Q: Would you share a bit about yourself and your family? Where is home?
Although I was born and raised in NC, I moved to Bay Village in 1992. Other than living in Nashville while attending Vanderbilt University and spending 5 years in Portland, Oregon we have raised our 2 kids in Bay Village and consider it home. Jack recently graduated from Clemson University in SC and has started his career in Charleston, SC. Kate will be graduating from Denison University in May and will begin her career in Washington DC. As a family we are avid snow skiers, hikers, boaters, National Parks explorers, and adventure seekers. Q: How long have you been working with Executive Arrangements and what drew you to us?
I joined EA in November of 2012 shortly after we’d relocated twice with my husband Dave’s job. Appreciating the stress, emotions, logistical coordination, and options of moving a family firsthand, made working for EA a great fit for me. I wish I had had an “EA” as I was moving cross country. My coworkers have lived, studied, traveled, researched, and explored all corners of the globe. As we work with worldwide candidates considering a move to Cleveland, there is ALWAYS someone on our team that has relevant information our clients need and desire.
It is fascinating to watch our team brainstorm about the very specific needs of our clients and collectively create an experience that will accurately represent the CLE they want. I am humbled to be in the car with clients who fluently speak many languages, have tremendous professional and travel experiences, and yet still need to understand the basics; best schools, bike able neighborhoods, doctors, piano teachers and soccer teams for their children. At the end of the day, we at EA are trying our very best to solve the many needs of our clients. It’s like a puzzle to be solved. That’s why I love this job. It is easy to showcase a city that I love.
Q: As a volunteer with Community Service Alliance would you share their mission and your involvement. How can Clevelanders get involved?
When I am not working with EA clients, you can usually find me attempting to love and care for men transitioning out of homelessness through Community Service Alliance. CSA welcomes non-violent, sober men who have come out of homeless shelters, off the streets, or out of rehab who desire to live in a sober Christian supportive space where they can heal and re-enter society independently. We currently have 4 homes where up to 50 men can live in community as they heal.I spend much of my time making sure their living environment is clean, renovated, safe and well equipped. It has been a joy to work with these men, many of whom are veterans, who have, for whatever series of events, found themselves homeless. Handyman skills, yardwork projects, finding needed furniture and bedding, making meals, baking cookies, driving to doctor appointments and job interviews, or helping men move into their new apartment are just a few ways that countless volunteers support CSA. If you’d like to get involved please contact me or visit their website.
Q: What changes have you seen in Cleveland since your move here?
When I left NC to move to CLE in 1992, most of my friends thought I was crazy, honestly! Downtown was void of nightlife and destination spots, The Flats were dangerous and becoming boarded up, the lake and river were dirty, downtown living was non-existent and Playhouse District was under-utilized.
Since that dismal first winter, I have witnessed an economic explosion in downtown, where every possible building has been renovated and the downtown resident population is at the magic mark of 20 K. Three beautiful pro-sports venues built, Playhouse Square hitting record numbers of annual subscriptions and attendance, Public Square redeveloped, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, and the East and West Banks of the Flats renovated with beautiful river front living, nightlife and attractions. Not to mention the additions and renovations to University Circle, CWRU, UH and CCF. CLE is hardly recognizable from the early 90’s.
I am excited to see restaurants, fields, museums, beer gardens, art festivals, Edgewater Live, and Wade Oval Wednesdays all reopen so that Clevelanders can do what we do…enjoy our city.
Q: We know you enjoy boating and paddle boarding. What places do you travel to in and along Lake Erie?
Our family loves taking advantage of everything Lake Erie has to offer when it isn’t frozen (and even then, we walk along it and admire its beauty daily). We are power boaters and enjoy dropping a SUP (stand up paddleboard) in the water at every sight of calm water. We boat out of the Rocky River, so tend to head east to Downtown, to the Flats on the Cuyahoga River, to North Coast Harbor, Edgewater Beach, and anything behind the break wall along the Port.
Or, we may head west to Huron, Black River Landing Amphitheater in Lorain for concerts, Vermilion for dinner in the Lagoons or out to Kelley’s, Put-In-Bay, South Bass, or Middle Bass Islands about 15 miles NW of Vermilion. In our opinion, having a large metropolitan city anchored on a gorgeous great lake is one of the most attractive attributes of Cleveland.
