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  • 07/28/2021 9:07 AM | Melinda McNutt (Administrator)


    Name: Thomas W. Dufour

    Occupation: Director of Accounts and Business Development – emBold

    Tell us about yourself: I'm a 35-year-old web professional, new dad, husband, and a dog guy. I moved to Cleveland in 2015 and live with my family in a great city next to Cleveland Hopkins airport called Brook Park, with our son Thomas and our two dogs Missy and Bubba. I love being active in the community, am a proud former board member of the 20/30 Club.

    Why did you move to Cleveland? Simple, boring answer: My wife got transferred here for work. As newlyweds, Cleveland presented an excellent place for us to start building our life together. Being a native of Toledo and my wife of Pittsburgh, Cleveland is equidistant from both of our hometowns.

    What advice do you have for young people that just moved here? 
    First, welcome! Cleveland is a vibrant and dynamic place, especially when you know where to look. Northeast Ohio is growing and changing faster than anyone can imagine – you're at the forefront of a regional rebirth. My advice – find what you love here and get involved in it. To those reading this, we've never met, but I know we need your help to push things forward. Join us!

    What surprised you the most about Cleveland? Most people talk about the food scene surprising them – but that wasn't it for me. Instead, what surprised me the most about Cleveland is how much it can feel like a small town, even though you're in a major city. People in Cleveland maintain their friends for life here. I don't think it's uncommon to run into someone for the first time, and they're hanging out with a friend they've had since grade school. I think that's lost in a lot of big cities.

    How have you grown your business or career since moving to Cleveland? When I moved to Cleveland, I had my own website development company back in Pittsburgh, but in 2019 I merged my business with emBold, an incredible website development company based in Akron. Since the merger, we've grown our revenue 41%, despite the global pandemic, we have moved our business into the Bounce Innovation Hub, where we're among some of the greatest innovators in the region, and we have also begun work on spinning out a separate startup company using our internal talent and resources. In short, things have never been better, regardless of the obvious challenges.

    What do you hope to gain in your career or personal life in the next 5 years? Outside of growing emBold and launching our startup, I'm currently a Brook Park City Council candidate, where I hope to bring a unique perspective to the council. With my experience in business/entrepreneurship, technology, local government, and all of the places I've visited and learned from over the years, I feel I'd be an asset to helping Brook Park realize the renaissance that's right around the corner. I'm also just excited to see our son Tommy grow up. As of this interview, he's almost ten months old, is just taking his first steps and starting to say his first words. I'm already looking forward to looking back at this question on the website and remembering him as he was when I answered this question!

    Tell us how you found out about the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club and how did it help you in transitioning to Cleveland? Well – this wasn't my first time starting over. I grew up in Toledo and moved to Pittsburgh at 19, where I didn't know a soul. When my wife and I moved to Cleveland, I left behind a life I had built over a decade in Pittsburgh. 

    When I moved to The Steel City, I had all of college to make friends. But after that ended, when many of my friends moved back home or took jobs in other cities, a local professional networking organization called Pittsburgh Young Professionals helped me build the next iteration of friends and contacts in my life. So, moving to Cleveland, I looked around at the networking organizations out there and decided that Cleveland 20/30 was more than just for networking – it's an organization dedicated to personal and professional growth and is apt for showing new people the best Northeast Ohio has to offer. I jumped at the opportunity to attend an event, and here we are today!

    The folks who plan events in this Club should be ambassadors for the region. I always love exploring somewhere new with the Club. Being a part of Cleveland 20/30 exposes you to a lot of new people and places quickly. The Club hosts several unique events monthly, and every single one is a fantastic time. I encourage everyone moving here to throw as many 20/30 events on your calendar as you can!

    If you are new to Cleveland, be sure to register and apply for our Welcome to Cleveland program. 

  • 07/20/2021 4:37 PM | Melinda McNutt (Administrator)

    My name is Dan Basco. I am honored to be the Social Director of the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club during this 20th year.

    To give you a little background about myself, I was born and raised in a small suburb of Cleveland called Independence. I moved to Columbus after graduate school, and became a member of their young professional group while working and living there. I moved back here in 2016, and immediately started attending Cleveland 20/30 events. My attendance ramped up in 2019, and just as I was hoping to start planning in-person events in 2020… we all know what happened. 

    I took over the Social Director role at the start of this year, and instantly started to plan some fun virtual events: a virtual beer tasting with Southern Tier Brewery and a virtual wine tasting with CLE Urban Winery. Through these events, along with virtual icebreakers and board interviews, one common thread emerged – everyone is eager to get back out there and meet other young professionals in the area. Even over Zoom, I could sense the excitement, enthusiasm, and optimism from our members!

    Looking ahead, as Social Director, I hope you get the opportunity to visit some local places or try some new things that you might not normally do on your own. Our monthly Around Towns, the club’s biggest event, will showcase some of Cleveland's relatively new hotspots (such as Saucy Brew Works Vibe Garden, which is our August Around Town event) that opened during or just before the pandemic. These events are huge and often have hundreds of members! 

    For those who prefer a smaller crowd, we have many smaller events that generally have 10-20 people that attend. To showcase the wide variety of cultures, cuisines, and neighborhoods in Cleveland, we brought back the Global Gourmet series this May. It’s important to me that we support these small local businesses. Every month, we do a small group dinner at a local cultural restaurant – the July dinner is at Xinji Noodle Bar for Japanese Ramen in Ohio City on July 22nd.  You will have the chance to attend these dinners if you purchase a Professional Membership! Additionally, with the great park systems we have here in Northeast Ohio, we run monthly hikes where we showcase some of our great local and national parks in Cuyahoga and Summit County. We also have monthly meetups at the Edgewater Park Beach House this summer.

