Having been a Greater Gainesville native since 1990, I have been fortunate to be a part of such a great community that provides so much value to me and my family in a variety of different ways. This region has a big town, small city feel with values in nature and preservation, education, athletics and culture. Quite simply, this is home for me. I feel privileged to highlight what this area has to offer in my first publication as the CO-CEO and Editor-in-chief.
Our communities keep growing and adapting to new concepts that are convenient and environmentally-friendly including the most popular Live-Work-Play located in Tioga, Haile Plantation, San Felasco Tech City, Celebration Pointe and Butler Plaza. I am really excited to see how the San Felasco Tech City project grows as their developers like to push the envelope and think outside the box like me.
Continuing education during COVID-19 has had its challenges, but we adapted and learned what we can do when we are pushed. I was extremely impressed with how Oak Hall School managed the transition to online schooling with such short notice and also how public schools are giving parents options that fit their needs and beliefs for the upcoming school year. Whatever our residents decide, it is important that we respect each family’s decision, for our children and for the unity of our community.
Greater Gainesville is known for its amazing scope in health care. Personally, I have worked at North Florida Regional Medical Center as the Assistant Director and Executive Chef for ten years and have been immersed in what a great health care facility looks like. That hospital has a special place in my heart, and I will never forget the people that made it so great. UF Health Shands is the largest hospital in town focusing on scientific research, its many specialty practices and its pediatric hospital that has people from all over the world bringing their families here to seek treatment.
It will be interesting to see how companies move forward or reinvent themselves after we see the final wave of this pandemic. The Greater Gainesville region provides many resources to startup companies for those willing to take a stab at entrepreneurship. Whatever level of business you are in, you can’t ignore what our country is going through when it comes to diversity and inclusion. This term is not limited to the color of your skin, but includes gender, race, culture, age, sexual orientation and ethnicity. When I found out the significant disparity in the numbers of women entrepreneurs and innovators, it encouraged me to connect with UF Innovate and their Collaborate for Women Innovators Program to participate.
The culture of our region is one of a kind with its natural springs, nature parks, sports, arts, local breweries, farmers markets and boutique shops. These experiences allow us to build connections and relationships. I am always greeted with a smile and feel amazing when I shop at Down to Earth in Tioga. I feel like I am on the set of Cheers when bartenders, servers and owners recognize us as regulars when we dine at Dragonfly. There is nothing like the insane energy you feel when at The Swamp cheering on our Gator football team with 90,000 other fans. All these experiences make you feel like you are a part of something great. Something special.
It is through this vehicle that I get to connect with all of you and look forward to seeing you out and about in this great place we call home. I AM Greater Gainesville!