Takeaway No. 1: Honoring COSE’s 2016-2017 Chair Michael Stanek
The 2018 meeting began with the recognition of Michael Stanek, the outgoing 2016-2017 COSE chair. During his chairmanship, Stanek oversaw a closer alignment between COSE and the Greater Cleveland Partnership; worked to more closely engage members in broader economic development and advocacy work; and was engaged in the rollout of the COSE Health and Wellness Trust, a health benefit option designed specifically for small businesses that was introduced in 2017.
In addition to his significant focus on COSE, Stanek also took a high-profile role in advocating for the larger business community via testimony at the state level and as an officer and leader of the nonpartisan National Small Business Association.
During his remarks, Stanek highlighted some of the ways COSE delivered on its mission of helping small businesses achieve their vision of success, including providing opportunities for education; health insurance; and savings on energy and workers’ compensation. Read on below for more details on each of these areas.
Takeaway No. 2: Welcoming the 2018-2019 Chair for COSE
John Young of Speed Exterminating was named as the Chair of COSE for the 2018-2019 term. In his address to the hundreds of COSE members in attendance, Young outline three goals for his chairmanship:
- He will work to create more opportunities for COSE members to be involved and connected to the organization’s work.
- Second, Young said he will focus on ensuring that the GCP’s work is also felt by and connected to small business members. Young will be focused on making sure that the voice of small businesses is actively connected to all the work being done at the GCP.
- And, he will work to increase the awareness of members of the variety of additional resources available to support their success through COSE.
Takeaway No. 3: Events and education
With a total of 58 education and networking events under its belt in 2017 and 3,475 attendees, COSE delivered opportunities for small business professionals to meet, network and be educated on topics that will help them grow their business.
Takeaway No. 4: COSE MEWA
The COSE Health and Wellness Trust helps small businesses access health benefits. In just the past 15 months, COSE has had more than 2,500 small businesses join this program and it continues to grow.
Takeaway No. 5: Energy audits
COSE’s energy programs continue to deliver savings in electric and gas for small businesses and the organization performed 90 energy audits and 191 energy efficiency projects for small- and mid-sized businesses in 2017. This resulted in more than $3.2 million in rebates to those companies for their energy investments. Contact the COSE Energy Team to learn more about how they can help your business save.
Takeaway No. 6: Workers’ compensation
COSE’s workers’ compensation program serves more than 2,300 small businesses and, in partnership with Minute Men HR and 1-888 Ohio Comp, the program saw growth in 2017. More than $7 million in savings were created via the program for COSE members.
Takeaway No. 7: Advocacy
Working with the large business community, COSE has been actively advocating on behalf of small businesses and participated in such initiatives as:
- Supporting the creation of a safe harbor for small businesses from cybersecurity risks;
- advocacy for intrastate crowdfunding opportunities;
- ensuring that marijuana legalization does not adversely impact business owners; and
- securing business income tax exemptions for small business owners in the most recent biennial state budget.
Takeaway No. 8: Cleveland Chain Reaction
Following up on the successful Lebron James-led CNBC production of Cleveland Hustles, Cleveland Chain Reaction was an independent follow-up economic development project led by COSE and its partners, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Glazen Urban, that matched local investors with local entrepreneurs to open five new businesses in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood.
Takeaway No. 9: Recognizing leadership
COSE relies strongly on its volunteer leadership to help provide the organization with vision and guidance. In addition to naming Young as Chair of COSE, the following leaders were also recognized during the 2018 Annual Meeting.
Outgoing Board Members
- Michael Baach, Philpott Solutions
- Michael Canty, Alloy Bellows
- Roxanne Kaufmann, ProLaureate
- Laura McPhee, Parts Pro Warehouse
- Michael Obi, Spectrum Global
- Jonathan Slain, Autobahn Consultants
- Sam Steinhouse, Excel Air Tool
- Keith Williams, Good Karma Brands
Current Board Members
- Brian Alquist, 1Direction, Inc.
- Julie Brandle, Metis Construction
- Stacy Bauer, BauerGriffith, LLC
- Tim Dimoff, SACS Consulting
- John Doyle, FASTSIGNS Downtown Cleveland
- Tim Opsitnick, Jurrinov
- Damon Piatek, Welke Custom Brokers
- Vince Salvino, CodeRed
- Tameka Taylor, Compass Consulting
- Tony Weber, Goldfarb Weber Creative Media
- Mireille-Wozniak-Michalak, Petiole HR
- Patty Zinn, Micro Systems Management
- Bonnie Matthew, Food For Thought
- Rion Safier, Rion Safier Accounting, LLC
- Mike Stanek, Hunt Imaging
- Sharon Toerek, Esq., Toerek Law LPA
- John Young, Speed Exterminating
- Nevin Bansal, Outreach Promotional Solutions
- Diane Helbig, Seize This Day
- Kevin Johnson, Glenwood Management
- Marvin Montgomery, The Sales Doctor
- Deborah Rutledge, Rutledge Group
- Jose Vasquez, Quez Media Marketing
- Stacy Ward Braxton, The Significance Group
Incoming Board Members
- Fernando Bertero, Fully Promoted
- Cheryl Perez, Benefits Innovation Group
- Alex Gertsburg, The Gertsburg Law Firm
- Bob Pacanovsky, The Black Tie Experience
- Russ Schabel, Philpott Solutions
Outgoing 2016-2017 COSE Chairman
- Mike Stanek, Hunt Imaging LLC
2017 Volunteer Service Award
- Marvin Montgomery, The Sales Doctor
Takeaway No. 10: Learning from the Cleveland Indians
The location of this year’s Annual Meeting inside Progressive Field served as an important clue as to who the stars of this year’s event would be. And that would be a trio straight from the leadership team of the Cleveland Indians. Manager Terry Francona, legendary play-by-play voice Tom Hamilton and Chairman and CEO Paul Dolan took part in a panel discussion on leadership strategies and how to build a winning team during a session moderated by Hamilton.
Click here to listen to the full audio from this unique session.
Takeaway No. 11: Encouraging young entrepreneurs
COSE is working with the Young Entrepreneur Institute (YEI) to help our youth become more aware and inspired by entrepreneurship. Founded in 2006, YEI is a local non-profit organization that provides experiential entrepreneurship education to more than 7,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students annually through collaboration with schools and organizations in Northeast Ohio. Learn more about this partnership and how you can also support this work by clicking here.
Takeaway No. 12: Essay judges needed
Northeast Ohio high school students and the business community will come together for the third year to raise awareness and provide realistic solutions to critical issues facing the nation’s teens. High school students from Aurora, Beachwood, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Chagrin Falls, Kenston, Newbury, and Orange school districts will be given a voice and the power to solve, through an essay, a problem they see impacting themselves, their peers and their community, through the “We Solve Problems Essay Contest”, which was created by the Gertsburg Law Firm and the Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The success of the contest relies on judges and generous donations from the community and businesses. Business, government, and community leaders are asked to read about 10 one-page essays – from the comfort of their home or office - over a two-week period in February 2018. Winners will be announced in May. Jeff Hoffman, an inventor and serial entrepreneur with accomplishments going back to Priceline.com, will serve as the final judge.
Additional information about the contest, including how to become a judge or sponsor, can be found here.
The COSE Annual Meeting isn’t the only important event small business representatives should have on their calendar. Click here for a list of upcoming COSE events where you can network with fellow small business professionals and attend educational sessions that will help your business succeed.