to Jason to discuss a role in its consumer business. The offer was too good to pass up. Not only would it benefit Jason from a career perspective, but it would offer us a chance to better our quality of life.
But before we walked away from our Manhattan lifestyle opting for the rustic Ohio Valley, we were treated to an informational tour of the city coordinated by Executive Arrangements. The wonderful folks at EA were assigned to ensure that we got a good taste of what this great city had to offer. We toured several neighborhoods to see where we might settle. We were whisked through Tremont and Ohio City past fine restaurants and cool eateries like Lolita’s and Johnny Mangos. Places that were foreign to us a year ago have become our go to spots when entertaining our friends who come to visit from NY and LA. Their reactions are always, “Wow! This is Cleveland?!” Knowing my love of performing arts, EA also took time to introduce our family to several prominent leaders in the arts community. We shared conversation with Cleveland Public Theater artistic director Raymond Bobgan and learned about the great work CPT has done and continues to do to bring original and classic theater to the Cleveland area. We also had the chance to dine with Daniel Hahn, the Director of Community Engagement & Education for downtown’s theater district Playhouse Square. And it didn’t stop there. Hosted by Margy Judd, we enjoyed a night of fine wine, delicious food and met other professionals who were transplanted to CLE at a dinner party at her home. We all shared our experiences and our newly found adoration for Cleveland.
More importantly, the city is a great place to raise a family. We no longer contend with the stress of shuffling along amongst 10 million people while pushing a baby stroller. Whether it’s the ease of hopping in our car to go shopping at the nearby Target and Giant Eagle on 117th St. or a casual stroll past the cool shops on Euclid Ave. like Pour Cleveland Coffee Shop and the new downtown Heinen’s, living downtown on Public Square offers us quick and easy access to the many amenities in our area. And for playtime with Roman, Edgewater Park sits perfectly on Lake Erie outfitted with a quaint beach for fun in the sand. There’s also the interactive Childrens’s Museum and Natural History Museum to pass the time on the weekends. We are never out of options when it comes to entertaining our family.
So when I think back to that day we were asked to consider Cleveland, all I can say is “Yes!”