By: Savannah Cuevas
When I started applying to colleges several years ago, I was willing to consider two geographical regions: the west coast and the east coast. Anywhere in between? No, thank you.
Alright, I’ll come clean… I used to be one of ‘those’ people – a Californian whose perception of Omaha was based on the old cows-and-cornfields caricature.
So, when my guidance counselor suggested Creighton University as a perfect fit for me, I waved her off – at first. But the more I spoke with her and the more I looked into it, the more this Riverside native thawed to the idea.
On my first tour, I fell in love with the school instantly – and as I explored and learned more about Omaha, I quickly fell in love with it too.
It took me a little while to realize that it wasn’t some kind of act –
people here are genuinely kind.
Flash forward four+ years – I have my diploma from Creighton and a degree in business administration with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. That genuine kindness I’ve come to know is one of the factors that convinced me to stay and continue growing my roots here. I’m also a huge fan of the international assembly of eating options – from Ethiopian to Persian to authentic Mexican; the cool hangout spots like The Crescent Moon; and the great outdoor places where I can actually be adventurous: Fontenelle Forest, Schramm Park State Recreation Area… and of course, there’s that tremendous new job of mine.
Back in March, I began working for the Greater Omaha Chamber as the project management coordinator for the REACH Initiative. The Chamber launched REACH last year to help small and emerging construction businesses succeed – whether by helping them forge connections, securing financing or through education. My position is brand new so we’re still defining and refining it, but a few of my key responsibilities include organizational support and coordinating educational events that fill the needs of our small and emerging businesses. We’ve done programs on financial literacy and insurance – and we have a module on marketing coming up on April 19. I love the fact that I come to work every day in service to others. It’s natural for us to ask, “Am I doing enough?” “Am I contributing enough?” I get to help our business owners meet their dreams – and that is a beautiful thing.
When I was in my senior year at Creighton, the thought that I might be leaving Omaha actually made my parents sad. They fell in love with the city, too. (My Dad says if he’d have learned more about Omaha 10 years ago – he would have moved the family here.) I’m now trying to recruit my sister and her husband to relocate. There are jobs here, I tell them – and a cost of living that’s already allowed me to pay off some of my student loans. Plus, I’m not spending the prime of my young professional years stuck in endless bumper-to-bumper traffic.
I am a California native, but this is where I want to be.
One of the things that resonated with me – and ultimately drew me to the Chamber and my new job – is our community’s We Don’t Coast message. Hearing that immediately made so much sense to me. I get it – and that’s why I’m here. I’m basically that slogan. I’m ready to work hard and embrace our “We Don’t Coast” attitude. While I am loving my new job and the people I work with, I hope to be a small and emerging business owner myself someday. I know I’m in a city that will support me. I know this is my place to grow.