Category: Our Action Plan

Posted in laurasteinbrink's blog Our Action Plan

NEO Citizen’s League and League of Women Voters – Cuyahoga Area join ANEO as partners!

There are two new Advance Northeast Ohio Partners – one that’s been around for decades and another that is just forming.  These two organizations join the Cleveland Professional 20/30 club and many of the region’s leadership programs, in a growing constituency of people-led organizations ready go to work to strengthen our region’s economy.  Through their partnership with ANEO the League (Cuyahoga Area) and the Northeast Ohio Citizen’s League will be poised to bring the citizen-voice into ANEO partner discussions, and they will be able to connect their members directly to work that boosts our region’s economic competitiveness.

The League of Women Voters:  Cuyahoga Area
 has expressed interest in working with the region to study plans and concepts to improve government collaboration and effectiveness.  The Northeast Ohio Citizen’s League is actively recruiting members from across the 16-county region.  Its leaders are positioning it to be an interactive resource Northeast Ohio Citizen’s to learn about important news and information within the region and to be a vehicle for the citizen’s voice in regional dialogue.

ANEO Partnership is all about aligning thought, resources and action around a common vision for economic prosperity and a common set of priorities and strategies.  How are you aligned with ANEO?  How is your organization aligned with ANEO?

Posted in Our Action Plan

Advance Northeast Ohio Partners Meet in Akron


On May 5 Advance Norheast Ohio Partner met in Akron – the first time Partners have convened since ANEO’s launch in 2007.  Gathering at the Taylor Insitutite for Direct Marketing at the University of Akron (also an ANEO Partner), ANEO partners set out to strengthen relationships with each other and explore opportunities for collaborating on behalf of the region.  ANEO partners include representatives from the civic sector, public sector and business; their diverse perspectives of the work and their role in driving our region’s economic competitiveness is impressive.  The challenge at hand is defining HOW Partners will lead Advance Northeast Ohio and regional cooperation.  The short take away based on initial feedback is that the HOW is a big question to answer. 

Over the next few weeks and months the Fund will work with Partners to explore the HOW and your thoughts are also important in this discussion.

You can watch videos from the Partners meeting here.

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# Submitted by Georgia Reash -… on Wed, 05/07/2008 – 13:45.

Georgia Reash
With great gratitude, I thank Advance NEO for taking this important action step of bridge building and awareness raising this past Monday. The more this venue is replicated and expanded (on multiple levels of communty life) the more energy is rallied around a deeper understanding of regionalism; i.e. loyalty to the region. Hosted at the top levels of government, or in the basement of the local church, this “renewed visioning” will pick up where Voices for Choices left off and set the stage for exciting action steps toward REAL and DEEP change making.

We are moving toward new practices and attitudes toward collective participation; or, as we call it, cooperative reciprocity. These are just big words for “working together in way that everyone wins”. Regardless of the verbage, the key word is “together”.

The power of Monday was found in the ‘together synergy’ – finding common ground, agreeing on common aims, charting common goals. In this cooperative milieu, we begin to see that regionalism (loyalty) is not only beneficial from a cost perspective, but it just feels good. And right. More importantly, it is the world we now live in.

I was most impressed with how many people actually “got it”. The heads of corporations understood schools matter; government leaders understood the importance of early childhood development; politicians understood the value of academic study; investors understood the need for diversity training. All in all, the bridges that were built in that one afternoon changed our future. As every single action can.

MY ACTION STEP is do what I can do further the synergistic momentum; top down and bottom up.

As we move towards collectively defining both THE WHY and THE HOW, we have an opportunity to do things completely differently and this, my friends, is the catalyst for transformation.

Posted in Our Action Plan

One small act: Northeast Ohio Citizen’s League


When Howard Moskowitz realized through his work that there was no single perfect pasta sauce, no single, perfect pickle, or no single perfect Pepsi, he tapped into the power of including multiple perspectives and choices in solving needs.  He said – perfect sauceS, perfect pickleS, perfect PesiS.  He tapped into the power of possibility in the ‘no single bullet’ way of solving problems.  Recently George Nemeth asked me what small acts could people do to bridge the cultural divide from 20th Century methods of leading to 21st Century methods of leading.  There are a million of small acts people and organizations could do – and should do – to strengthen our Region and its economy.  After all, if there is no one perfect pickle, Pepsi or sauce, there can be no one perfect way to strengthen our Region and its economy.

A group of citizens from across the region – ages 14 to very wise – from at least 8 of the 16 ANEO counties – individuals from business, non-profits, government and the general public, convened to talk about forming a Northeast Ohio Citizen’s League.  It was a small act.  A small act with the purpose of committing to build an vehicle to solidify the citizen’s voice in regional improvement and innovation.  It was a first step and they’ve got a lot of work to do, and welcome input and energy from committed, interested individuals from all over Northeast Ohio.  More info will be posted here about it, and in the meantime you can contact the leaders, Mike Gesing and Georgia Reash, if you are curious to learn more.

