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Hurry – Don’t Miss the Liveliest Networking Event of the Summer!

Collegiate Career and Community Leader Mixer
Tuesday, July 30 from 6 – 9 PM
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to celebrate Cleveland, network with Cleveland professionals and community leaders, and support area college students at the Collegiate Career and Community Leader MixerHurry because ticket sales end on Monday morning, July 29!
SAVE $10 by entering the promotion code MIX10SOTC at the top of the “Select Tickets” window.

Professionals and community leaders are invited to share their career backgrounds, opportunities and advice and establish connections with students and other professionals. 

Key networking time will be from 6-7:30 PM with time afterwards to enjoy the museum or continue networking. Hors d’oeuvres and a cash or credit mocktail and cocktail bar will be provided along with complimentary access to all Rock Hall museum galleries. 

Registration for business professionals is $45 and nonprofit professionals is $35. Professionals are invited to bring business cards and approximately 150 copies of one piece of literature about their organization to share with students

Click HERE to learn more and register.

The event is presented by MetroHealthSummer on the Cuyahoga (internship program), and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame


CDPUG Member to Play the Rock Hall with Vanity Crash

Friday, July 19 from 5 PM – 7 PM at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Left to right: Thomas Anonymous, Matthew Angel, Virginia Plain Crash, Dennis Van Crash. Photo by Dennis Yurich.

CDPUG member Jinni Fontana (aka Virginia Plain Crash) is not only an experienced graphic designer, art director, project manager, and Showcase karaoke participant—she also has musical talent as a member of the local glam-rock band, Vanity Crash!

Come down and see Jinni and the rest of the Vanity Crash gang on Friday, July 19. In addition to their live performance on the plaza, there will be food truck food and drink specials at this Rock Hall Live SUN SETS event.

Jinni joined the band this past Spring singing backup vocals and playing percussion. She had seen them perform after Thomas Mulready’s (drummer and founder) Beatles’ multimedia presentation at the Bop Stop. She said, “It was exactly the kind of music I wanted to be involved with – original songs and covers by Bowie, Beatles, Velvet Underground, and T Rex. We all hit it off and have been rehearsing since, with gigs booked from now until January.”

Click here for more info

Web Design Experts Discuss Importance of UI Design

Our June meeting featured a lively panel discussion on user interface design at LeanDog on the beautiful shore of Lake Erie. Thanks to Debbie Stahl of LeanDog, Custom Software Development & Consulting for sharing their beautiful ship shape office space.

Photos by Christine Kaminski

The 5 person panel consisted of:

  • Lisa Gruber-Gebby – a Principal of OrangeWall Creative a design and interactive firm with over 25 years experience. Lisa is the god-mother of the CDPUG Showcase.
  • Dallas Riffle – President of DRM, a growing full-service marketing agency in Fairview Park, Ohio.
  • Adam Corrao – owner of Corrao Designs, a website design and development agency based out of Parma, Ohio.
  • Heidi Cool of Heidi Adams Cool • Web Design & Strategy – a marketer and web strategist with 25 years experience in web development.
  • Remington Phillips – a CDPUG Past President and current Director of Digital at radio broadcaster Connoisseur Media.

The discussion began with some general comments from each panelist describing what user interface (UI) design means. Overall, UI has to do with how a visitor explores or navigates a website. It includes the design and elements of the entire site – buttons, menus, paragraphs, photos, etc. Simplicity and organization of information are key. The goal is to guide users to a destination. User interface (UI) is a small part of the entire user experience (UX). Lisa encouraged us to visit a great resource at

Visit for more information on UX and UI.

Panelists continued to provide tips on the overall process. When you begin work on a website Dallas emphasized that you need to obtain or write your content first – then look at the layout. Everyone mentioned how important it is to have a goal and know who your audience is. What is it that your user should perceive? Is it a product or service? Heidi provided several hand drawn visuals showing how to take your goal and use it to create a site map and then a wireframe.

Dallas advised making sure all things have a purpose. He felt many sites have a lot of clutter. Designers should make sure they have a reason for adding something to an interface. Lisa brought up various sites both here and throughout the panel discussion as samples.

Remington mentioned that you need to analyze or look at the website for sticking points – whether that be by simply letting family and friends test it out or doing something more organized like creating a focus group.

The meeting continued with a Q&A session. When asked their opinions on sliders – everyone agreed that they tend to be overused and you need to limit them to 3-5 slides. Also, once again – make sure they have a purpose.

Someone else asked the panel how they address creating mobile vs. desktop set ups. Adam suggested using the “inspector” in Chrome (or similar tools on other browsers) to evaluate your site on different sized screens. 

When asked about customizing templates, Heidi mentioned that you may need the help of a developer or designer. In order to do it yourself, she also said it is necessary to know CSS, HTML, Java Script and PHP.

