ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.
Today’s guest blogger is Nadav Raviv. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.
Over the past few years, I have gone through a period of awakening.
I have been on many adventures and taken many different paths, and funny enough, I ended up right back where I began, but only in the physical sense.
My name is Nadav and I am a child of a wonderful family in Mountain Brook.
My mom taught at the Mtn. Brook High School for many, many years before becoming the Director of the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School. My father, an Israeli native, owned a business in Irondale, still a family company, run by my brother. My sister is the only one who doesn’t still reside here; she got married to a die-hard Chicagoan, but that’s a whole other story.
My educational path took me from the Jewish Day School, through Indian Springs, a year at UAB, 3 years at Alabama, and finally finishing back where I began, at UAB. My career path began all the way across the country to Sacramento, where I lived, miserably, for 9 months. The entire time I was there really was the catalyst of the journey detailed in this article.
So, after college, I spent many years bartending, managing nightclubs, and working in the service industry. I didn’t have a path, but I had some goals.
A few years back, a friend approached me with an opportunity to move to Sacramento to manage a marketing firm for him. It wasn’t what I expected, but I learned a lot about myself while out there. Every aspect of my life has led me to where I am today, and for that I am thankful, but Sacramento is not the greatest city in America, by far.
While there, I kept tabs on Birmingham through Facebook. One event in particular comes to mind–June of 2011, the ASO’s Symphony in the Park. As I saw my feed become inundated with pictures of people enjoying the beautiful park, the perfect weather, the magic that is Birmingham, I knew I was not where I needed to be.
I needed to be back in Birmingham, I felt that a part of me was totally missing. Yeah, it brought tears to my eyes. From the outside looking in, I knew!!! The transformation was happening; the City was coming of age.
I came back to Birmingham and began the job hunt. I was more than fortunate to be offered and accepted a job with City Paper Company (where I soon found out my great, great grandfather had worked there in the early 1900’s), which by the way, will be celebrating 120 years of business in Birmingham this year.
My entire world changed. This job offered me the opportunity to work with organizations, nonprofits, and businesses I have a passion for. It also allows me to travel to “sister” cities of Birmingham, like Charlotte, where I work with some NASCAR affiliates (yes, one of my passions’). I work in Orlando with NASA, the NASCAR Foundation, and a few other companies on the Space Coast. Locally, I work with numerous companies, both big and small.
Through City Paper, I became good friends with the president of our company’s wife, Cathy Friedman. Through Cathy I was offered a board position with YouthServe. I immersed myself in the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, my grandmother being the president at the time. I began working with local entrepreneurs and attending networking and marketing events. I even started a roundtable of like-minded young professionals to discuss the future of our city.
Recently, I accepted a board position with the Magic City Art Connection’s– Corks and Chefs. Two years ago, I was one of the finalists for the BBJ’s Young Professional of the Year Award. I am also on the board for the Maccabi games which will bring hundreds of Jewish teens to Birmingham to compete in Olympic style sports.
After hearing about David Sher and his passion for the city, I asked him to lunch. My first question to him, “David, what board do I need to be on, what committee, what do I need to do?” Unbeknownst to me, it was a lot more than just that. After speaking to him for an hour, I knew that being involved was a daunting task, but I don’t think it’s as far-fetched as most people want it to seem.
Up until last month, I was a resident of the 5th District. I loved living downtown. From the restaurants I frequented to running through the empty streets on a cool summer evening, I loved every aspect.
I recently purchased my first home in Gardendale, but I still live and work downtown; my heart is still down here too. I will still keep my membership at Highland Golf Course, and enjoy the local cuisines I have become so accustomed too.
In the past few months, I have been invited to numerous food truck rallies, among a plethora of other events, seen the Baron’s 2017 schedule, witnessed the Civil Rights Park become a national monument.
I have seen Top Golf (my new office) being built, eaten at numerous new restaurants; listened to new candidates speak on their platforms for political positions.
I have witnessed the remodel of multiple dilapidated buildings, observed a tax reform for those renovations pass, and worked with people within the Innovation Depot, one of the world’s largest incubators for small business.
We are on a course. To take a few terminologies out of one of my passions, we need to take a pound out of the left rear, and make a few wedge adjustments but we don’t need to take our foot off the pedal.
Birmingham is my home, through victories, blunders, and hiccups; we will prevail as a City.
I have surrounded myself with the leaders of tomorrow and I don’t mean the next generation tomorrow. I do what I can to help educate and unify the people of Birmingham and Birmingham Metro.
I will continue to listen to the feedback of others and connect the right people to answer any questions or criticisms that arise.
I feel the future of our City is closer than some think. This City has made an amazing transformation; it has really proven its Magic.
This is Birmingham; this is my home!!!
Nadav Raviv is a native of Mountain Brook, attended Indian Springs High School, and a UAB graduate. He currently is an account executive with City Paper Company and a son of the Magic City.
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David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).
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