The best parts of the meeting, in my opinion, were the passion, the commitment and the active listening that took place.  To and by everyone at the table.  When was the last time you had that experience – with people from 8 counties, aged 14 to very wise?  Wow. The potential is huge.

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# Submitted by Georgia Reash -… on Thu, 07/10/2008 – 18:03.

Georgia Reash
Thanks, Laura, for acknowledge the first official meeting of The Northeast Ohio Citizens League. The beauty in this small act is the strength of vision of those who were present, as well as their commitment to citizen empowerment and action taking. Indeed, there was not one “small” in the room – as I believe anyone who believes in the power of one voice is a walking Giant.
My personal testimony in helping bringing the vision to life is this: for the first time in my 40plus years, I have a sense of empowerment, involvement, connection to my community. It is the first time my view toward governance structures is NOT apathetic. It is the first time I feel like we (and I mean all of the collective ‘we’) has a venue for facilitating objective, non-partisan vision.
It’s never easy to launch a vision, and most certainly challenging. But the truth is? Something about it already feels PERFECT. Because it originates from the hearts of all who are involved.
We are on the verge of something powerful.
And it begins with US.

# Submitted by Lou Schott (not verified) on Tue, 07/22/2008 – 07:35.

I am a little unsure of our ‘shared purpose statement’. I understand the scope of application is NEO. I understand the intent is to include all members of NEO. And, I have read the strategy.

Assuming that we have clarified our shared purpose then the next step in the creative problem solving process is to ‘list all of the problem statements’ that might keep us from reaching ‘our shared purpose’.

Can you point me to the ‘list of problem statements’?



Posted in Our Action Plan

Welcome ANEO Partners!


A BIG ANEO welcome goes to four new ANEO partners who joined the growing number of individuals and organizations working together to realize economic success for everyone in Northeast Ohio.  CAAO, the Consortium of African American Organizations, the Western Reserve Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Urban League of Greater Cleveland and Community Transition Partners.  Its great to have more partners in our work!

When ANEO launched last year about 73 organizations / individuals pledged support to the Region’s Economic Action Plan.  They committed to work together to develop the plan, build support for it and implement projects and strategies together that would increase our economic success as a region.  When our communications materials first were printed, we listed the parters by “type” – i.e., business groups, universities, leadership programs, elected officials / governments.  What we know now, after a year of working together, is that we have partners that represent lots of different types of organizations and who do lots of different types of work.  What they share in common, however, is a preference towards three different ways of engaging in our regions’ work.  They are either Funding Partners, Knowledge/People Partners, or Doing Partners.
Each type of partner is critical to the success of our collective work and when put together, they make the wheels of change turn.

Together, these partners are catalyzing positive change in Northeast Ohio.  Can you imagine what our region would look like if there were 730 individuals and organizations as partners in ANEO?  What would it look like to you?

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# Submitted by Georgia Reash -… on Sun, 07/06/2008 – 13:47.

Georgia Reash

Thanks for all you are doing to make the ANEO a living document; accessible, actual, authentic. It’s one thing to talk about change making, and another to create the relationships required for change making. Hope those on your team realize how important your work is and how much more is needed to make this more than just a nice brochure.

Keep going! We are here if you need us.

Posted in Our Action Plan

Can NEO be the best region for the world?


I am blessed as I move about the region and meet so many people and so many organizations doing transformational work.  Over the last 8 weeks of my blog-silence, I’ve met and connected with so many people and great work — the women’s network in Akron, the Taskforce for 21st Century Government in Stark County, the Cle+Ytown+Pitt learning network in the Valley, the PMBA in Akronthe Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, the Local Food Network, Northeast Ohio Citizens League — the list goes on and on and on.  I’ll be writing about each of those in the coming days/weeks in this blog.  As I write about the stories of great work taking place among Partners in ANEO, I’ll also be asking the question I have asked before as I strive to keep alive a state of inquiry.  Inquiry into the idea of how we are being organized.  My assertion is this:  the longer we stay in the state of inquiry the better chance we have in realizing Northeast Ohio can be the best region for the world. 

Question for you:  what organizing principles will lead to economic success for all people in Northeast Ohio and can you give me one example? 

(Thank you Chet Bowling for the words that cleared the blogwebs in by brain.)

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# Submitted by Wayne Zeman (not verified) on Thu, 07/03/2008 – 10:04.

