Meet Our Members!

You inspire us.

No question about it! What inspires you? Here’s what some of our most engaged members have to say about their work, and about HRCC:

Natalie Bauman, The Digital Mosaic / SimplyTold® app, 2017 Expo Gold Sponsor

What do you like best about being in the business you’re in?
I love seeing the excitement in people’s eyes when they see how easy it is to tell their stories with my app, and how powerful it can be to do so.  I like being part of helping people create something out of nothing, and using today’s technology to bring something special to life for people.

What kinds of pressures do you face as a business person?
There’s a constant juggling of information to try and choose the right path as I proceed and grow. Starting a business, you get so much different advice from different mentors and organizations, but you really need to be true to your own understanding of your industry, your capabilities, and what you want your company to do. You have to trust your instincts – it’s YOUR business, and you are the one who has to learn how to discern good advice from bad, and not be afraid to make changes if you hit a wall.

Has any one or anything in particular influenced your choices?
I’m particularly fond of the idea that you do well when you do good. Kevin Goodman of BlueBridge Networks, one of my partner vendors, builds philanthropy into everything they do as a business, and it changes lives. I’m so pleased to be able to do this too, to use my business a tool to help the community.

How has HRCC helped you connect with clients?
A couple of my inaugural clients are HRCC members, some of whom I met through HRCC, and some of whom I met through referral by HRCC and HRCC member. I love that HRCC creates the kinds of opportunities to expand my network that go way beyond HRCC alone.

What turns you on about the Expo?
I have worn every Expo hat – as an Expo attendee, then as an exhibitor through Bad Girl Ventures, then as a planning team member and exhibitor on my own, now as a sponsor / exhibitor AND planning team member! I’ve met so many interesting people there, from fellow planning team members to the other exhibitors and people who come to network, every year I’ve come away with a new relationship that has helped my business grow in some way, whether a partner-vendor or new customer or professional service. Expo attracts a great energy to it that I love being a part of, AND I also walk out with new business all the time!

How is HRCC essential to your business?
There’s such a variety of opportunities that HRCC offers to stretch your leadership wings, to learn from others who are further along than you as entrepreneurs, and even to learn best practices from the way HRCC markets itself  – how HRCC as a business takes its values and applies them to the logistics of creating these opportunities for people. Being a part of HRCC feels great because you get to surround yourself with a lot of people who really have it going on.

That I’m involved with HRCC and putting myself forward through opportunities like Expo, also strengthens my relationships with my clients (and others that I already know). Networking other exhibitors, for example, you have the opportunity to interact with people on a professional level. It builds your credibility, especially when you’re an early stage company. It also amplifies the B2B conversation in general to have this many different kinds of resources coming together to support each other.

Steve Petti and Matt Barker, New Image Media, 2017 Expo Gold Sponsors

What do you like best about what you do?
The variety of work, all the interesting unusual places we get to film, spanning multiple types of business, we’re just all over the place! We also love sharing our expertise. We’re proud of our work and what we can do to help others achieve their visions.

What kinds of pressures do you face running the business?
We share some of the same pressures as many other businesses – keeping the pipeline of work full, and constantly having to adapt to changing trends, whether it’s technology or graphics styles. That said, we like keeping up with those changes! We’re tech geeks!  Love new cameras and gadgets, etc.  The clients inspire us, but so does the equipment.

What influenced you to go into this field?
Steve –  I’ve always wanted to be in an creative business. The visual stuff always attracted me, and how it could influence people.  After working in a very uncreative corporate environment, I wanted a change, and leapt at the chance to be in business for myself. That was 20 years ago and I’ve never regretted the move.

Matt — I’ve been lucky enough to always have worked in the field I studied for.  The field and New Image have both grown so much since I started; like Steve, I like the challenges.

What kinds of businesses would you like to connect with through HRCC?
We get excited about working with all different kinds of businesses. Ideal customers right now would be small businesses that needs to leverage digital marketing to compete well online. The public is curious, and video is a great way to satisfy that curiosity in a way that gets businesses attention for their expertise. We really see video working out there, especially for products that you know people will have a lot of questions about or need how-tos for – those are good candidates for video.

What do you like best about the HRCC Expo?
We love and appreciate the excitement level that HRCC creates, and the fun that everybody has. We look forward every year to reconnecting with people we don’t otherwise get to see, and meeting at Expo strengthens our connections. One can never expect an instant sale of course, but we do get both business and referral from participating.

