Happy Hour for the Ladies New to NE Ohio COVID-19 Edition

by | Oct 6, 2020 | Arts & Culture, Dining, Nightlife, Shopping, Neighborhoods & Housing, Networking & Connections, Volunteering

In late September, Executive Arrangements hosted 40 women for our EA Connects Class of 2020 – Zoom Edition.  While we were disappointed this annual gathering, which introduces new to NE Ohio women to each other and their local peers, wasn’t on a patio with wine and appetizers like in past years, we were happy that Zoom was invented before COVID-19 arrived so we can stay connected.

This was last year’s party in “Real Life”

EA Connects Class of 2019 – In the Before Times when we could socialize!

And this was our party this year

EA Connects Class of 2020 Zoom Edition – socially distanced by connecting anyway

We were not sure what the response to our invite would be (Aren’t we all Zoomed out?!) and were pleasantly surprised that 20 newcomers spent two hours getting to know each other via computer. And, they were joined by another 20 local ladies who welcomed them to Cleveland. Our annual event has been a favorite helping recent transplants create a first group of girlfriends. It’s hard to make time to create friendships when our newcomers are trying to get settled in a new job or looking for one when they were uprooted due to their partner’s new job in NE Ohio.  So this year more than ever with the pandemic, we sent the invites knowing that making connections was even  more important, as the ways one would normally connect in a new town have been taken off the table. And, post Zoom we’ve decided to take this years gathering a step further (more on that later).

Silver Linings Abound

We could bemoan the past or embrace the changes that a global pandemic has offered, and we chose to focus on the latter! The silver linings to this year’s Zoom gathering were many.  More women were able to participate as they didn’t have to drive anywhere. Several of our ladies signed in from different states as they are in the process of moving or working from current home. No one had to find a babysitter, and we were able to meet several of the kids as they hopped up on mom’s lap! And let’s not forget about the four-legged family members, so fun to see their dogs, roaming around in the background where we had a glimpse of everyone’s style in home décor and furnishings, some  sparse as they were still unpacking boxes. Most importantly we discovered that Zoom is an equalizer of sorts. Those who are not extroverts and don’t relish cocktail party small talk had a level playing field with those who are super out-going. Each was given an equal amount of time to share their story while the rest of us listened…which never happens at an in person happy hour. Oh, and we shared in our intro that we would be recording our time together and sharing the link so we could be present in the NOW, not worrying about taking notes or remembering names. We suggested that they watch the video afterwards at their leisure (or read the Girlfriends Directory we shared with all who participated).

The companies that brought these newcomers to Cleveland/Akron

From the cities on the coasts and areas in between we are attracting talent to NE Ohio

Our 2020 Class of newcomers are arriving from:

  • Seattle
  • Ann Arbor, Midland and Detroit MI
  • Chicago and Evanston, IL
  • Los Angeles
  • Philadelphia
  • New York/New Jersey
  • South Carolina
  • Northern VA
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Joplin, MO
  • Minneapolis
  • Ann Arbor

Want to know what neighborhoods that appeal to newcomers?

Lots of places! NE Ohio has so many cool suburbs and city neighborhoods to choose from. Here is where they settled or are in the process of relocating to:

  • Chagrin Falls
  • Medina
  • Shaker Heights
  • Rocky River
  • Hinckley
  • Westlake
  • Pepper Pike
  • Bay Village
  • Hunting Valley
  • Bainbridge
  • Beachwood
  • Solon
  • North Royalton
  • Cleveland Heights
  • Ohio City’s Hingetown neighborhood
  • Downtown Cleveland in The Beacon and The Halle Building apartments

We asked each to share a bit about their interests, family and anything they were still looking to for. This created a flurry of answers posted in our chat sidebar.  Amongst the need to find were:

  • Best pizza parlor
  •  horse/equestrian resources
  • dog kennnels and vets
  • restaurants & wine bars with COVID-19 safe patios thru the fall
  • favorite hiking trails
  • walking & cycling clubs
  • rowing on the Cuyahoga River
  • where to hear live music
  • writing groups

Several newcomers were in the job market, haven taken one for the team by following their spouse to Cleveland/Akron for his job and now looking for the next opportunity for themselves…..more ideas came thru.
And as is tradition, we invited an almost equal number of locals to participate who all offered to be available to offer resources and connections to the newcomers, especially those who were leaders in some of Cleveland’s leading non-profit organizations that can provide volunteer opportunities and connections for newcomers:

And in order to help those brave enough to move to a new city during a global pandemic, we are are organizing walking groups in 3-4 different parts of town as well as taking up the local non-profit leaders offers to be part of a private tour at their institution including a hike to see fall leaves at Holden, a driving tour to see the best street art/murals and a winter stop at the Cleveland Museum of Art. EA will help plan an “outing” (some may be virtual) once every 4-6 weeks to keep newcomers engaged and connected to their new town and insure their retention.
If you have a candidate or new hire who needs a professional on-boarding to the region, Executive Arrangements is the place to turn. Call us at 216.231.9311.