Meet Adrienne Gray – EA’s Director of Finance and Orientation Day Guide

by | Mar 28, 2024 | Arts & Culture, EA Staff News, Neighborhoods & Housing, Public Spaces, Parks & Recreation

Although Adrienne joined our company to oversee finances and payroll, she was drawn in by the life stories of candidates we work with and decided that she’d like to join our Guide pool during her first year with EA.

Each of our colleagues has a unique lens through which they view our region based on their own interests, hobbies, friendships, and where they choose to live. We encourage this individuality, knowing that each of our employees shares their knowledge, connections, and resources in an authentic way. In turn, this creates a unique experience for each candidate who spends a day or two with EA Guides exploring the region as they contemplate a new job and a relocation to our town or have already said “YES” and are headed this way. Here’s a bit more about our authentic Adrienne!

Q. When was the last time you were so engrossed in something that you were working on that you lost track of time? What were you doing? 

A. This happens all the time! But a memorable time was when I was consulting. I was with a colleague in an airport lounge waiting for a flight home from Minneapolis. We were excitedly planning how we were going to address our client’s challenges – so excitedly that we lost track of the time and missed our flight home. We had to fly to Detroit and drive a rental car home. 

Q. EA recently worked with a candidate whose goal was to visit 100 countries and they were on 78 and it made me think of you as I know you love to travel. What places are still on your bucket list and why? 

A. We love to experience different cultures, and we have been fortunate to travel extensively. Currently, we have a number of European destinations on our short list – all places we have yet to visit. We are heading to Italy in the Fall, and then we’ll probably schedule trips to Scandinavia and Greece. My father’s family is from Ukraine and my husband’s family is from Poland – both countries will make a great trip for the future. 

Q. You’ve lived in many neighborhoods in Greater Cleveland, can you share what you liked most about each one, and how those experiences pointed you to the Tremont neighborhood? 

A. After college, I lived in Little Italy and worked at CWRU. It was great to be able to walk to work, and I loved the little old Italian ladies who kept track of my comings and goings. I still enjoy the area, we visit University Circle and Little Italy frequently. I lived in Euclid for a long time, similar demographically to Lorain where I grew up. I felt very comfortable here and especially liked its easy access to Lake Erie and highways. Willoughby Hills (“where the city meets the country”) was our next home. Most of the lots are 1+ acres and as avid gardeners we were excited to build and maintain a beautiful garden there. We were minutes from North Chagrin Reservation and Manakiki Golf Course, and a short drive from Downtown Willoughby, a popular Lake County destination for food and drink. Our next move was to Tremont. We were spending a lot of social time in Tremont, Ohio City, and Detroit-Shoreway. One Sunday, we attended GardenWalk and we were blown away by the diversity of residents. We immediately started looking at homes and lots in the near west side neighborhoods and ultimately landed in Tremont. We absolutely love it here, and we’ve made numerous lifelong friends. The Towpath Trail and Red Line Greenway are daily destinations, and my husband shops the West Side Market several times a week. Tremont has walkable access to Ohio City, Downtown Cleveland, and The Flats, and “urban hiking” is a common weekend activity. 

Adrienne and friends at Tremont’s infamous Treehouse Bar

Q. What city amenities would you never want to go without? 

A. The city amenities that I most value here are the Cleveland Metroparks, the Cleveland Museum of Art (and the other University Circle world-class cultural institutions), the cultural, racial, and economic diversity of our population, and the food and bar scene. As travelers, we often visit grandiose cities and stunningly beautiful locales, but we’re always happy to come home to Cleveland and all it has to offer.

Q. You joined EA to run the financial department but you later joined our team of Guides to work with candidates out on the road as they are seeing Cleveland, often for the very first time. What have you learned from working with recruits that surprised you? 

A. I am both surprised and delighted when recruits with preconceived notions about Cleveland are dumbstruck by our wonderful city! Many are coming from regions where driving is a nightmare and they love the idea that one can get most anywhere in about 20 minutes. Others are surprised to see that the Cuyahoga River is not on fire and it’s actually filled with paddleboarders, kayakers, and rowers. They often remark on the cleanliness of our downtown and the beautiful architecture, and they’re impressed with our award-winning Cleveland Metroparks. Moving to a new city can be overwhelming, and I feel fortunate to help our recruits figure out how to successfully relocate to our region.

Adrienne exploring a town in Spain

EA Guides work in twos and provide highly customized Cleveland/Akron experiences for 100+ candidates and newcomers every year. The combined knowledge and backgrounds of the two Guides compliment one another and provide a dramatically different day or two out on the road than spending a day with a realtor, or exploring the town on their own using Google Maps. EA provides the big picture overview, context, and guidance from out local and interesting Guides, like Adrienne, who have nothing to sell but the quality of life in our region. If your organization’s talent attraction needs a shot in the arm, our 80% close rate might be what you need. Our professional onboarding for newcomers to the city connects them to the people, places, and resources they need to quickly become educated, acclimated, and networked in to the region, which is important for long term retention. Interested? Call us at 216.231.9311.