Any hot networking tips to share?
Meet as many people as you can, but focus — and do a deeper dive with those you click with best. Learn as much as you can so you can best vet prospects for their good fit for you. And remember, even people who don’t buy from you can be a good referral source, if you understand each other well.

Mike Trappe, Community Leader / Cleveland Magazine, 2017 Expo Platinum Sponsor

What do you like best about the business you’re in?
The creativity!  We have so many different things to offer, that we have become a problem solving company — more of a comprehensive marketing partner than just an advertising opportunity. Who are you trying to reach and how can we help? We have so much freedom and so many different tools here to help you, and really enjoy finding the best way to do it with each of our clients.

What kinds of pressures do you face in your daily business life?
Media is a challenging terrain, you always have to be evolving. No time to rest on your laurels! You have to constantly be working to make new relationships and meet growth goals. But I like the challenge, and I like that it’s relationship-driven. I enjoy helping clients meet their challenges, and spending the time to be present with them where they are.

Any notable influences?
Paul Klein, our new associate publisher, was my boss back in the day at Sun Newspapers, he’s been a mentor for a long time, and the voice of  both encouragement and reason, especially in terms of how to lead myself professionally.

What kind of other businesses would you like to connect with through HRCC?
We can be a resource for anyone wanting to grow in NEO — B2B and beyond.

Who you have connected with through HRCC and how have those relationships blossomed?
We have a really nice relationship with Chris Hatala from Games Done Legit, who we first met at an HRCC event. He has some great stuff happening with team building exercises in a professional environment, and event entertainment. We work with him a lot!

HRCC Expo is big for Community Leader magazine! What makes it so?
There’s so many events one can go to, so many ways to be out and active and networking, but it’s always the next steps you take that lead to your success. I set goals in advance, e.g., to create 10 new relationships. Goals should be realistic –   simple but achievable – so I can really use these events to make the most of the opportunity – not just being in the room but being a part of the conversation. I always, work to establish solid new relationships, and set follow-up meetings that day.

HRCC EXPO is a great opportunity for growth for us, I want to make sure I am doing all I need to do to maximize the opportunity. But we’re not there for just what we get out of it, what’s important is how we can make the experience and opportunity the best for the others who are there.  We’re there to help, to be a resource for local business. That’s what we like about HRCC, too; HRCC in general is a great resource, and values building real relationships. I love that our two organizations have become go-tos for each other.

What do you like best about the Expo?
The people that come are so diverse, it’s really an eye-opener.  Plus because of all the different communities that HRCC represents, you get to meet a lot of different businesses from all over.  I consider it a can’t-miss opportunity.

Paul Gallagher, Fastsigns Lyndhurst, 2017 Expo Gold Sponsor

What do you like best about the business you’re in?
The ability to interact with customers in a creative process that informs their brand, based on a combination of their ideas and what we can provide.  There is a lot of back and forth with customers as we finalize the final products. I like that every single situation is different, and we get to interact with businesses or all sizes. Coming from manufacturing, that is refreshing!

What kinds of pressures do you face in the daily operations?
TIME!  Trying to get done in a quick fashion, especially for weekend events that we support. We’re fortunate that we have a good crew and graphics department that are up to the challenge.

Has anything in particular influenced your business decision-making?
We gain a lot from the HRCC Business Breakfasts! You’re always getting different perspectives on how you view your own business. The opportunity for a small business person to even sit in those kinds of meetings are fantastic. If I can walk away with one new idea each time to add to my own cache, it’s really valuable.

Any one experience that turned you into a devoted HRCC member?
Really, it’s the vibrancy of the organization itself. You can feel the enthusiasm of the people who come because of it, who then act as magnets for others. HRCC continues to build — there are more and more people looking to participate, which speaks well of the organization.

Who you have connected with through HRCC and how have those relationship blossomed as a result?
A number of businesses through HRCC have given me opportunities to meet others beyond the membership, too.  An important part of networking is learning about members’ OTHER connections. Each one offers so many new opportunities. So get to know each other more deeply!

What other kinds of businesses would you like to connect with?
We’re looking at adding some larger companies to our client mix. And we’d like to get more involved with the marketing departments and not just purchasing departments. We love being brought into a company’s marketing process early, so we can be an integral part of what they’re structuring and provide better value to them as a result.