NE Ohio is blessed with a number of organizations, each made up of highly-skilled, passionately dedicated individuals who want to transform this region. Individually they’re doing great things and collectively they likely could do even more. Thinking and acting regionally is critical to the economic growth and sustainability of our region. I believe one example of this collective, regional approach is the Northeast Ohio Incubator Collaborative, or NEOinc. NEOinc is made up of the five physical technology-oriented incubators that receive Edison funding in NE Ohio; the Akron Global Business Accelerator, Braintree in Mansfield, GLIDE in Lorain County, MAGNET in Cuyahoga County, and the Youngstown Business Incubator. The collaborative was formed a couple of years ago to tie the incubation programs closer together, to take advantage of the natural “front door” to entrepreneurs seeking assistance, to expand the reach of entrepreneurial support throughout the region, and to function as a key component of the TechLift program—to name just a few of the objectives. NEOinc is up and running well and as just one measure of its success, the economic impact generated by its tenants has been impressive; in the last three fiscal years the tenants of NEOinc have created 681 jobs, generated $230 million in revenue, attracted $79 million in investment capital, and sustained a payroll of $90 million. I think we’ve got a great opportunity to substantially improve the region by linking existing resources closer together, much like we’ve done at NEOinc. Speaking on behalf of the incubators, I know we’d all welcome the opportunity to build even stronger collaborations across the region.

# Submitted by laurasteinbrink on Thu, 07/10/2008 – 21:16.

Hi Wayne, the NEOInc story is compelling – very compelling.  The results are fabulous.  Chris and I like to use the example in a lot of our presentations.  Can you or your colleagues share some lessons that you learned in forming your regional collaborative that may be helpful to others to know?  What role did the State play in compelling your closer ties, if any?

Laura Steinbrink Director, Regional Partnerships [email protected]

# Submitted by Georgia Reash -… on Sun, 07/06/2008 – 10:12.

Georgia Reash

Before we get to the organizing principles, we have to remember that affecting regionalism is something akin to forcing an arranged marriage. We are asking people to come together to share what they have worked so hard to collect and keep to themselves: their ideas, financial resources, contacts, staff, grant monies, office space, utility bills, etc….

We are asking people to “marry” – to come together and give up some aspect of their individuality. Here, the reason to organize is more important than the how.

Given the PSYCHOLOGY shift required for organizing to really work (the sharing of our selves with complete strangers), we might take time to look at those initiatives that have been spearheaded by VISION and higher purpose first.

When groups are brought together from a base of deeper purpose, we TRANSCEND more rapidly to a higher goal. We transcend ego interests, fears of loss of power, personal greed, etc… much more quickly. More importantly, when have to create a vision that is tangbile – relevant to world we live in on a daily level.

Our firm calls this Neighborhood Driven Regionalism with examples inlcuding: Fairview Park School District (The Mosaic Project – Managing Diversity), The City of Lakeood Department of Human Services (Youth Vision initiative), The Drug Court Initiatives, P-16 in Lorain County, KidzHealth in Mt. Pleasant (Health Focus Program), After School Prevention Resources at LMM, etc…. These aren’t just programs – they are a vehicle of focus that has shifted how residents, organizations and neighborhoods function.

In these grass roots efforts, organizing is organic and purposeful. Collecting these examples is essential; they hold the clues and answers to all the questions AND the formulas for success in each sector of society.

Something to learn from? In countries where arranged marriages take place, two people are brought together for a higher purpose: financial security for future children, the proliferation of healthy family lines, and spiritual evolution.

Regardless of what one might think, higher purpose plays an essential role in all unions.

I wonder……

# Submitted by laurasteinbrink on Thu, 07/10/2008 – 21:07.

Thanks for the post, Georgia.  You raise some critical and interesting questions that will be important to ponder.  The assertion you raise about people being forced to give up something through regional action causes me to pause.  Just yesterday I was proclaiming there isn’t an inherent loss in regionalism, I believe that’s a perceived fear.  I would concur that if forced into new partnerships rather than self-selecting, it might seem like a loss or an arranged marriage, so in that way I agree about the need for a compelling vision – and compelling facts.  The compelling facts for me is that economic data says that we are already one economy, so our perceived individual economies are actually just that – perceptions.  What is the vision that compels?

Laura Steinbrink Director, Regional Partnerships [email protected]

# Submitted by Chet Bowling (not verified) on Tue, 08/05/2008 – 15:03.

I couldn’t agree more Georgia. A compelling vision/higher purpose draws us beyond our egos and into relationships that add value and richness to our lives. Your post makes me wonder about experiences we have already had in NEO when we have transcended our narrow self interests and acted collectively for the common good. Would you say that the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Museum of Art, or any of the other arts organizations in NEO are examples of acting collectively for the common good? My hunch is that people who fund the arts have a vision of a Northeast Ohio filled with creativity and beauty.

And your post also makes me wonder: If NEO became the region we are hoping, longing, and working for what would it be like? What would each of us we be doing? Who would we be working with? How would NEO be the same only better? What would be different?

My vision is a region that has the highest educational attainment of any region in the US. Creativity, innovation, collaboration and inclusion are the hallmarks of our life as a community. Justice and generosity are our most deeply held values. We thrive and prosper physically, mentally, emotionally, and economically.

Laura and ANEO are one of what should be an infinite number of ways we get to our vision. I see ANEO as a very sophisticated organizational dating service. Laura introduces people who she thinks might have common interests and then steps back to let nature take its course. Hopefully some great relationships happen and another step is taken on the journey toward our vision.

What is your vision for NEO?