Adam and Dallas brought up the importance of using “child themes” to create new designs. This way, any code changes you make are preserved in the child theme and won’t be overwritten when an update of the parent theme rolls out. If you put custom code in the parent theme and it gets updated, your modifications would be lost.

Another member asked if it was possible to back up or preserve revisions to your sites in case clients want to go back to a certain version—like graphic designers frequently do. There were several good suggestions including using the “revert” feature in WordPress, using plugins to perform automatic backups (such as UpdraftPlus), and accessing backups saved by most hosting companies. To make things more organized, it is recommended you use your own naming system to keep track of which backups are which.

The Q&A session wrapped up with suggestions on how to get or update WordPress.

Remington concluded by reminding us of the importance of incorporating web accessibility tools so everyone can use your site and the sites meet certain medical, government and restaurant industry requirements.

Thank you so much to all the panelists for taking time from their busy schedules to participate. We appreciated your input and advice!

2019 Annual Showcase Videos NOW AVAILABLE on YouTube

If you missed this year’s Showcase or want to review speakers’ presentations we’re happy to announce that all of the speaker videos are now available on the CDPUG YouTube page!

We’d like to thank Bill Baraona of Flex Media for the video and Sarah Coggins for the video editing! We appreciate their time in helping CDPUG with this task.

A YouTube video of your presentation is one of the perks of presenting at the Showcases. You can use the video to introduce yourself to your peers, make new contacts, improve your SEO and attract important potential referrals.

It’s HERE! GRAMMY® Award Winner Erica Brenner Receives Her Official Award

Photo by Margy Adams

You may not have ever thought about it—but winning a GRAMMY® doesn’t mean you necessarily get to take it home from the awards ceremony! 

In March, we found out about the album Apollo’s Fire “Songs of Orpheus” winning the GRAMMY® for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. (March 19, 2019 CDPUG blog entry by Jinni Fontana). The album features the talents of Apollo’s Fire Cleveland’s own Baroque orchestra—Karim Sulayman’s vocals, Jeannette Sorrell’s artistic direction, and Erica Brenner’s production.

As a recipient, you get to see and hold the GRAMMY® award, but the official personalized awards are engraved and sent out after the ceremony.

Erica was patient and now holds her very own GRAMMY® award! 
Congratulations again to Erica on her first nomination and win as an independent producer.

You can get the CD at, or at your preferred music retailer.

Members Attend The World of Puppets: From Stage to Screen

A combined group of about 10 CDPUG members and Parade on the Circle artists toured The World of Puppets: From Stage to Screen exhibit at the Cleveland Public Library this past Saturday. The group had a guided tour which featured traditional and modern puppets from around the world in every shape and size.

A good number of the puppets in the collection were from Parade on the Circle. Attendee Sue Berry, who runs the parade’s sewing department, had her name in many places for her sewing contributions. She and her husband Michael Crouch supplemented the docent’s tour with behind the scenes info.

Everyone enjoyed famous puppets such as Oscar the Grouch, Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, Punch and Judy, and the gang from Hickory Hideout. They also tried their hand at their own puppet show in one of the puppet stages. 

Photos by Spike Radway

A large group of attendees went out for Mexican afterwards.

The exhibit is part of the library’s year-long 150thAnniversary Celebration. The exhibit is at the
library through November 30. Admission is free and open to everyone.

The 15th Annual CDPUG Showcase Highlights Professionals and Students

All photos by Jinni Fontana.

This year’s 15thAnnual CDPUG showcase highlighted a variety of professionals as well as some of the new talent joining our various fields.

Professionals presenting this year included Chris Woodman, Katie Melnick from Fizz Creative, James Popovic, Jinni Fontana, Bill Baraona from Flex Media and Keith Berr of Keith Berr Productions. Chris, Bill and Jinni were repeat performers.

Chris Woodman demonstrated his work as a designer, educational expert in Apple software, digital media specialist–and yes, MAGIC maker! Chris ended his presentation with a digital card trick that amazed everyone!

Katie Melnick runs Fizz Creative with her husband Jasen. Fizz Creative is a strategic design & branding studio. Katie showcased their hands on approach to branding and packaging. 

James Popovic is a part-time faculty instructor at Lakeland Community College and commercial photographer and digital image specialist at Kalman and Pabst. James shared with us an exciting personal project involving the creation of virtual tours of the Submarine U.S.S. COD here in Cleveland, talking about how he created stunning QuickTime VR views of the submarine’s interior.

Jinni Fontana kicked off the second half of the showcase by accepting this year’s Karaoke challenge. She is our first female participant and navigated 20 mystery slides with great humor and quick thinking. Bet you never knew she hung around with Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Or that she’s related to Edward Scissorhands! 

Bill Baraona of Flex Media gave a follow-up presentation to one he gave a few years ago, showing what he and his wife Jackie have been up to and how they’ve grown their brand awareness videos, clientele and studio.

