Today’s guest blogger is Jessica Poor.
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I’ve been a Birmingham resident for a little over four years.
I did not grow up in the Birmingham area and I’d really never visited the city until I decided it was going to be home a few years ago.
Like most recent college graduates at the time, I thought Birmingham would be a nice two-year stop on my way to the next big thing.
A little over four years later I’m still here, and I’m looking for every opportunity to stay.
I’ve lived in a lot of great cities
As a kid, my parents’ jobs moved us pretty frequently, and we were fortunate enough to live in some pretty great locations – Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Colorado and even Dubai for a short time. I’ve spent time in all the major southern cities and I still choose Birmingham.
Birmingham doesn’t have any “one thing” that makes it great
My husband and I like to call Birmingham, AL the Triathlete of the South. As you know, Triathlon races are a combination of three events — swimming, biking, and running. To win a triathlon, you have to time well in all three events.
If Usain Bolt competed in a triathlon, he would out run all of the other competitors during the sprint portion of the race, but he would fall behind once he hopped on a bike or started swimming.
The analogy extends to many southern cities. Our neighbor Nashville has a phenomenal music and food scene, but the cost of living is unsustainable.
The same is true for the Atlanta area. They define hospitality in the south with limitless career and social opportunities, yet they are experiencing infrastructure issues that would make Highway 280 cringe.
Like the triathlete, it’s really good at a multitude of things. This is where Birmingham succeeds. We aren’t the epicenter of the country music scene and we aren’t the pro sports hub of the south, but we have an outstanding food scene, sustainable economic growth across a diverse industry base and a relatively low cost of living.
On top of that, you can get to just about anywhere in the city in under 30 minutes.
Positive experience as a “millennial” in Birmingham’s workforce
I think the generosity of Birmingham professionals has a lot to do with that. In my time here, I have been met with an abundance of men and women who have eagerly stepped in as mentors and confidants, most of which work for other companies than my own in a wide group of industries.
Additionally, there are accessible resources for young professionals to get plugged in that provide professional growth and the opportunity to give back – Rotaract being my personal choice.
Aside from career opportunities and stable living, Birmingham is in a very interesting stage right now, one where change is happening, and we all have the opportunity to play a part.
Over the last year, the city of Birmingham has elected a new mayor who has taken a stand to make positive changes for the people of Birmingham structurally, politically and economically. We have a thriving start up community and a metro area that is experiencing rapid revitalization.
While many of us will never join a start-up or take up a role in political office, we can actively participate in Birmingham’s growth. Whether that’s visiting the new restaurant opening on 1st Avenue or stepping in to mentor a younger version of ourselves.
I truly believe Birmingham is on its ways to becoming a destination and not just a pass through city, but we’ve all got to take up our part to make that happen.
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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).
Invite David to speak for free to your group about how we can have a more prosperous metro Birmingham. firstname.lastname@example.org.