Cleveland Business Connects

For immediate release (October 6, 2017) Media Contact: Judy Abelman Email: Phone: 440.725.8861...

With the 2012 Republican National Convention under her belt, Tampa, Fla., native Catlin Layton has spent the last nine months living in Cleveland, preparing her company and its clients for the July 18-21 “Super Bowl of politics.” With the latest RNC convention nearing, the only thing she isn’t ready for is the notion of leaving Northeast Ohio after her work is done.

Q. What is GOP Convention Strategies?

A. GOP Convention Strategies is a consulting and event production business that helps our clients make the most of their time at Republican National Conventions. This firm has provided these services since 2008 in anticipation of the RNC Convention in St. Paul, Minn. This year we are working with more than 15 state delegations on their fundraising and event plans happening outside their official events. Additionally, we are working with several private companies and associations on their events and plans at the convention.

Q. How did you get to Cleveland?

A. I worked for this firm in 2012 after graduating from the University of South Florida. While ramping up operations for 2016, the partners offered me the chance to move to Cleveland. I moved here in November.

Q. What is your role within the organization?

A. I serve as the director of operations. I am responsible for day-to-day operations, assisting with business development. I tour groups around Cleveland and consult with them on venues and events at the convention.

Q. What about the convention has people most excited?

A. I believe Clevelanders are most excited to see their city in the national spotlight. That excitement will certainly translate to a great convention experience for delegations and others traveling to Cleveland this summer.

Q. How will Cleveland set itself apart from other convention cities?

A. Cleveland is a very walkable city, with restaurants and event venues very close to the convention arena and media headquarters. This alone will be a major plus for convention goers who want to get around easily.

Q. What is your best advice for locals to participate in the Convention?

A. Volunteer! Whether it is with the Cleveland Host Committee ( or with our firm at events, take some time to travel downtown and participate. Convention goers will notice how locals love their city. It makes a big difference in the convention experience.

Q. What should locals expect to see downtown?

A. Based off my experience in Tampa, people will certainly see an increased security presence in the area. The most frequently asked question from locals is, “Can I drive downtown?” There have been a lot of opinions expressed about coming downtown; I say do what makes sense for you. Typically, the mornings are not bad to get downtown, as delegations are at their hotels for meetings. There is noticeable increase in traffic and activity starting around 3 p.m., when delegations start to come downtown for the convention, which typically takes place from about 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Q. How many events will your firm produce during the week of the convention?

A. Our firm will produce more than 50 events during the week of the convention. These range from breakfasts with state delegations to large post-session receptions.

Q. What has surprised you about Cleveland?

A. To be honest — everything. It was a swift transition from Tampa to Cleveland because the firm needed somebody here quickly. I knew I would be here until at least August, and if I didn’t like it could move back just as fast. I am never home on the weekends because there are so many great events and activities to participate in around this area. The foodie scene here has been very enjoyable and the people here are welcoming. I’ve made some great friends here.

Q. What made GCS decide to have offices in Playhouse Square?

A. GCS partnered with Cleveland local Matt Cox. Matt is currently president of Capitol Partners LLC, a lobbying, grassroots, and public affairs firm. He has offices in Columbus and, as of November, Cleveland. Matt invested in this space overlooking the famous chandelier to make sure they can show their growing presence in the state.

Q. What are your plans after the RNC?

A. I have been a Florida girl through and through. When I told Tampa friends I was moving to Cleveland, they would say, “see you back in August!” Now that I’m here, I have found Cleveland to be an amazing city with so much to offer. I want to move to Cleveland permanently after the convention. 

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