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First-ever Men's Elevation Conference sells out

When planning an event, there is always a sense of anticipation and excitement.


Will people show up?


Will it be a success?


The Men’s Elevation Conference, presented by Step Forward, began as a conversation in the fall of 2022. Derek Cluse, Step Forward’s Chief of Staff, and LaRese Purnell, Managing Partner of CLE Consulting Firm and Step Forward’s Board Chair, recognized there were not many holistic conference opportunities dedicated toward men.


“Usually, you see something related to finance, you see something about healthcare or something about mental health,” Purnell explained. “To be able to bring all of that together to lift up the whole man, I thought this was a great opportunity.”

Purnell will serve as the Keynote Speaker.


“The title of my speech is, ‘We have the Power,’” Purnell previewed. “The power is right in our hand. It’s accessing the resources and education that will be right there in the same room that day.”


The Men’s Elevation Conference is a first-of-its-kind event in Cuyahoga County. The one-day event will allow men from all occupations and lifestyles to gather and discuss financial literacy and entrepreneurship, mental wellness, health and wellbeing in African American men, fatherhood and marriage, and the importance of civic engagement.


“We knew there was a demand for an event like this, but we didn’t anticipate just how much,” Derek Cluse, Step Forward’s Chief of Staff, said. “We are pleased with the interest.”

Within three weeks of opening registration, Step Forward not only reached its attendance goal, but exceeded it. As of April 17, more than 350 people had signed up to attend the Men’s Elevation Conference at Tri-C Eastern Campus.


“To announce that the Men’s Elevation Conference is a sold-out event is a cause for celebration,” Cluse said. “It’s a sign that the men of Cuyahoga County are excited about what this conference has to offer. This is an opportunity for attendees to enjoy a memorable experience with like-minded individuals.”


For the Men’s Elevation Conference speakers, the inaugural event will allow them to showcase their skills and expertise.

“The lineup is real," Jason Lockett Sr., the Founder of The Breadwinners Academy and Slice of Pie Show, said. "The men are going to leave here with some very valuable information.”


Lockett will host one of the conference breakout sessions, which will focus on financial literacy.

“This will be a hands-on workshop where we will discuss building one’s credit score, how to read and understand credit reports and how to rebuild credit,” he explained.


The Men’s Elevation Conference will be April 29, 2023. It will take place at Tri-C Eastern Campus, located at 4250 Richmond Road in Highland Hills, Ohio.


“The planning committee and I have worked hard to ensure that each person attending will have an opportunity to grow personally and professionally from this,” Cluse concluded. “For those who missed out, keep an eye out for future events and be sure to grab your tickets early next time."


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