“The hardest thing for me to leave behind was my book club,” a transplant bemoaned last year as we helped with her relocation to Cleveland. We get it! The sense of community and belonging that happens when you are invited to someone’s home to share dinner, wine, talk about life, children, current events – oh, and discuss the book you all promised to read – is something that isn’t easily replicated in a new city. It takes time and connections. We decided to fast forward those things and make it happen for those brand new to our region.
Executive Arrangements is always looking for ways to make connections for candidates and their families once they have relocated to Northeast Ohio. Our past socialization events have included small gatherings over mid-morning coffee in private homes; dinner parties at the homes of EA staff members; happy hours at area cafes; pizza and beer at local breweries; distillery tours and tastings; a concert at Severance with The Cleveland Orchestra; Orchid Mania at Cleveland Botanical Garden and behind- the-scenes tours; and an invitation to join the Playhouse Square networking/support group, Leading Ladies.
In late 2019, we created a women’s book club for the transplants who have relocated to the east side suburbs of Cleveland, and at our first gathering at the Van Aken District in Shaker Heights, we discussed The Library Book by Susan Orlean (a Shaker Heights native). With the busy holiday season upon us, we decided to set a goal to read half of the book, and to come even if we hadn’t read a page. The club is – first and foremost – about friendship and community. We had ten women attend our first meeting and it was amazing to see connections being made!
Director of Operations, Peg Furnas, and I (Director of Settling-in Services) hosted the first meeting. Before we left, the group asked us to pick a date for our next meeting, excited to finish our discussion and to see their new friends again! Newcomers were eager for the connections we were creating. One woman asked for a contact list to connect with her new friends prior to the next gathering, saying that one of the hardest parts of moving to a new city is making new friends.
Our second meeting was on January 15th. We had 11 women attend, including one who had just started her new job two days earlier (and still managed to buy and read the book…impressive!). We had a lively discussion about their relocations, all sharing the cities they came from and where they settled in NE Ohio. The demographics are mixed with some working full time outside the home and raising kids, some staying home to raise very young children, as well as a handful of empty nesters. They all connected immediately through their shared relocation experiences.
Two of the women met initially at EA’s annual Patterson Fall Fest, which is an apple-picking tradition to introduce newcomers with young families to each other. These women reconnected at the Little Gym when they were at class with their preschoolers. When a bystander heard them mention Executive Arrangements, she came over to introduce herself. She was a fellow transplant through EA’s services as well! And a friendship began to form. These three women now see each other weekly (at a gym class and EA’s monthly book club) and quickly discovered they all live in the same neighborhood.
A friend is just a stranger you haven’t met yet…and EA is helping newcomers connect with people that will help them feel welcome and at home.
If your company is in need of relocation services for job candidates, contact Executive Arrangements at 216.231.9311 or fill out our contact form here! We’re always excited to share our deep love of Northeast Ohio with newcomers through EA days and events like our monthly book club, where we can highlight talented local authors.