Meet the Stephensons

by | Apr 8, 2015 | Newcomer Profiles

Joanne & James Stephenson at Lola Bistro

Joanne & James Stephenson at Lola Bistro

In 2014, Executive Arrangements was retained by PolyOne Corp to introduce James and Joanne Stephenson to Cleveland. James was joining the firm as Director of Global Marketing & Product Management Here is the Stephenson’s relocation story as told by Joanne. My husband and I are both originally from the United Kingdom. James is from the north of England, and I am from South Wales. Our children and grandchildren reside back in the UK. My husband is a keen golfer, and I have become a keen tennis player. We both love the theatre, eating out at different restaurants and, of course, sampling new wines and cocktails. Back in 2006, we took a “temporary” relocation to Michigan through my husband’s company at the time. Prior to this relocation, neither of us had lived outside of the UK, although my husband has traveled extensively in his career. It was a very interesting and sometimes challenging readjustment.
What were your initial thoughts when you heard you could be moving to Cleveland? We lived in Michigan for 8 ½ years, until our move to Cleveland in January 2014. I was excited to be moving to a bigger city, but many of our friends in Michigan did not share our enthusiasm. I believe Cleveland has somewhat of a negative perception for those who don’t really know it, a perception that we have come to learn is wholly unjust!! We love Cleveland and love living here!
Describe your experience with Executive Arrangements. The Executive Arrangements day was absolutely invaluable and packed with information and places to see, tailored to our specific needs and interests. Lunch was arranged with a fantastic group of people who shared a wealth of knowledge of the area. It left me with the feeling that we had definitely made the right decision to relocate to Cleveland. A few weeks after our EA tour, I received an email from Guide Lynne Brenner inviting me to her local yoga class, which was such a thoughtful gesture. She personally picked me up and introduced me to the yoga owner/tutor. This was a great way to meet new people and take up a new leisure pursuit! Lynne and I remain good friends and still meet for lunch to catch up. EA gave me the building blocks and confidence to embrace a new location. Their Guides have so much knowledge, and their resources are infinite. Just knowing they can help with anything from restaurants to finding a dentist is very reassuring, especially when you don’t know a single person. The other great thing is that they leave it up to you as to how much or little you make use of their services.
What are your favorite go to spots in NE Ohio? Over a year later, we are still finding AMAZING restaurants. We are working our way through many of what Cleveland has to offer, including the Zack Bruell restaurants (L’Albatros,Chinato, Cowell & Hubbard, Parallax), Michael Symon’s (Lola, Lolita) and many of the fantastic individually owned ones. The yearly Broadway Series at the theatre district is my particular favorite, and we have even been able to take a couple of our Michigan friends…definitely changing that “outsider’s perception”!