It’s been 16 years, and Lansing’s home. Each and every day I can honestly say I make a real, honest to God difference.
I came here for a job right out of grad school from out of state. Early on, I spent all my time thinking about how to move to Chicago or Indy. Back then, Lansing did not have much to offer. Things are different now- there are always festivals, events, not to mention local shops, restaurants and bars. Old Town and upcoming REO Town rock. Old Town has a special place in my heart. I was hanging out there tonight. I bought some great earrings at a local shop, and enjoyed a glass of wine and some fresh oysters down the street. I ran into a friend in the shop, and chatted with another at the bar over wine.
For everyone what connects you to a place is different. For me, it was joining Grand River Connection. We had our monthly happy hour and special events like the annual bus trip to a Tigers game. I was able to meet a lot of great people. One of the greatest things about GRC was I ended up meeting my best friend. We hung out this week, and planned her birthday ‘get away.’ GRC was what connected me to Lansing, and it’s held strong.
A little effort goes a long way in this town, and I’ve made a big impact. Volunteer-wise, I’ve done a little bit of everything, and my friends in bigger cities didn’t have the same experience. I’m a founding member of ITEC’s 2020 Girls Giving Circle to help to expose young girls to math and science. I’ve chaired several committees for the Sparrow Hospital Foundation to raise awareness for women’s health issues. And I am maybe most proud of my volunteer work with the Lansing Chamber. I was elected Chair of the Economic Club- only in a place like Lansing could a young woman in her early thirties ever hold such a prestigious position.
I came to Lansing for my first job, and I’ve grown-up professionally here. I’m amazed at the opportunities this area gives hard-working, talented people. You are quickly known, quickly remembered, and often considered for opportunities if you make the effort. These days I have what many call “a dream job” running the Dart Foundation. I serve those I truly respect while improving Greater Lansing and other communities across the country and around the world. Lansing’s been great to me!
Whether you are 21 and just now taking on this fancy title of “young professional” or 82 and remember what it was like to be a young pro, you certainly remember the need and desire to make new friends with similar interests and lifestyles. I grew up in the Lansing region, but following graduation from Michigan State University in 2015, I was immersed in the Lansing community that looked and felt so different than when I was a Spartan and certainly from my years growing up in Charlotte. I was now a young professional.
I lived in Downtown Lansing – there were cool bars and restaurants, eclectic shops and artistic ambiance along the streets in Old Town, fun and funky events in REO Town – but this was all new to me.
Where were all the young professionals like myself that I was anxious to meet? Who was going to be my new best friend? Where were the creative, welcoming and aspirational young people that I needed to meet to make #LoveLansing the home for me?
These were the questions I tossed and turned with each night, trying to identify a way to meet others. I was grateful to have been referred to Grand River Connection where I was able to meet other young people… but I was looking for an additional outlet to meet other artistic individuals, like myself, who had a shared passion for stimulating creative conversations, networking and new friendships!
I grew up attending musical productions at Wharton Center, so my interest was piqued when I was invited to attend a NextGen@Wharton event. A young professionals group that attends a series of shows within the Wharton Center annual season… and wait, they have pre-show parties with fancy appetizers and wine? AND there are other creative folks like myself there? SIGN ME UP!
NextGen@Wharton is an opportunity for young people to become engaged with Wharton Center in a unique way. Attend the VIP events, get a behind-the-scenes look at shows, meet the artists and enjoy one-of-a-kind social opportunities (that’s the fancy appetizers and wine I was talking about). It became the perfect opportunity for me to confirm #LoveLansing was the home for me.
The next show in the NextGen@Wharton series is Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the world’s most popular modern dance company. NextGen@Wharton has this remarkable ability of introducing young pros to shows they may not typically purchase a ticket for. This year's series included Wicked, Cabaret, Alvin Ailey and Fun Home. I’m a huge fan of musicals, but with so many activities in Lansing, I may not always purchase a ticket to see a dance company, comedian, or orchestra. But with this group, you're exposed to productions just outside of your comfort zone with something new and always something amazing!
I’ll be there this coming Tuesday, April 18, 2017 for Alvin Ailey! Come to the event, introduce yourself to me, make a new friend, I’d love to meet you.
Just over six years ago when I was relatively new to the Lansing area, a buddy of mine asked if I’d be up for helping plan the inaugural Capital City Film Festival (CCFF). I gladly agreed, because it sounded pretty unique to be part of something’s founding. Fast forward six years and here I am, still helping. Along the way, I’ve had such a blast: Aside from the obvious (incredible films and music), I’ve made some of my best friends and been challenged professionally and personally in the most wonderful ways.
I get asked a lot of questions about CCFF. So here, I’ve put together a list of common ones and provided answers.
The seventh annual Capital City Film Festival takes place April 5-9, 2017 throughout Lansing, Michigan.
Q: What’s new this year at the Capital City Film Festival?
A: Aside from all 75 films, 15+ bands, and handful of new venues? Not much…
Q: What are noteworthy features, documentaries, and shorts in the 2017 lineup?
Q: What are some events that young professionals in particular would enjoy at CCFF?
Q: What’s going on music-wise at CCFF?
Full schedule, details, trailers, and more at CapitalCityFilmFest.com. Film screenings are $5 (or free), concerts are $5-$20, and the CCFF all-access pass (best deal) is just 50 bucks.
The 5:01 is looking for guest bloggers to share their experiences on the benefits of living, working and playing in the greater Lansing area.