What do you like best about the HRCC Expo?
Having the opportunity to see a lot of my customers who are exhibiting / themselves, it’s a nice touch-base. And there’s such a large audience in attendance, we can do almost a year’s work in making new connections and reaffirming old ones.

Any hot networking tips to share?
Identify the decision-makers at the companies you’re interested in working with, and focus on those people with whom you have direct influence in order to get proper representation in those important conversation to get the work.

Elaine Manusakis, Every Angle Photography, 2017 Business Expo Gold Sponsor

What do you like best about the business you’re in?
Having the opportunities to make a difference. Being a professional photographer has many rewarding experiences.  Every Angle has been with our clients through it all…weddings, babies, family holidays, graduations…you name it and we have been there to memorialize the day. When we capture such intimate and special moments, then deliver their joyous memories to relive, we know we are making a difference.

What kinds of pressures do you face as a business person?
One of the challenges of running a full-service photography studio is working within the parameters of things outside of our control, like the weather. I’ve learned that when working with an immovable date, such as a wedding, it is crucial to be forward thinking and have an alternate plan for capturing the wedding if the weather takes a drastic change on their big day. Our experience has given us the skills and prepared us with solutions so our clients may relax and enjoy their time in front of the camera.

Like all business owners, I wear so many different hats, that I sometimes struggle with that work/life balance, and with maintaining focus in a world where there’s so much coming at you. I’m also pressured to try all the new tools of the trade while working to master what I’m already working with. I find stepping away and just breathing, then coming back and making a list of my priorities, is what works to keep me balanced. I don’t beat myself up about things.

Has anyone or anything in particular influenced your choices?
I once had an older colleague, an amazing outside sales person, who told me, “any time a client has a problem, you may not have a solution, but the thing to do is drop everything and go be face to face with them and LISTEN.”  It’s the most important piece of advice in life and in work I’ve ever gotten.  Drawing on my own twenty years of sales experience, I have found listening to be the key element in client satisfaction. At Every Angle, we schedule time to listen to and get to know each of our clients. We allow them to share their vision and desires to ensure that we deliver a service and product that not only meets, but exceeds their expectations.

What kinds of businesses would you like to connect with through HRCC that can help you succeed?
Through my partnership with the chamber, I am looking to collaborate with HR and marketing teams to assist companies of all sizes with professional headshots to be utilized on company websites,  as well as company marketing and branding material. I am also looking forward to meeting other professionals while networking and building mentoring relationships that will help us develop our professional and personal lives.

Every Angle Photography is a 2017  Expo Gold Sponsor. For more information about participating in the 2017 HRCC Business Expo on May 4, please visit hrcc.org/expo.

Photo: 

Bob Rosenbaum, Heights Observer, 2017 Expo Silver Sponsor

What do you like best about the business you’re in?

The Observer is not an ordinary newspaper. It’s literally written by the community for the community; every word we publish has been submitted by a member of the community, on a volunteer basis, with his or her name attached. The desire residents have to continually make things better comes through, and readers respond to that.

This is our 10th anniversary and we feel like things ARE better, including increased accountability and transparency in Cleveland Heights and University Heights city government and school board operations. We love playing an indirect role in this improvement by giving people a better sense of what’s going on and helping to increase the citizenship IQ of residents. Our mission includes increasing citizen engagement and participation, and also to put the spotlight on the community of independent businesses that make our area unique. Each of them has invested wholly in serving the people who live in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. It’s remarkable to me, and part of what makes this community special.

What kinds of pressures do you face as a business person?

The Heights Observer is published by Future Heights, a 501(c)3 dedicated to maintaining and improving the quality of life in these two communities. Because we’re volunteer-based and don’t have a staff of reporters, there are some challenges covering stories we know are important. We publish what we get. We’re always looking for a broad spectrum of ideas and thoughts, and for people to understand that we’re a product of what people want to discuss – and not a perfect representation of everything that’s going on.

And we can never sit back and relax with respect to sales. We don’t publish to make a profit, but we sell ads to sustain publication — so we’re always talking to businesses about advertising to reach members of this community while supporting the work of FutureHeights. So far we’ve had year-over-year growth every year. That can’t go on forever, but we feel fortunate that the publication is self-sustaining and contributes a little to other FutureHeights programming.

Has anyone or anything in particular influenced your choices?
Every day I’m out in the community and someone says, ”I love the paper; thanks for what you do”.  We create avenues of connection and foster a sense of pride in the community.  I’m grateful to be able to let the community speak, especially given these communities have a fair number of detractors.

