An Evening with Sweet Designs Chocolatier: Ines Rehner

Celebrate Life with Chocolate! Join HBS NEO for an evening with Founder and Master Chocolatier from Sweet Designs!

RSVP early and chocolates will be delivered to your residence that you can enjoy while you meet Ines and watch the demonstration.

Ines Rehner – My Story (so far)

Chocolate has been my favorite food for as long as I can remember. Growing up in former Yugoslavia, now Croatia, chocolate was a luxury. My sweet tooth came from my father, who always had candy hidden in his car. I would search and search until I found all of the chocolate.

In 1987, I visited New York City and immediately knew I wanted to live in this country. The opportunities seemed endless. I returned home to finish college but all I kept thinking about was how to return to a place where I could actually have my own chocolate store. By age 24 I had saved enough to fly to America. I started working at a candy store in New York that resold chocolates and candies, but I always knew that the chocolates could taste better. I began experimenting at home and just kept working until I developed my unique blend. I wanted to make great chocolate.

In December 1995, Sweet Designs Chocolatier opened in a small corner store in Lakewood and I continued to perfect my recipes for chocolate. We now offer over 80 different chocolates, from truffles and hand-dipped fruit to nut clusters and caramels. My chocolates are out of this world…literally! They have actually been enjoyed in space by NASA astronauts on the Space Shuttle.

After 10 years of making chocolate, I needed a larger location so I designed my own European Chocolaterie at a new location in Lakewood. Few things give you the pure enjoyment of great chocolate. The wonderful aroma, the smooth rich texture, and the incomparable taste all combine to make great chocolate one of life’s truly satisfying experiences. I hope that you enjoy eating my chocolates as much as I enjoy making them!

Panel Discussion: NEO Economic Development

Four organizations all supporting economic development in Cleveland and NEO. Join us to meet the dynamic leaders and learn: 

  • the mission of each
  • how they serve similar and/or different sectors
  • where they intersect
  • how they collaborate and communicate
  • short term/long term goals and/or current projects
  • top item on each organizations “wish list”

Panelists include: 

  • Ethan Karp, President & CEO — MAGNET
  • William Koehler, CEO — Team NEO
  • Ray Leach, CEO — JumpStart Inc.
  • Baiju Shah, President & CEO — Greater Cleveland Partnership
  • Moderated by Tom Waltermire

100th Anniversary Celebration & Champagne Brunch at EDWINS

Join HBS NEO for our 100th Anniversary Celebration & Champagne Brunch at Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute. 

As the EDWINS empire has evolved and grown, Brandon Chrostowski has found it necessary to develop managers for the various new initiatives as well as to offer opportunities for selected individuals, with an interest in leadership, to develop and expand their horizons beyond their wildest dreams through a management training program.

Through the HBS Club of NEO Fund we have been able to assist with the course work required to develop this next generation of hospitality managers in Cleveland by providing financial assistance for the management training program.

Brandon will bring us up-to-date on the EDWINS empire, his consulting outside of NEO and will introduce us to a few of the graduates from the management training program and we will hear what this program has meant to them.

COVID DETAILS – all state requirements will be adhered to – masks will be required other than while eating and we will furnish a Waiver for your signature following receipt of your RSVP.

In an effort to keep everyone safe, we encourage all attendees to be fully vaccinated in advance of attending.

Please plan to join us as we take a first step beyond COVID.

The Great Lakes Hyperloop

Join us for a conversation about the Great Lakes Hyperloop with:

  • Bob Dirgo, Head of the Great Lakes Hyperloop Consortium
  • Chuck Michael, Regulatory Advisor & U.S. Feasibility Studies Lead, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
  • Shelby Phillips, Head of Executive Staff & U.S. Public Affairs, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

What is Hyperloop?

Hyperloop is a developing transportation system that brings airplane speeds to the ground safely, efficiently and sustainably. Passenger and cargo capsules levitate above a track inside a tube using electromagnetic technology and a linear electric motor for propulsion.

By creating a low-pressure environment inside the tube using vacuum technology, surface fiction is considerably reduced, allowing for
not only faster speeds, but a safer, cleaner and quieter form of energy-efficient transport. Hyperloop will move passengers and goods between Cleveland, Chicago and Pittsburgh in minutes rather than hours.

