Hometown: Greensboro, NC
How long have you lived in Wilson: 3 years
Why are you in Wilson? What keeps you here?
I moved to Wilson from Charlotte to take the Associate Director position with Wilson Forward. I was intrigued by the work that was happening within the organization as well as the collaboration and innovation that I saw happening throughout Wilson. It seemed, and has proved to be, a community that if I could have the opportunity to invest myself if I chose to. I had loved my years in Charlotte and my time living/working in DC before that, but I had enjoyed them as a resident of those communities rather than a fully engaged citizen. Wilson offered opportunities to get involved in ways that mattered and have potential impact fin the future of this community.
What does being a young professional mean to you?
I heard recently the belief that the term “young professionals” was coined simply for lack of a better alternative, and I appreciated the thought. I think that for those who consider themself “outside” of this definition (say they are a bit older), that it is a term that is used for a hope of engagement, specifically the engagement of what they deem to be the next “generation” coming into the community as active adults. I think though, as someone who considers myself in this category, that it is less where a person currently is in life and what job they want to pursue than it is their drive and investment in their own future, and consequently the future of their community as a whole. Though I think there are many different “groups” of our community that hold this feeling of investment in a collective future, I think that being a young professional means seeking, embracing and driving constructive change, and doing so in a way that benefits the greater community.
What about this community excites you?
To thrive, Wilson needs to be able to continually adapt and I believe that it has continually shown its capacity over the years to do so. This adaptive work contributes to an agile and equitable community in which young talent and leadership can come for collaborative, creative ,and accessible environments of opportunity. Wilson should not be where people end up, but where young talent strives to be.
What about this community concerns you the most?
There is often a dominant narrative here that young people are leaving Wilson/are uninterested in being here or staying here. I think there could be power in the knowledge that that is not a hard fact for many (example those in our group) there are many factors that contribute to this being a community that young people seem to be attracted to and look to further capitalize on and leverage those things. However if those things are not capitalized on, leveraged, or grown the assets that Wilson has and has invested in will not contribute towards a thriving future (which is a healthy community in which young talent can live, thrive and invest in its future). Wilson has a unique set of assets that few small/mid size that places it in an incredibly exciting position but those assets must be allowed to continue to grow and be invested in to ensure everyone in Wilson has access to them.
How would you like to be involved in creating the future of Wilson?
There is so much work to be done here, as there is in many places, but when you consider it your “place”, there is a responsibility to act on that work. I think at the end of the day that is what Young Professionals offer a community, a fresh group of people, with the energy to do, claiming their place and having a responsibility to it. I want to be able to invest my passion and excitement for this community into organizations that are supporting the systems that move our community forward. Ones that work to support critical things like our education system (from early education to our higher ed systems), downtown development, and entrepreneurship/small business opportunities.