What turns you on about the Expo and about the HRCC member community of humans?
The community focus – our sensibilities match. HRCC members are the kinds of people who would value a paper like ours. Not everyone wants to advertise or reach exclusively CH-UH readers, but everyone at HRCC is LIKE our advertisers. They share the same kinds of values – to create business that’s good for the community as well as the owner. The energy of the Expo is fantastic, and we’re eager to participate each year.

How is HRCC essential to your business?
Participating in the Expo helps Observer to be known outside the boundaries of our own two communities, to be known to a larger number of businesses and respected by those businesses. I consistently get calls from HRCC members who want to learn about the Observer. They are interested and aware even if they don’t advertise, and we’re glad to know them.

Heights Observer is a 2017 Expo Silver Sponsor. Publisher Bob Rosenbaum is a proud Cleveland Heights resident, and owner of The MarketFarm, providing content strategy, content development, and community-based marketing for smaller organizations. For more information about participating in the 2017 HRCC Business Expo on May 4, please visit hrcc.org/expo.

Photo credit: Joe Pollack, Pollack Studios

Jay Fernandez, 10,000 Small Businesses

What do you love best about what you do?

Working with small companies with whom we can make an impact! National studies show that key metrics like revenue growth and employment growth are twice as good for companies who have gone through our program compared to similar companies who haven’t. We’re helping our owner-scholars make changes across their businesses that really help them grow.

What do you like best about being a member of HRCC?
I go to a lot of different chamber events – HRCC’s are a lot of fun AND very well attended. People are intentionally engaged here, and it makes them want to grow. I love doing outreach with and for HRCC because the energy level and engagement are higher than at other chambers.

Any words of advice that you’d like to share with other business people?
You really have to know where you’re going to plan to get there. Have a goal in mind. That’s what we do at the 10,000 Small Businesses program – identifying the growth opportunity and build a plan to get there. Without specific goals, you’re nowhere; that’s a good life lesson as well as business lesson.

Photo: Jay enjoys himself at an HRCC Summer after-hours mixer

 

Shari Vedder, Maggiano’s

What do you love best about what you do?
Creating special events for folks – there’s huge gratification in making memorable events for people. Usually once in a lifetime events. I love working with the variety of guests that come in, from business to social.

What do you like best about being a member of HRCC?
I belong to few other chambers, but with HRCC, it’s a real relationship. And that makes it possible for more personal relationships to develop between us and HRCC members. Our membership bring us business but I love HRCC’s special events as well.  LOVE the breakfast workshops, they’re very beneficial to me.  Really, I like the whole package! I gain a lot of knowlege from the HRCC seminars I attend, and the networking is vital for Maggiano’s business.

Do you have a motto, or any words to live by, that you’d like to share?
Enjoy every day! We only go around once.  Maggiano’s does what we do because we like making people feel special; we like to touch other lives, have impact. That’s the mindset I try to live with and recommend.

Photo: Sherry looks on as the Maggiano’s staff serves HRCC’s board of directors at their annual retreat

Ken Kovach, HRCC’s 2015 “Bright Star”

ken-kovachEach year, HRCC, along with scores of chambers who belong to NOACC (Northern Ohio Area Chambers of Commerce), recognizes an outstanding member who has gone “above and beyond” for their organizations.

On October 29th, HRCC will recognize Ken Kovach, The Kenneth J. Kovach Company, at NOACC’s Annual Bright Star event, for decades of service to HRCC.  Ken’s contributions in the areas of strategic planning, organizational development, and professional development have helped to shape the organization and create leadership capacity. Ken has been a long-standing advocate for HRCC, and has consistently been a link to like-minded organizations.

HRCC thanks and congratulates Ken!

David Keller, Keller National

NOACC Bright Star David Keller-webres for profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love best about what you do?
Different every day, get to meet new people, learn new businesses, love the mobility  — not stuck at a desk!  I can’t sit still!

What do you like best about being a member of HRCC?
Meeting the new people.  I’ve met so many great business contacts that have turned into friendships.
My service on the board  is way to give back to an organization that has given so much to me!  When I first started, I didn’t have a lot of resources, and HRCC really helped me get my business going.

Words of advice for other business people?
Don’t go to chamber events to try and sell.  Go to meet people and develop relationships and it will pay you in so many ways in the long run.

Photo: David, 2nd from right, receives the 2015 NOACC Bright Star award for service to HRCC