Q: And, we also know you are a yogi! Can you share where you practice in and outdoors, and what the general scene is in CLE?
Although my love of boating and SUP has weather limitations, my love of yoga has no such boundaries. I enjoy practicing multiple times a week, in some seemingly bizarre spots for a yoga mat: Browns First Energy Stadium, Progressive Field, the rooftop patio bar at the Metropolitan, the Rock Hall, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Public Square, Cleveland Museum of Art. Most regularly I practice at Inner Bliss Yoga Studio. Owner, Tammy Lyons has been instrumental in making yoga a household name in our city. Her involvement in the ”I Believe in CLE” campaign has created opportunities for yogis to come together from many area studios to unite on the mat.
Having traveled regularly and lived in multiple cities, I am always in search of good yoga. I can confidently say that Cleveland has one of the best yoga scenes of any place in the country. Good yoga is everywhere, and the city has been remarkably welcoming in allowing yogis to unroll their mats in unlikely places. I am always grateful for the people I’ve met and both the physical and mental strength I’ve gained from this ancient practice.
Q: Some of your favorite patio/breweries, books and shows you’re streaming?
This Southern girl married both a Midwesterner to the core and an avid beer snob. His ONLY source of social media is UnTappd, a beer app! Dave would say that Cleveland is a GREAT beer town and rivals some of the best in the country. Whether we are trying to check off 33+ of the local breweries in the annual “passport” of local breweries, or looking for a good brewery to meet friends or watch a game, Cleveland has it all. As a west sider, some of our favorite breweries are Rocky River Brewing Company, Avon Brewing Company (great patio), Saucy Brew Works, Platform, Masthead, Terrestrial Brewery, Noble Beast, and Fat Heads.
As far as reading, I start my morning with the Bible and end the day with a lighter novel usually set in a town or location with which I’m interested. I like series novels as I am much better at completing them than a multi season Netflix series, except for Outlander, Blacklist, Virgin River, Bridgerton and Poldark…I completed them all and am hopeful for more seasons! Much to my son’s disappointment, Dave and I are Game of Thrones failures, but I am always up for watching college basketball and football.
Q: Tell us about your new phase as an empty nester and advice you have for newcomers at this same stage of life.
“Empty Nester Ville” … or so we call it! This has been the most surprising stage of our lives; not at all what we expected. I feel like we are as scheduled as ever, just not with the minute-to-minute needs of children at home.
We have entered that famous, but often spoken of stage of life called the “sandwich” generation. We are caught between caring for the needs of launching adult children into their first homes, careers, new cities and caring for aging parents. Our parents both live out of state, so I’m on the road monthly to check on them.
When we do carve out fun time, we love skiing out west. Park City has become a home away from home over the last 15 years, so this is our favorite. We also love to summit any mountain that can be done in daylight, and without camping or technical gear. During our 30-year marriage we have summited over 200 mountains across the country and are attempting to visit every National Park. We will knock out 6 National Parks this summer!
My advice to empty nesters moving to CLE is to be adventurous, explore land and water, visit a different festival monthly in warm weather, go to Blossom for a concert, always check out the latest exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art, even if it isn’t your favorite…always learn, hike in the CVNP, go to a game/event in all 3 downtown venues (they are beautiful spaces) adding a new downtown restaurant beforehand, visit our Islands via ferry for a day trip with your bikes or weekend getaway, enjoy a new restaurant in all 3 sides of town (west, east, south…that will keep you busy for years). There is so much to easily, affordably, and conveniently do here! I think this is what sets CLE apart from other major metropolitan cities. The options are endless.
Q: Any nuggets of wisdom gained from your own move to share with new-to-Cleveland families to help make their transitions a success?
As we have moved multiple times, I think the best advice I have and what has worked for our family is to get out of the house ( it is so easy to get buried in boxes). We immediately had our kids in activities (which also helped me to meet other moms), we explored every weekend as we were driving kids to all of their activities, there was always a “mom inspired field trip” attached to the game or function.
I joined activities to meet people in area (weekly yoga classes, spin classes, etc. somehow the people working out right next to you weekly become friends). We found a church (not always the easiest thing to do…. it’s like dating…the first one isn’t always the right one) where we all got involved. I found volunteer work, where I have always met some of my closest friends. Basically, we forced ourselves way out of our comfort zone and took risks…. lots of risks.