Keith Berr owner of Keith Berr Productions shared his passion for photography and encouraged everyone to use their skills to make change in the world. He talked about his work to save the Bonneville Salt Flats. Save the Salt Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and to promote its history and motorsports legacy.

In terms of the new and impressive talent coming up thru the ranks, we heard from recent college graduate Sarah Coggins from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania who introduced herself and showed some of her work as a video editor and 3D Generalist. 

We also learned more about how Trinity High School is providing Pre-Professional Internships to help students gain exposure and experience in graphic arts fields from Barb DottoreDirector, Pre-Professional Internship Program. Barb gave an overview of the program and three current students – Alyssa Farley (junior), Rue Barone (junior),and David Dzurilla(senior) – talked about their experience and shared some of their work. 

Thank you to EVERYONE involved in putting together the event! A special shout out to Spike Radway for hosting and assisting presenters in preparing their presentations. Thank you Spike for your devotion to our group and this event! A BIG thank you to Keith Berr Productions for providing the location. It’s a great space not only for the presentations but also for mixing and getting to know one another better. Thank you to Bill Baraona for videotaping everyone’s presentation and Ron Skoczen for helping with the audio. Thank you to Kimberly Jarrel for arranging for the great taco bar, Lorelei Greifenstein for decorations and Judy Beveridge for check ins, and Henry Lee for the signs and logistics. Last but not least, thank you to everyone who helped with clean up including Mark Midlin and Spike’s wife Christi Carlson.

As soon as they are available, you can
find videos of this year’s presentations on

Use these videos as inspiration for your own presentation next year!

PechaKucha Night Cleveland: Waterways

Thursday, June 20 – 7:00 PM
Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica

Kick off a 5 day celebration of one of the area’s greatest resources –  our river – on Thursday June 20 with PechaKucha Night Cleveland: Waterways.  PechaKucha is Japanese for “the sound of conversation” and will feature a series of 10 presenters discussing their work, ideas, and unique perspectives through 20 image presentations devoting 20 seconds per image. There will be presenters from Ethiopia, Uganda, Lebanon, Vancouver, Minneapolis, Detroit and Cleveland. 

This event comes 50 years after the Cuyahoga River caught fire on June 22, 1969 due to industrial pollution and helps us see how global communities can re-think their relationship with water.

Tickets for the event are FREE, but must be reserved at

This event is made possible through the generous support of the Cleveland Foundation and partnership with LAND Studio.

For more info on all Cuyahoga50 events occurring from June 19-23 go to

Changes to Successful Job Seekers Meet Ups in June

BEGINNING Wednesday June 5 – 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
The Midtown Tech Hive
6815 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland OH 44103

Starting on June 5 there will be a new time and format for Sue Nelson’s Meet Ups. Meet Ups will be held weekly beginning June 5 at 1:30 PM and will be held in a one hour Mastermind Group format. Your first meeting is free and then there is a small investment of $10 a week. Groups will range from a minimum of 5 people and a maximum of 8.

CLICK HERE for More Info

Sue states that “the purpose of Mastermind is movement in your quest– doing the activitiesyou commit to doing and seeing changes in outcomes.” This new format will allow more peer-to-peer mentoring and allow members to help one another with input and advice. Sue feels this change will also help “…include those who are exploring their own business or expanding entrepreneurial or solo ventures.” 

Sue and the Job Search Center celebrated their one year anniversary on May 15. Her dream of helping people reach goals faster in groups has grown into a reality. Be sure to congratulate her!

Trinity HS Offers School Year Internships in Graphic Design

Trinity High School, in Garfield Heights, offers Pre-Professional Internships to 10-12 grade students. Consider sponsoring a student during the school year. CDPUG will also be involving students in meetings and events to encourage further learning about our field as well as giving them an opportunity to earn service hours for school.

Sophomores begin by gaining valuable experience in a general office environment with Microsoft software and then continue to grow in their specialty over the junior and senior years. Graphic Design Juniors learn about print design, logo design, editing and enhancing images and essential Adobe software amongst other things. Seniors go on to learn about HTML and Web design, branding, ad campaigns and build a professional portfolio.

There are many types of internship positions. Areas of interest to CDPUG members might include Graphic Design, Art, Marketing and Information Technology. Trinity’s 2018/2019 program has 200+ interns, 40 of which are in Graphic Design. The program has been operating since 2009.

Benefits Include:

  • Developing NE Ohio’s “best and brightest” as future employees and customers.
  • Offers real-world experienced and networking in a student’s chosen career path.
  • Supports corporate sponsors with trained members of Trinity’s Resource Staff.
  • Financially supports Intern participation in affordable, quality Catholic education sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis.

Learn how your organization can become a Corporate Sponsor by visiting

or contacting:

Barb Dottore
Director, Pre-Professional Internship Program
Trinity High School
TEL: 216-581-5749
CELL: 216-212-5127

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