Catalyst Interview Series: Maggie Theriot
Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI): How did you hear about KCCI?
Maggie Theriot (MT): KCCI is a staple in our community. I have followed KCCI’s efforts since the early days of the first catalyst group, specifically Greenovation (aka Sustainable Tallahassee). At first my interest was merely personal, and now professional as I have the pleasure of working hand-in-hand with Sustainable TLH on a routine basis as we work towards a more sustainable future.
KCCI: What made you decide to apply to be a KCCI Catalyst?
MT: Working in the public sector, with Leon County Government, I place great value in remaining connected and in tune with the community. Joining KCCI was an effective tool to give me the opportunity.
KCCI: What were some of the main goals of Spark TLH?
MT: Our main goal was to provide a bridge from campus life to community life for college students. Students often only see Tallahassee from the lens of areas immediately surrounding campus. Our catalyst group felt that providing an insider’s perspective of what makes Tallahassee unique would not only add to their enjoyment of our community while in school, but also provide outlets to connect and form lasting bonds with Tallahassee. The primary vehicle for our project was “love notes,” which were brief blog posts highlighting people’s favorite element of our community. These posts were derived from people with a diverse view of our community. Lovers of shopping, culture, art, food and the environment were all engaged to submit their love notes.
KCCI: How did you get the community involved with these goals?
MT: We had various meetings with potential stakeholders (COCA, Tallahassee Downtown, TCC, FAMU, FSU, student groups etc.) sharing our vision and collaboratively refining our goals and approach. The next stage involved working with individuals to learn what Sparked their love for Tallahassee, and encouraging them to write “love notes” to be posted on SparkTLH.
KCCI: Why should young professionals consider starting their careers in Tallahassee?
MT: Tallahassee is just the right size. It is large enough to offer many big city amenities, such as our fabulous amphitheater and greenways, and yet small enough that networks can quickly be established and you canallowing anyone to make a name for yourself , leaving a lasting imprint in our community.
KCCI: In your opinion, what makes Tallahassee such a special place to live?
MT: Our community is extremely engaged. Our citizens are constantly making things happen in the city. Tallahassee is successful because institutions such as local government, schools and universities and our active business and non-profit sectors are open and supportive of working to create sustainable change. When you combine passion with resources the results are simply astounding.
KCCI: What are some of your favorite places in the city?
MT: I love the hidden gems such as our growing trail system, specifically the area Greenways. (See http://www.trailahassee.com to find some great trails)
KCCI: What is the most important thing you learned from your time with KCCI?
MT: That even the best ideas can be made better when inclusive collaboration occurs. Effective change does not happen in a vacuum.
KCCI: Who should apply to be a KCCI Catalyst and why?
MT: Anyone who is excited to make a lasting impact on our community and that has a key skill to help make that happen. There is no room for ego or turf wars, come ready to reflect and refine even the best idea.