Greater Cleveland Middle Market Forum | Sept. 27

Greater Cleveland Middle Market Forum

In today’s competitive market – for talent, for customers, and for new opportunities – Middle Market companies need to embrace innovative forward-thinking tools, strategies and concepts.  That’s why we have packed the best of the best content, speakers, and ideas into the 2022 Greater Cleveland Middle-Market Forum creating a one stop shop half-day experience that will surely deliver value for you, your team and your company.  

  • When: Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Where:  Corporate College East, 4400 Richmond Road, Warrensville Heights, OH
  • Cost:  $75 for Members, $125 for Non-Members


7:30-8:00 a.m.                 Registration and Breakfast

8:00-8:25 a.m.                 Welcome, Opening Comments and The State of the Middle-Market Report

Presented by Doug Farren, Managing Director, National Center for Middle Market at Ohio State University

 8:25-9:25 a.m.                Keynote Presentation:  The Future of Business is AI, or Obsolete

With each day that passes and each advancement in artificial intelligence technology, it is becoming more apparent that there will be three types of businesses in every industry: AI Native, AI Emergent, and Obsolete.

Take any business and simply look for inefficiencies in repetitive processes, opportunities to drive revenue through greater predictive models (e.g., for customer acquisition, retention, or growth), and ways to unlock ideation and innovation through previously unattainable creative possibilities.

AI makes all this possible. It is smarter technology that builds smarter businesses.

In this opening keynote, Paul Roetzer, Marketing AI Institute founder and CEO:

  • Shares an overview of what AI is and how it works.
  • Lays out a vision for AI-powered, next-gen businesses that will grow to dominate in the years to come.
  • Presents a framework to scale AI in your company.

The future of business is human + machine, and the future is now.

9:30-10:10 a.m.                 Networking Break

10:10-11:10 a.m.                Breakout Sessions

  • Start Using AI in 1 Hour or Less (and 30+ Tools to Use Today)

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or spend months of study to start using artificial intelligence to grow your business today. All you need to do is attend this breakout session.

You’ll come away from the session with:

  • A proven framework to identify high-value business problems to solve with AI, usable by businesses of any size in any industry.
  • A list of 30+ AI marketing tools to start exploring across all major marketing functions, including advertising, analytics, communications/PR, content marketing, customer service, ecommerce, email marketing, sales, SEO, and social media.
  • Tangible and actionable ideas and examples so you can pilot your first project using AI.

Presented by:  Mike Kaput, Chief Content Officer, Marketing AI Institute

  • Growth by Design via Hedgehog and Flywheel Concepts

In this 60-minute workshop, we will review the Hedgehog and Flywheel concepts from Jim Collins and begin the process of focusing on your Core Values proposition (Hedgehog) and finding the exit momentum for breakthrough execution (Flywheel).

Presented by: Kris Snyder, Managing Partner, Impact Architects

  • Managing and Leveraging Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

This interactive session will expose you to the process of developing a strategic DEI business plan that will support your workforce, workplace, community, marketplace and revenue goals. During the conversation we will discuss the key elements of managing and leveraging diversity, equity and inclusion to drive business or mission results.

Presented by: Kevin Clayton, Senior Vice President, Head of Social Impact and Equity, Cleveland Cavaliers

11:10-12:30 p.m.             Lunch and Panel DiscussionBuild Nex-Gen Allure into Your Business and Culture

How do you ensure your business is evolving to meet the needs, passions, interests and workstyles of the next generation?  Our diverse panel of young professionals will share their insights on how they make decisions about the kind of organization they (and other future talent) want to work for and growth with. 

Panelists include: 

  • Mick Jendrisak, President/CEO at Pilot Plastics
  • Juan Pena, Investor Relations Coordinator at Team NEO
  • Kwame Botchway, Director of Community Impact and Innovation at Village Capital Corporation
  • Julia Matter, Marketing and Communications Manager at Downtown Cleveland Alliance
  • Moderated by: Tanya Budler, Founder at Rise Together

12:30 p.m.                      Forum Concludes

Kwame Botchway Bio

Kwame Botchway is an Impact Strategist based in Cleveland and working within the community, and economic development ecosystems. He has worked on projects and research focused on inclusive and equitable community development and sustainability practices in North American and African cities.

Kwame works as the Director of Community Impact and Innovation at Village Capital Corporation. He is the founder of Citadel Impact Consulting working to support mission-oriented organizations to deepen and scale their impact.

Kwame serves as a Community Champion for the Midwest US with the Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum. Kwame has spoken recently at Davos and at the Global Shapers Annual Meeting 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland. Since moving from Accra to Cleveland to pursue a master’s degree at Case Western Reserve University as a Leadership Fellow, he has made Northeast Ohio, home.

Tanya Budler Bio

Originally from the farmlands of Nebraska and Missouri, Tanya Budler is quite happy to be back in the Midwest after 10+ years on the East Coast.  With no previous connection to Ohio, she was drawn to Cleveland by the lake, Mason’s Creamery, and the vibrant workforce, economic development, and newcomer communities.

Tanya founded Rise Together in 2021 while finishing her graduate studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  A people centric problem solver, she has built global youth programs, designed first of its kind state level policy, and pioneered a statewide coalition to welcome Afghan refugees.  She has proven success in the private, public and non-profit sectors, but more importantly she has an insatiable desire to help Cleveland make its comeback.

