Note: The following is a guest post submitted by Jordan Walker, Digital Director for Greteman Group, located in the District. Jordan is also a volunteer for the DDD’s Promotions Committee.
About seven years ago I was working at Cox Communications, just beyond the current boundaries of the Douglas Design District. On my way to work, I would zoom past Douglas, avoiding it at all costs. Mostly due to the kamikaze students dodging the cars in front of East high but also because there really wasn’t a lot going on. I would eat lunch at the office. I went home most nights after work. It was purely an area for me to be in.
Then, in 2013 Reverie Coffee Roasters opened its doors. As a complete coffee snob who likes her iced coffee *just* right, I finally had a café within reach. I started heading to work a little early just to grab a morning pick-me-up. I would grab my laptop and sit in the café to absorb some quiet thinking time. I remember thinking, “This is the start to something really cool in Wichita.”
Fast forward to 2015 where I made what I believe to be the best career move and landed a position at Greteman Group, perfectly situated in the heart of the Douglas Design District. Right as I felt like my career was starting to heat up, so did the neighborhood around me. Our not-so-little corridor of creativity has blossomed in the last few years and has become one of the best places for a young professional to work.
Nothing to Do Here – Not.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that my life revolves around this district. Although I don’t live in the district, between work and my leisure time, I can be found hanging out, dining, shopping and biking in the DDD.
I’m no longer tied to the office for lunch, I look forward to inviting colleagues for a bite to a few of my favorite spots like Tanya’s Soup Kitchen or the Hill. For dinner, we might grab a bite at the Anchor or the Wine Dive.
When I need a break from my three computer screens, I have the luxury that Hyde Park is a one-minute walk away. In fact, having the park so close to our office has been one of the best perks for our agency. It’s the perfect spot for us to picnic, walk our office dogs and take our twice-weekly YMCA workouts when the weather is nice.
Just beyond Hyde Park is another favorite spot – Central Standard Brewing. More often than I’d like to admit, I can be found there after work trying a new beer and catching up with friends. And let’s be honest, after trying that new beer, we might walk over to Hopping Gnome and get another beer. Why? Because we can! We have so many options within walking distance.
Did you know that the Douglas Design District in all its coolness is primarily run by an all-volunteer network, many of which are also business owners? I sure didn’t when I first began working here, but it’s that volunteer network that has opened my eyes to many opportunities to get engaged in this community.
After my first year of joining Greteman Group, I was recruited to join the DDD promotions committee and never looked back. Together we’ve created events, podcasts, Small Business Saturday promotions and launched initiatives to support our collective goal of creating a thriving community that supports small business and the neighborhood that surrounds it. This is a group of change agents that inspire one another on a daily basis to achieve greater. And as a young professional who wants to see Wichita move forward, I can’t ask for a better group to challenge me to get more involved in community conversations. To ask better questions. To dream big. To want less talk and more action.
I Found My Why
You’ve probably heard this question quite a bit – what’s your why? When you dig deep down inside, what is it that truly motivates you? For me, my why has always been that in anything that I do, I want to feel like I’m leaving a lasting impression and working in the Douglas Design District has given me that opportunity. I know, so millennial of me, right?
Knowing that any volunteer effort that is poured into our district will help businesses, residents and the culture of Wichita is such a gratifying feeling. But more importantly in the not too distant future when we’re hopping the Q-Line down Douglas and the sidewalks are packed with life, we’ll remember the start to something really cool in Wichita started right here in the DDD.