Editor’s note: In keeping with the Canton
Chamber’s Young Professionals initiative – to
attract and retain talented young people for
Stark County – ACTION will feature a month-
ly profile of an individual who represents the
group (ages 20-40) that the initiative is tar-
Kirsten H. Conley
Place of work:
Brand Manager at
The M. Conley
Why are you interested Canton’s Young
I’m interested in what innovative,young
minds can accomplish when they work
What is your involvement in ystark!,
explain what you do.
I’m a member and attend as many events
as possible. I think the leaders of the
ystark! movement have been tasked with a
very important job; one that’s integral to
the growth of this city.They are doing an
Where did you grow up?
I’m a hybrid of two states: Virginia and
Ohio. I was born in Washington, D.C.and
spent most of my childhood years living
just outside the beltway in Northern
Virginia.The remainder of my earlier years
were spent living in Northeast Ohio.
In what cities have you lived and
I have lived and worked in Washington,
D.C., Northern Virginia,Windsor, Conn., Fort
Lauderdale, Fla., Canton and Cleveland,
Ohio and Chicago, Ill.
Why have you chosen to live in Canton?
I’ve spent much of my life in transient,
densely populated areas.When I met my
husband,a lifelong Canton resident, our
backgrounds were in stark contrast.Due in
large part to his efforts to persuade me to
live here with him, I grew to appreciate the
close-knit, community-oriented lifestyle of
Canton.There is a sense of accountability
and concern for fellow residents here that
I’ve never experienced anywhere else.
Living here gives me a sense of connection
to,and responsibility for, the people I share
this city with.
What type of dwelling do you live in?
What do you think of the housing choic-
es for YPs in the Canton area?
My husband and I just bought our first
home this past summer.We love our
neighborhood and the community around
us. It’s a pleasure to finally live somewhere
where I actually know my neighbors’
What do you like MOST about Canton?
I most enjoy the fact that Canton is
small enough that you feel connected
to the people around you. I’m also
learning that it is quite a forward-thinking
community.I’ve also heard that Canton is a
great place to raise a family.
What do you like LEAST about Canton?
Having lived in larger cities, I do miss the
incredible, almost innumerable assortment
of new things to do and see – arts, enter-
tainment, culture, culinary experiences.
So, having a design background,it has
been very encouraging for me to see the
advancement of the arts here in Canton.
I recently had the opportunity to serve
on the subcommittee for September’s
inaugural“green” First Friday. I was floored
by the number of diverse people who
attended, demonstrating Canton’s interest
for the environment and the arts.
What do you think Canton needs to
attract other young professionals like
Encouraging YP minds to be involved in
the advancement of our community will
not only encourage a sense of pride and
ownership, but also dissuades the attitude
that Canton is a stagnant place to live. I
think that many young professionals are
attracted to service and volunteerism in
their communities, and those YPs, I believe,
are one of the keys to the city’s future
What would you change about
Canton if you could?
I would like to see people have more pride
and appreciation for the city they live in. I
think this city sometimes suffers from a
case of low self-esteem.With many of our
industries and jobs recently being dis-
placed,we are experiencing a period of
unprecedented transition. I believe we
need to continue to think progressively
and remind ourselves that the pendulum
always swings both ways, it will only be a
matter of time before we find our place
again in the global economy.
Could you see yourself spending your
lifetime in Canton?
I could see that being a very real
possibility.There are definite perks to
living in Canton; my husband’s family
lives here,I’m beginning to meet some
very interesting people and I’m making
new friends.There are so many communi-
ty-minded organizations to be involved in,
and Canton is going through an exciting
period of change. My whole family is
spread out from coast to coast, so I always
have someplace different to visit when I
get a little restless and feel like I need a
change of scenery!
What other cities in the United States
would be appealing to you as a home
I love Chicago and could see myself
happily living there again. It’s a
cosmopolitan city with all of the benefits
that its size and cultural diversity supports,
but without the impersonal, unwelcoming
nature of most cities that scale.I’ve also
always been charmed by the Southeast,
specifically the southern coastal Carolinas
and Savannah,Georgia area.
15C a n t o n R e g i o n a l C h a m b e r o f C o m m e r c e
Young Professional Profile
Kirsten H. Conley