When my husband got offered his first job here in Rochester, we’d never heard of this city before. So, we did what anyone does these days, and we Googled it. Rochester boasted some of the best universities in the country, renowned as leaders in innovation. Yet crime rate and unemployment were high.
In 2016, I didn’t arrive here as an entrepreneur. I arrived as the wife of an American student who had no alternative but to accept the job he was offered. But despite our online findings, Rochester surprised us both.
Everywhere we went, we met talented artists. Not just the ones at holiday markets or in galleries, but ones with big ideas in everyday jobs. Visionaries lost in the cycle of everyday living. I felt honored to be included in their circles, yet saddened by their dampened potential. So, I dug deeper.
I found nuggets of communities, liberalists, artists and activists. Thousands of people connected not only in niche groups by their shared interests and values but also to each other by a greater sense of community.
I wanted to be a part of that. But how? Networking in large groups has always unnerved me. But I took the leap anyway and showed up to one of their events. Turns out that’s all I had to do. These guys made it effortless. Their acceptance, inclusivity, and propensity to share made networking a breeze.
Yes, the “real” Rochester starts with online statistics, but it’s the people that make up the pulse of the city. Wikipedia failed to capture that. I was lucky to find it!
This city has taught me that where there is passion, support and a sense of purpose, there is infinite possibility. To give is to get. I was not an entrepreneur before I moved here, but the city’s energy propels me forward. It’s an electricity easily found amongst its people.
So, find it. Tap into it. Embrace your passion, find your purpose, connect with the community and let your city guide you to success. I never thought I had what it took to be an entrepreneur. Rochester proved me wrong.
Cat Hood is community director and founder of The Attic @ House Twelve, a content production community dedicated to digital media creatives.