Why A Nebraska-Born Harvard Grad Chose Cleveland For Her Next Big Move

Born in Nebraska, raised in Missouri and educated in the Ivy League, Tanya Budler has always been determined to find her calling, whatever and wherever it may be. That journey through life has taken her from the farmlands of the Midwest to the hallowed halls of Harvard and studies abroad.

Read more of her story here.

Kevin Clayton Bio

Kevin Clayton is Senior Vice President, Head of Social Impact and Equity for the Rock Entertainment Group which includes the Cavs, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland Charge, Cleveland Monsters and Cavs Legion Gaming Club. 

Under his leadership Clayton oversees the Cavs Community Relations and DEI teams, Community Engagement and the Cavaliers Community Foundation. Clayton previously held senior level positions at Bon Secours Mercy Health, United States Tennis Association, Russell Athletic/Spalding, Procter & Gambleand the American Cancer Society, as well as was managing partner of JumpBall LLC, an entity he founded in 2012. 

He is currently Vice Chair of the Greater Cleveland Urban League, and a Board Member at United Way of Greater Cleveland, Community Health Charities (CHC), Shaker Schools Foundation, the Cleveland City Club and serves as an advisor on several other local and national boards. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Clayton has 4 daughters, is an alum of North Carolina Central University and Wilmington College Ohio, where he was a member and captain of the basketball team.

Doug Farren Bio

Doug Farren joined The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business after an 11-year career at Limited Brands, where he most recently served as senior manager of supply chain planning. His responsibilities included developing the supply chain network and planning/allocation functionality for inventory to support three distinct international store channels. Farren started with Limited Brands as a summer intern while completing his MBA in Operations and Logistics Management at Fisher. Farren’s previous experience includes work for Six Sigma Qualtec, a process improvement consulting firm based on Scottsdale, Arizona. His primary functions included marketing strategy, new client relationships, and on-site training and implementation. As part of his responsibilities, he was certified in 1998 as a Six Sigma Black Belt in Transactional Quality. Farren holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Penn State University, where he was a member of the football team as an athlete and student assistant under Joe Paterno. He is an active member of the Penn State Football Letterman’s Club.

Mick Jendrisak Bio

Mick Jendrisak is the President/CEO at Pilot Plastics.  He has a BA and MA from Ohio University in history and archaeology.  Mick’s first job was working in an injection molding facility at 16 years old, which gives him 29 years of involvement within the injection molding industry.  His career path – working with wide variety of manufacturers within the plastics realm (injection, roto, compounding) on local and national level – took him from press operator–injection moldings to material handling–injection molding, operations/purchasing–injection molding, regional sales–specialty compounding resins, national sales–commodity resins and now to CEO/President—injection molding for his company. 

Mike Kaput Bio

Mike Kaput is the Chief Content Officer at Marketing AI Institute. Kaput uses content marketing, marketing strategy, and marketing technology to grow and scale traffic, leads, and revenue for Marketing AI Institute. An avid writer, Kaput has published hundreds of articles on how to use AI in marketing to increase revenue and reduce costs. Kaput is the co-author of Marketing Artificial Intelligence: AI, Marketing and the Future of Business (Matt Holt Books, 2022). He is also the author of Bitcoin in Plain English.

Juan Pena Bio

Juan Pena is a 23-year-old Cleveland State graduate from Puerto Rico. Having recently completed his bachelor’s degree in finance in May 2022, he is passionate about his position as investor relations coordinator at Team NEO.  This is because he is fervent about helping his community and being a part of the great work that is helping it grow at Team NEO. When not found at work, Juan can usually be found serving at his local church as a musician. He enjoys thinking creatively and using that ability to find real-world solutions on a daily basis.

Julia Matter Bio

Julia Matter is The Marketing and Communications Manager at The Downtown Cleveland Alliance. Her role includes stakeholder communication, driving brand awareness, and organizing events. Julia was born and raised in Massachusetts and graduated from Merrimack College’s Honors Program Summa Cum Laude in 2021. 

Julia moved to Ohio in June of 2022 to pursue her career. She prides herself in being a highly motivated individual and know she has much more to accomplish. Julia is looking forward to integrating herself into the Cleveland Community.

Paul Roetzer Bio 

Paul Roetzer is founder and CEO of Marketing AI Institute, and founder of Ready North (formerly PR 20/20), HubSpot’s first partner agency. He is the author of Marketing Artificial Intelligence (Matt Holt Books, 2022) The Marketing Performance Blueprint (Wiley, 2014) and The Marketing Agency Blueprint (Wiley, 2012); and creator of the Marketing AI Conference (MAICON). As a speaker, Roetzer is focused on making AI approachable and actionable for marketers and business leaders. A graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Roetzer has consulted for hundreds of organizations, from startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Kris Snyder Bio

Kris Snyder is driven by his passion for working with entrepreneurs. After 25 years of building and leading five entrepreneurial companies, in 2018 he founded a growth advisory firm called Impact Architects where he serves as the Managing Partner.

Additionally, in 2019, he began working with, a company focused on supporting the same target market by providing company operating system software, where he serves as the Head of Finance and Partnerships. Both these endeavors align around his Just Cause of building a world where entrepreneurial companies and their employees can become extraordinarily productive, humane and resilient.


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