Join us to learn more about this technology and the impact on the Great Lakes Region as it is planned.

Global Competence with Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA) 

Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA) Maura O’Donnell-McCarthy Center for Global Understanding presents a conversation on Global Competence 

Our global interdependence has steadily increased over the years. Many U.S. businesses are active in markets worldwide, supply chains are global and complex, the immigration has increased the complexity of American society.
Many of us have multi-cultural families. Many of us have a multi-cultural employee base. Cultural misunderstandings can derail business opportunities, hamper cooperation among teams, and cause family conflict.

Our HBS Club of NEO philanthropy fund supports the non-profit Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA) who offers global competency training. A key instrument used for this training is the Global Competence Aptitude Assessment® (GCAA).

Prior to the program, participants will complete the GCAA online (this requires 45 complete) and receive an immediate, 26-page feedback report with scoring across 8 dimensions of cultural competence.

On May 13, participants will convene for a 60-minute Zoom meeting with Elizabeth Coerdt, the CCWA Manager of Global Education, who will provide a debriefing to help participants unpack their results and consider any personal steps for their growth in global competency.


  • RSVP by May 1, 2021 to receive the aptitude assessment questionnaire
  • Complete the survey by May 6, 2021 to receive your personal summary
  • Join the Zoom call on May 13, 2021—7 PM to review the HBS Group assessment and learn ways
    to improve your Global Competence


Leadership in Evolving Economic and Markets Backdrop

Join HBS NEO for a conversation with Jay Luzar, Corporate Treasurer at KeyBank on “Leadership in Evolving Economic and Markets Backdrop”

As Corporate Treasurer for KeyBank Jay oversees corporate and bank funding, capital planning, liquidity planning, bank investments, interest rate risk management and overall asset/liability management, ensuring the bank is well-positioned to grow while maintaining its strong capital position and disciplined risk management approach.

Jay previously served as Director of Capital Management. He has helped navigate Key through the challenging regulatory environment of the past 8 years and these efforts have resulted in more efficient planning processes, improved regulatory standing, and significant returns to our shareholders.

Prior to joining Key, he was a Director of Asset and Liability Management at PNC and held several leadership roles at National City Bank and the Cleveland Clinic during his 24-year career. Jay holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from The Ohio State University and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

Dively Entrepreneurship Award 2020: Steve Potash

Join HBS NEO as we honor the recipient of the 2020 Dively Entrepreneur Award:

Steve Potash, President and Chief Executive Officer of OverDrive, a company that he founded in 1986

The Dively Entrepreneurship Award is granted annually to an individual or company in Northeast Ohio based on the demonstration of substantial success as an entrepreneur or entrepreneurial company, a history of innovation in product development or service delivery, solid financial performance, and achievement of a position of significance in the market place.

Please plan to join us as we present the 2020 HBS Club of NEO Dively Entrepreneurship Award to Steve Potash including an interview by Claudia Weissman.

Steve Potash is President and Chief Executive Officer of OverDrive, a company that he founded in 1986. He also serves on its Board of Directors. As CEO, Steve leads an Executive Strategic Team focused on OverDrive’s vision to create a world enlightened by reading. Under his leadership, OverDrive has become the leading digital reading platform for ebooks, audiobooks and other digital media for libraries, schools, government agencies, corporate learning centers and colleges and universities worldwide. A true pioneer in the digital content and distribution industry, Steve was among the first to develop useful applications for digital books in the 1980s. He began his career offering innovative floppy diskette, CD-ROM and print-to-digital conversion services, and introduced early versions of digital books to the law, accounting and healthcare industries.

A graduate of The Ohio State University and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Steve was a founding member of the Open eBook Forum (renamed International Digital Publishing Forum) and a contributing author for the industry standard ebook format EPUB specification. In addition, through his collaboration with federal and state agencies, Steve has worked extensively for improved digital media accessibility for the visually impaired.

HBS Club of NEO in collaboration with HBS Club of Chicago present: Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere w/ HBS Prof Tsedal Neeley

The rapid and unprecedented changes brought on by Covid-19 have forced companies to rapidly advance their digital footprint, using cloud, storage, cybersecurity, and device tools to accommodate their new remote workforce.

