Photo by Ryan M.L. Young
Occupation: senior visitor experience manager for Experience Columbus
Education: bachelor’s degree in marketing and master’s in marketing communication, both from Franklin University
Neighborhood: northwest Columbus
Q: What do you like about living in Columbus?
A: The fact that it’s diverse—I mean by that the diverse population, the diversity of industries here … which makes our economy very strong, thankfully. The diversity of thoughts and ideas and perspectives when it comes to sharing those with the leaders and folks at the table. [I like] the culture, the number of activities that are offered on a daily basis.
Living here’s very easy. We’re very fortunate to not have much of a commute time. … We also have a really good cost of living, I feel. You can afford to have the things you want, whether you rent or buy a home, you can still take vacations. … You don’t have to sacrifice too much here.
Everything’s becoming more walkable, the focus is on making districts appealing to that demographic Downtown and other areas, not just the Downtown core. But I love the fact that there’s a focus on having amenities that not only young professionals enjoy, but that empty nesters enjoy.
Q: Where would you like to see the city grow in attracting and retaining young professionals and visitors, too?
A: We struggle with public transportation. I didn’t have my driver’s license until I was 21, and I only got it out of necessity. I relied on COTA for my entire 21 years of my life, as well as my family. My mom still rides COTA to this day. I still have faith in COTA and understand that there’s challenges with that … but I feel like we need more public transportation options.
When visitors come here and we’re touting to be the 15th-largest city but we don’t have more transportation options, it’s unfortunate. Through the visitor input that we’re collecting, with that data hopefully we can come together with the leaders and effect change to address that.
Q: To what degree are your efforts at Experience Columbus designed to draw YPs?
A: At the [Columbus] Chamber, I was the clearinghouse to anything related to that demographic in the Columbus region. … Indirectly, I feel like what I’m now responsible for does enhance that quality of life experience, does help enhance our brand image and will help get us where we would like to be by the year 2017, and that is being considered one of the top destinations in our competitive set.