Q. When you first heard about Executive Arrangements, what appealed to you about working for the company?
A. A friend whose sister-in-law worked for EA told me “the company helps people who are moving into town, shows them around so they see places they could picture themselves living in and what there is to do in our town” and I thought well, I had never heard of this company but I bet I would be good at that (spoiler alert…she was and she is!).We moved every three years when I was growing up and so I know what it’s like to start over in a new town. I was always good at exploring the new city when we arrived and I still have that sense of adventure now, so I knew that I could relate to the people EA was working with. I also was confident that I could bring an unbiased view of what makes each community so unique and special as I have lived in more than ten neighborhoods in the Cleveland area and found something unique about each of them. Our last move, to Rocky River, was one that I was ready for, but my husband needed a bit of persuading, so I am very familiar with family negotiations that occur during this process.
Q. You seem to get energized from social interactions with people and from helping others. What did you do during the COVID years to replace those in real life connections?
A. When there was literally nothing else to do because everything was shut down during the pandemic my family began exploring their creative sides, with many of us trying something we might never have delved into with the free time. One of my sons tried his hand at woodworking, another began making leather goods. And, my son who is a musician had the time and inspiration to write an album. In the spring of 2020 my daughter challenged the whole family to a ‘Chopped’ competition with the dish’s main ingredients being mustard, blueberries and graham crackers! And, because we don’t all live in the same cities and so couldn’t taste each others final dishes, each dish had to be tasted by someone who was not involved in its creation and then they had to share their honest opinion. It was a hoot…..check out the results in this fun blog my son wrote.
Like many, we took many walks a day and I came to appreciate Cleveland’s public parks like never before. We would have all gone stir crazy at home and we needed the exercise and the Cleveland Metroparks did amazing things to help with this. Seeing the large numbers of walkers in the Rocky River Reservation, they shut down large sections of the roadway which became pedestrian only, allowing everyone the safe distance they needed back in the early days when we used to cross the street when we saw someone coming to give them room.
We also sought out volunteer opportunities that allowed us to be outside and so we helped with multiple beach clean ups and worked with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to hand out boxes of food at the Muni Lot.
Finally, the pandemic helped jumpstart technology for many companies and non-profits and it helped speed up the IT that allowed volunteers at Seeds of Literacy where I have helped out for many years, be able to continue tutoring those who sought help to improve their reading and math skills. These virtual tools made it easier to attract volunteers from anywhere, including my brother in Columbus.
Q. Thank goodness the pandemic has receded into the background and newcomers can jump in and get involved in our town. Any other favorite volunteer projects you would encourage a transplant to explore?
A. For those who enjoy the equestrian life but don’t have the property or time to board their own horse, I have really enjoy volunteering at Valley Riding Inc. This organization manages the Rocky River Stables for the Cleveland Metroparks and have been offering English and therapeutic riding lessons since 1988. Their barns abut the bridle trails that wind thru the Emerald Necklace in the Rocky River Reservation. As a volunteer and experienced horsemen, I have been both a leader and a sidewalker, working with people as young as six, who have physical, emotional and mental disabilities, or those who just want to learn to ride a horse!
Q. Minnesotans are famous for just leaning into winter and embracing it. What can you tell us about where you grew up?
A. While it is hard to compare the winter experience in any two cities, I will say that Minnesota winters are VERY cold but VERY sunny so the snow stays on the ground making the whole region bright and white for most of the winter months VS the snow/thaw that many midwestern cities experience. Minnesota winters are long and it is very common to have a heavy snowstorm into April. It is one of the reasons so many Scandinavian immigrants end up in this part of the US as it feels like home to them. We embrace the winters, we dress in many layers so that we feel comfortable outdoors and everyone finds something they like to do outside, whether its snowmobiling, cross country or down hill skiing, snowshoeing or ice fishing.
Q. Clevelanders do approach winter differently, and we tend to do lots of indoor things in the cold months. What are your winter hobbies here?
A. I love the Cleveland International Film Festival, which I first learned about it when my husband Tom worked at Dollar Bank, who was the opening night sponsor of the festival for many years. And after attending and then volunteering, I now have a job in merchandising to insure that every guest can leave with film festival SWAG!
Thommy T-Shirt Day is still one of the most popular days at the film festival as it honors Thomas Duke, a long time festival attendee who famously wore a different T-shirt every day of the festival. The festival brings such an eclectic group of movie lovers into downtown Cleveland every spring and is one of the most well respected film festivals in the country. Our films are often what is playing at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and the Palm Springs film festivals. Not bad company!
We know how hard it is to attract and retain the best as we are on the front lines working with out-of-town candidates and their families every day. If getting your A Players together in Cleveland or Akron is important to your business philosophy, there’s lots of ways Executive Arrangements can help including customized orientations of the region to woo a reluctant recruit or significant other, acclimation once the newcomers arrive and Discover Cleveland outings for your local workforce to improve morale, provide team building and give employees a reason to want to go back to the office. Call us at 216.231.9311.