Experiencing the benefits of remote working—including nonexistent commute times, lower operational costs, and a larger pool of global job applicants—many companies, including Twitter and Google, plan to permanently incorporate remote days or give employees the option to work from home full-time. But virtual work has it challenges. Employees feel lost, isolated, out of sync, and out of sight. They want to know how to build trust, maintain connections without in-person interactions, and a proper work/life balance. Managers want to know how to lead virtually, how to keep their teams motivated, what digital tools they’ll need, and how to keep employees productive.

Providing compelling, evidence-based answers to these and other pressing issues, Remote Work Revolution is essential for navigating the enduring challenges teams and managers face. Filled with specific actionable steps, original illustrations and interactive tools, this timely book will help team members deliver results previously out of reach. Following Neeley’s advice, employees will be able to break through routine norms to successfully use remote work to benefit themselves, their groups, and ultimately their organizations.

SPEAKER: Tsedal Neeley, Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration/HBS

Tsedal Neeley (@tsedal) is the Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Her work focuses on how leaders can scale their organizations by developing and implementing global and digital strategies. She regularly advises top leaders who are embarking on virtual work and large scale-change that involves global expansion, digital transformation, and becoming more agile.

Tsedal heads and teaches in the first-year required Leadership and Organizational Behavior course in the MBA program that focuses on how to lead effectively; the curriculum addresses group behavior and performance, organization design, change and how to align people behind a common vision. With Bill George and Krishna Palepu she co-chairs the executive offering, Leading Global Businesses, which helps top leaders develop emerging and mature market strategies in a global and increasingly digital economy. She also teaches extensively in executive programs such as Harvard Business Analytics Program. Tsedal is a recipient of the prestigious Charles M. Williams Award for Outstanding Teaching in Executive Education and the Greenhill Award for outstanding contributions to Harvard Business School. She serves on the Board of Directors of Brightcove, Brown Capital Management, Harvard Business Publishing and the Partnership Inc.

Her forthcoming book,​ Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere (2021, Harper Collins Business), provides remote workers and leaders with the best practices necessary to perform at the highest levels in their organizations. Her award-winning book, The Language of Global Success: How a Common Tongue Transforms Multinational Organizations chronicles the behind-the-scenes globalization process of a company over the course of five years. She has also published extensively in leading scholarly and practitioner-oriented outlets such as Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Management Science, Journal of International Business, Strategic Management Journal and Harvard Business Review, and her work has been widely covered in media outlets such as BBC, CNN, Financial Times, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist. Her HBS case, Managing a Global Team: Greg James at Sun Microsystems, is one of the most used cases worldwide on the subject of virtual work. 

Prior to her academic career, Tsedal spent ten years working for companies like Lucent Technologies and The Forum Corporation in various roles, including strategies for global customer experience, 360-degree performance software management systems, sales force/sales management development, and business flow analysis for telecommunication infrastructures. A sought-after speaker with extensive international experience, she is fluent in four languages. She holds a patent for her software simulation on global collaboration and is a member of Rakuten’s Advisory Board. 

Tsedal received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Management Science and Engineering, specializing in Work, Technology and Organizations. Tsedal was named to Thinkers50 2018 On the Radar list for making lasting contributions to management, honored as a Stanford Distinguished Alumnus Scholar and was a Stanford University School of Engineering Lieberman award recipient for excellence in teaching and research.

HBS Club of NEO in collaboration with HBS Club of Chicago present: Authentically Leading with Blind Ambition

Join the HBS Club NEO in collaboration with the HBS Club of Chicago for a Fireside Chat with Chad E. Foster (HBS ’16) and Bill George (HBS Senior Fellow)

The stories we tell ourselves either limit us or propel us towards our goals. Are you ready to turn your biggest obstacle into your biggest advantage?

When most people were preparing for the adventure of adult life, Chad E. Foster was watching the world he grew up with fade to black. But going blind in his early 20’s didn’t stop him from living. Becoming an avid coder, he built software Oracle thought was impossible and won over $45 billion in contracts in the business world.