    We have already started a couple of co-ed volleyball leagues, where you have the familiarity of seeing the same people every week, while exercising and making friends. Building up co-ed sports leagues (and game leagues such as trivia) is one of my goals as Social Director for the 2021-22 year. In addition, we plan to attend sporting events in person, such as an Indians baseball game on August 27th. We also have a number of one-off events that are in the works, which could range from anything exercise-related, to learning how to make cocktails, or to visit something local like a tour of the Christmas Story House.

    I’d love to hear from you if you have any feedback about any of the events we have in the works, or what kinds of events we could be doing. Please reach out to me at social@cleveland2030.org. I look forward to hearing from you, or seeing you at an event!

    Sincerely, 

    Dan Basco


  • 07/02/2021 3:01 PM | Melinda McNutt (Administrator)

    My name is Patrick Hackett but most people call me Patch. I am inspired to be the President-Elect of this club during its 20th year. Over the next two years, I   will be working with our President, Melinda, and the board of the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club to create value through our events and other services to help grow your career in whichever way you believe is best for you. From my perspective, the way we do that is through centering our activities on the club's four pillars: Social, Networking, Education, and Philanthropy. I believe these pillars are the building blocks of professionalism, and I want the club to serve you throughout the different and impactful parts of your career. My mission is to provide professional development opportunities for all of us within the city of Cleveland and to assist in finding "the group" that makes you feel most connected to "the Land", whether that is through the 20/30 or elsewhere. 

         Cleveland, in my mind, is on the precipice of something great, and as the future leaders of our community, I want to see how all of you can contribute in building this city for the future. Over the next year, I am working on a few projects I hope will help develop that platform for you. Some of these projects are improving our supplier diversity to support more women and minority-owned businesses along with other diverse social groups, into our region. I want to develop stronger relationships with other YP groups in the area to see how our club can collaborate and support them. I am focusing our CEO dinners to highlight leaders working to transform the region, so you all can have a better sense of where Cleveland is going on a macro scale. Lastly, our data team and myself are working to optimize analytics to see how we can better serve our members in providing content that will further your careers and get you to the next level.

         As I wrap up this email, I challenge you all to think about your careers. What is it that you want to accomplish, and how can the club and I help you get there? If you're looking for a place to start, sign up for an Around Town - we have one on the 8th of July, and bring a friend. That is where I got my start with the club thanks to an invite from my good friend Jack Lupica. It's a great opportunity to get involved with the club and see how it can benefit you. If you want to talk more, connect with me on LinkedIn, and shoot me an email. I am more than happy to talk with you about the club and what we can provide. With that, let's go transform a city and get into that good and necessary trouble. 

    Have fun, 

    Patch 

  • 06/25/2021 1:51 PM | Melinda McNutt (Administrator)

    My name is Melinda McNutt and I am excited and honored to serve as President of the Cleveland Professional Twenty Thirty Club during its 20th anniversary year. First and foremost, I want to assure you that the newly appointed Board of Directors and myself take our responsibilities seriously. Upon accepting our new roles, we have committed to not only being good stewards of the Club, but to amplify the good work of our members and -- most importantly -- to ensure the organization is set up for success as we move into the next twenty years and beyond. 

    When I moved to Cleveland five years ago, I was eager to get involved in the community and meet new people. I waited a few years before getting involved with the Club, but when I did, I regretted not doing so sooner. The first event I attended was a Cavs game. We had the privilege of holding the flag during the National Anthem. As someone still new to Cleveland, I thought this was a unique opportunity that most Clevelander’s don’t get a chance to experience. In 2019, I was named a Top 25 Under 35 Young Professional during the 13th annual Movers and Shakers Awards Ceremony. The Club hosted a professional and well-executed event -- one that I was proud my boss and colleagues attended at the time. Did you know we have awarded 350 young professionals to date with this prominent award? Check out our 2021 class of winners.

    When I attended my first Around Town (hosted the first Thursday of every month at a new or unique local venue), I immediately began connecting with people who have become my closest friends nearly three years later. 

    Be sure to sign-up for our first Around Town of 2021 on Thursday, July 7 at Good Night John Boy, the new 1970s-themed nightclub in the Flats East Bank (formerly Magnolia).

    What I love most about The Club is that, regardless of the event, you will always see familiar faces. In that respect, it truly is a club. As someone new to Cleveland, this was what I needed most. Years later, I have dozens of friends because of this organization, have had countless memorable experiences with the Cleveland young professional community, and I cannot wait for what’s to come under our new leadership. 

    Did you know that The Club is 100% volunteer driven? We work hard to plan and execute over 100 events a year for roughly 3,000 professional and social members. Our event attendees range from 21-45 years of age and come from all walks of life -- and we make sure to host events on both weeknights and weekends for all schedules. Fifty percent of our members are new to Cleveland, so we are the perfect group if you’re looking for new friends and new experiences.

    To all of our current members (both old and new), I challenge you to reach out to me with your feedback and insight on how we can help serve you better at president@cleveland2030.org

    It’s important to me to continue to foster  this  community where young professionals can fall in love with their city and establish or deepen their roots here in Cleveland. Why? Our city’s future depends on the leadership of our generation. By 2025, millennials and Gen Z will make up 80% of the workforce. For this reason,  groups like ours have a critical role, which is why we offer programming that aligns with four key areas of leadership development: Philanthropy, Networking, Education, and Social. 

    I encourage you to register for (or renew) your annual professional membership so you don’t miss out on the countless opportunities we offer throughout the year. 

    Please consider forwarding this email to your colleagues and friends so they can be in the know! 

    We are greater than the sum of our individual parts, and I know together we can create a thriving, well-connected, and supportive young professional community. Thank you for reading this. I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event. 

    Sincerely, 

    Melinda McNutt