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CAITLIN Christiana


Company: Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce
Title: Executive Director
Age: 34

Favorite Part of Job? Running the Chamber is fun! It's an incredible opportunity to exercise my creativity. The work is challenging (which I love), but it's also very rewarding - seeing my efforts having a direct positive impact on my community is definitely fulfilling.

Most Inspiring Mentor: I've encountered many inspiring people who have come into my life at the right times throughout my journey. Teachers, colleagues, co-workers, family, and friends have all impacted me along the way. Certainly my parents have always been super encouraging and supportive.

Tell us something fun about yourself that few people know: I make handcrafted fine jewelry out of a metalsmithing studio I set up in a spare bedroom of my house. I don't have much spare time for it these days, but it's something I enjoy immensely and I fit it in when I can.

Favorite Vermont Escape: Tree Farm Campground is my new favorite place! It's a beautiful, magical, peaceful pine forest - you'd never know you're just a couple miles from downtown Springfield.

Favorite Downtime Activity: I love hanging out by a bonfire in the wilderness and soaking up the starlight.

Favorite Super Hero: I think Hermione Granger is pretty stellar. Brilliant and brave, and excellent with a wand.

Favorite Social Media: My fabulous younger sister, Grace, recently convinced me to download Snapchat, and I have to admit, it's pretty fun!

Person you would like to share a Vermont beverage with: Mary Powell of GMP - I recently heard her speak at the Vermont Young Professionals Summit in Rutland. Her honesty was refreshing, and I saw a lot of myself in her stories.

What is the best career advice you have received? "Be your authentic self." These simple words guide me each and every day.

Where do you see yourself professionally in ten years? Hopefully living a balanced life - continuing to do meaningful work, but also having plenty of time for travel, and relaxation, family, friends, and fun.
What motivated you to live and work in Vermont? My fiance Sam and I ended up buying our first house in Springfield because it was amazingly affordable. We stay for the quality of life, and the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Career Highlights: I returned to Vermont after attending Pratt Institute of Art as a Sculpture Major. I've done a variety of cool things, including paid apprenticeships with a Master Welder and a Master Goldsmith, and co-teaching the welding unit for Rosie's Girls Summer Camp. My career path has been a surprising journey - I certainly never expected to be running a non-profit and working in economic development. But my varied background gives me a unique perspective that serves me well, and at the end of the day, I think it comes down to building relationships. Getting to know people, sharing stories, and finding common ground - it's a recipe for prosperity no matter what field you're in. I'm particularly proud of the fact that our Board of Directors is made up of more than half Millennials - it's awesome working with so many energetic and forward-thinking individuals. My favorite recent highlight was coordinating and hosting the Chamber's Centennial Gala. We decked out the beautiful Great Hall at One Hundred River Street with a sparkling roaring twenties theme, and it was just spectacular to see so many people come together to celebrate a century of community collaboration. It was a truly humbling experience, and I was thrilled and honored to be a part of it.

Community Involvement: Working for the Chamber provides countless ways to be involved. We host Green Up Day, and Small Business Saturday, and a Holiday Program. We just recently held our 35th Annual Vermont Apple Festival. I'm on a slew of committees and boards, including our local Food Co-op, as well as Rotary, and 3CVT, which is our regional branch of the Vermont Creative Network.
But lately I've been most jazzed about the work I'm doing with the Downtown Streetscape Committee. The group is comprised of local leaders and stakeholders: Town Manager, Selectboard members, representatives of area orgs including the Chamber, the Regional Development Corporation, and our designated Downtown organization, business owners, and property owners. We meet every month to discuss progress with our Streetscape Improvement Plan, and to hold ourselves accountable. We've collected suggestions and feedback from the community, and we're working together to ensure that the projects actually happen. The collaboration is inspiring, and the whole process is a stepping stone in the larger endeavor to revitalize Springfield. It's wicked cool to be working with so many people who are genuinely passionate about making a difference. Great things are happening, and Springfield is poised for a comeback!



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