Editor’s note: In keeping with the Canton
Chamber’s Young Professionals initiative – to
attract and retain talented young ...
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Young Professional Profile

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Selected by the Canton Chamber of Commerce to be their highlighted Young Professional for the month of October, 2008.

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Young Professional Profile

  1. 1. 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- geting. Name: Kirsten H. Conley Age: 31 Occupation/Title/ Place of work: Brand Manager at The M. Conley Company Why are you interested Canton’s Young Professionals initiative? I’m interested in what innovative,young minds can accomplish when they work together. 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 amazing job! 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 worked? 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’ names! 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 yourself? 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 growth. 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 base? Why? 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

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