Overcoming his own struggles and inspired by Bill’s teachings at HBS, Chad discovered blindness was a “gift” from which he developed the mental stamina and resilience to live his best life.

Chad and Bill will discuss how finding the courage to authentically lead offers us a path forward in life, regardless of our circumstances. They will also review the journey, lessons learned and the tools Chad used to adapt and mold himself into who he is today, which he describes in his upcoming book Blind Ambition: How to Go from Victim to Visionary.

In this session, be prepared to:

  • Stop staying trapped, discover your unique strengths and bounce back
  • Learn the mental model that Chad uses to quickly overcome frustrations and stressors
  • Gain a new perspective of diversity and inclusion
  • Shift your mindset, turn your excuses into personal motivation, and decide that you are in charge of who you want to be

SPEAKER: Chad E. Foster, HBS ’16, Motivational Keynote Speaker and Sales/Finance Leader

Chad E. Foster is a motivational keynote speaker, sales/finance leader, and inspirational change agent who works at Red Hat/IBM. He was the first blind executive to graduate from Harvard Business School’s Program for Leadership Development and has been featured with NBC, Forbes, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, USA Today, Thrive Global, and Chief Executive Mag.

“People are often surprised at what I was able to achieve in spite of being blind but to the contrary, I feel I am successful because I am blind, not in spite of it,” says Chad.

After losing his eyesight while attending college in his early twenties, Chad started at Accenture, and has built a career in the technology industry where he has directed financial strategies and decisions resulting in more than $45 billion in contracts. Determination, ambition, and resilience are the key drivers to his incredible journey.

The Atlanta Opera has commissioned an opera inspired by his life story and his first book, Blind Ambition: How to Go from Victim to Visionary, is available for pre-orders on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Bookshop, Books-A-Million, Google Play, and other fine retailers.

If you order before February 16, 2021 and enter your order details on blind ambition you will receive the audio book for free and start reading today. Please also take a look at the book trailer for a preview of Blind Ambition: How to Go from Victim to Visionary.

Today, Chad speaks to corporate audiences and professional athletes to help them develop resilience in the face of uncertainty, better understand how to harness diversity for innovation and show people how to overcome their own blind spots. He lives with his wife and his 2 children in Atlanta, GA.

MODERATOR: Bill George, Harvard Business School (HBS), Senior Fellow and former Chair & CEO of Medtronic

Bill George is a Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School, and is the former Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic. He is the author of Discover Your True North and The Discover Your True North Fieldbook, Authentic Leadership, True North, Finding Your True North, 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis and True North Groups. Bill has previously served on the boards of Goldman Sachs, Mayo Clinic, ExxonMobil, Target, Novartis and The World Economic Forum USA. In 2014 the Franklin Institute presented Bill with the Bower Award for Business Leadership. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2012 and was named one of “Top 25 Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years” by PBS. Mr. George received his BSIE with high honors from Georgia Tech, his MBA with high distinction from Harvard University, where he was a Baker Scholar. He has received honorary PhDs from Georgia Tech, Mayo Medical School, University of St. Thomas, Augsburg College, and Bryant University.

Wine Tasting with Peay Winery

Join HBS NEO for a Wine Tasting with a native Clevelander, Andy Peay, Marketing, Sales and everything else at Peay Winery

Andy Peay along with his brother, Nick, and Sister-in law, Vanessa, followed their passion and are experiencing success on a 52 acre hilltop in Cloverdale California that holds 85,000 vines!

NOW—we have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labors with Andy talking about his passion.

Nick and Vanessa grow the grapes and Andy is as  his title notes—runs the business.

You will receive four-ounce servings with accoutrements of the following

  • 2017 Peay Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
  • 2018 Peay Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
  • 2017 Peay Pomarium Pinot Noir
  • 2016 Peay LaPruma Syrah

PICKUP DETAILS: We will have 3 different pick up points which will be determined based on the location of the attendees and will be announced following the close of registration.

If you are interested in purchasing 750 ml. of any of the offerings, we can arrange to have bottles available at your pickup point and will send an order form for your use following registration. Peay wines are also available at Cuffs in Chagrin Falls.