Catalyst Interview Series: Allie VanLandingham
Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI): How did you get involved with KCCI?
Allie VanLandingham (AV): I first read about it on my Facebook newsfeed. Because I was unfamiliar with the group I decided to visit the website to learn more. I recognized many of the Community Catalysts, so I followed the page and when applications came out for the second Community Catalyst class I knew I wanted to be involved.
KCCI: What is the main mission behind Talent Lives Here?
AV: We set out to connect students with businesses by expanding internship opportunities for area businesses and college students. We also wanted to engage young talent and enlighten students and recent graduates about the many personal and professional opportunities in and around Tallahassee.
To do this, we created the TLH Tool-Kit – an online resource for businesses and interns to help them seek, hire and retain talent.
KCCI: Why do you believe that it is important for students to have internship experience during college?
AV: Internships are a wonderful first-look at the real world and can help students determine if they’re on the right career path. While internships are great for work experience, they also provide students with opportunities to become involved with local business leaders, networking groups and community activities that could eventually lead to a dream job in Tallahassee. Also, research shows that students who intern in Tallahassee are significantly more likely to stay in the area following graduation. Working to retain young talent is something that was important to our team, and internships seem to be one way of doing that.
KCCI: What did you learn through the course of this project?
AV: I learned that Tallahassee is lucky to have a program like KCCI that brings together talented individuals actively involved in making our city better.
KCCI: Why should students consider starting their careers in Tallahassee post graduation?
AV: A better question would be why not? Tallahassee has so much to offer; there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in being outdoors, supporting the arts, the food scene or just looking for a great area to raise a family, there are a lot of great things happening here.
KCCI: What are some of your favorite spots in Tallahassee?
AV: The Market District for food and shopping, Park Avenue for its old oak trees, Doak Campbell Stadium to cheer on my ‘Noles, Bruegger’s Bagels for my morning coffee, Voodoo Dog for “The Jefferson”, Proof Brewing Company at Railroad Square for a “Mango Wit”, Big Easy Snowballs at Lake Ella and Downtown for Downtown Getdowns.
KCCI: Who should consider becoming a KCCI Community Catalyst?
AV: Anyone interested in a fascinating community involvement opportunity. You’ll spend hours working with your class to help make your project a success, but remember to appreciate the extraordinary journey you’ll take in reaching your end goal. The journey truly is the best part.