An Interview with E!C about the RNC

An Interview with E!C about the RNC


Written by: Brian Rosen 

Sometime in the late morning on Friday, July 11, 2014 the city of Cleveland received news that electrified the city: King James decided “college” was over and it was time to return home. As significant as that day was, some may feel it was not the most impactful economic news of the week in our championship-starved city. Just a few days earlier on Tuesday, July 8th, the city learned that it won the bid for the Republican National Convention over Dallas, Texas. From July 18-21, 2016, the eyes of the nation will be on Cleveland as one of the two major political parties nominates its candidates for President and Vice President.

While the economic impact, estimated in this December 2, 2014 article on, of $400 million dollars cannot be understated, it is just one of the positives for the city. For young professionals specifically, the RNC offers numerous volunteer and networking opportunities as well as a chance to showcase everything our rising city has to offer. For a brief look into why Cleveland was chosen, what the convention means for young professionals and young professional organizations, I caught up with Ashley Basile Oeken, President of Engage! Cleveland.

EC Blog (Brian Rosen): Before getting into the opportunities available for young professionals, can you explain what the main role is of the 2016 RNC host committee?

Ashley: The Host Committee is responsible for successfully planning and executing the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. It is made up of Clevelanders who are serving on a variety of committees to plan all aspects. They are in charge of everything from fundraising to logistics to community engagement.

EC: Your were able to actually speak with some of the delegates from the Republican National Committee who helped make the decision to choose Cleveland. What was your specific role in selling Cleveland?

Ashley: I was asked to present to the delegates during one of their trips to Cleveland during the bidding process. I shared with them that Cleveland’s young professionals would love to have the RNC here and would be here to support it. I gave a short presentation to them at the Aloft hotel and then joined them for networking and dinner at the Cleveland Museum of Art later that evening. The delegates all seemed very impressed with Cleveland as they were visiting, so it was terrific to see the city chosen.

EC: What role do you foresee YPs playing during the convention?

A: I see a small number of young professionals serving on committees and working in areas such as marketing, community engagement, IT, etc. I see the larger YP community getting involved in volunteering and community engagement by showing their civic pride. The committee I serve on is focused on community engagement and we are working on a civic pride campaign with a hash tag and all.

EC: What are some ways that YPs can get involved and how will Engage! Cleveland play a role?

A: YPs can get involved by volunteering, as there are over 8,000 spots available! They can also attend the local events and contribute to the host committee. EC is playing a role by serving on the Marketing Communications Committee focused on community relations. We will be the liaison between the Host Committee and Cleveland’s YP community and young professional organizations.

EC: What is the message that the host committee wants to convey to Cleveland YPs/YPOs about the RNC convention?

A: That regardless of your political affiliation this is a tremendous opportunity that Cleveland should be proud to have in our backyard.

Looking for additional information on how to volunteer to help show off Cleveland? Various positions are available, centering on greeting RNC members and delegates at the airport, at hotels and providing hospitality as a street ambassador. To apply to be a volunteer, click here. As Ashley noted, these volunteer opportunities are completely unrelated to political affiliation. Individuals with a genuine interest in helping our guests enjoy their experience are encouraged to apply.


Brian Rosen brian