Sunday, June 14, 2015

Five Lessons Learned.

This year's Downtown 100 annual meeting meant a little more than previous years'. For starters, this kicks off my last year of Vice Chair and leaves me with just 12 months before I tackle the role of Downtown 100 Chair. A pretty big, and exciting venture that I am particularly looking forward to.

The group of about 55 attendees got a look at the new Governor's School for the Arts (one of the many perks of being a DT100 member is checking out new and innovative spaces around town for free!). On a delicious note, Toast and Handsome Biscuit catered the event, so I finally got to sample a few of the crazy carb concoctions from the lastest John Porter and Dave Hausmann.

Brie and Apple Toasts

Our organization has been trying to get Drew Ungvarsky, the owner of Grow Interactive and Downtown Norfolk Superstar, to speak at our annual meeting for a few years. As luck would it have it, he was the slated for our event just days after our successful pop up shop in Drew's 433 Granby Street space. Even better yet, #teamGlassGardens was there to support me and enjoy the evening.

Drew expressed five vital points he's learned throughout his many years of challenging the norm of Downtown Norfolk and consistently making a difference.

1. Nothing happens without a champion.

2. Contribute whatever you can.

3. You won't know how to do it until you do it.

4. Seek out effective partners.

5. Have clear, smart, prioritized requests.

I sat there thinking about all the projects I've lead, participated in, heard about or given advice for in the last three years. Better Block. Pop Up Shops. Town Fair. The Parklet Project. DT100 Volunteer Days. Work | Release. Casino Night. Gift Guides. City Maps. The list goes on and changes names and objectives, but what doesn't change is how all of Drew's points were addressed at each project. The one that sticks with me the most is #3. There were so many times when I thought to myself, I have absolutely NO idea where to start and how to get this done.

But, I now know how to get event insurance in less than 24 hours. I know exactly how wide a parklet needs to be. I know I can rally 20 volunteers to paint, plant or just sweep some floors. I also know how to fold maps and gift guides like a pro. I can obtain a permit from the city to hold an open-air market. I can read a lease and kind of know what it's talking about. With each "we should do this" comment that I agree to, then regret, then love, I learn just a little bit more about myself, my friends, our abilities to accomplish great things, and ultimately make this city a better place.

I want to take just one more minute of your time to share an awesome blog post by a friend and awesome girl I've just recently met. Yet, just another feel-good example of this wonderful place I get to call home and what a few small acts can do.

#46: Attend a Speaker  //  #38: Toast  //  #71: Governor's School

I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Click here to see my 92 To-Do's for this Summer - and to see the brave souls tackling their own lists!