The St. Louis region is full of character, culture, arts, and opportunity. Some might call it a hidden gem or an unknown treasure; those are things that came to my mind after I moved here two and a half years ago. St. Louis truly does have all of the culture, entertainment, and amenities that a larger city has, the difference is that it is all within reach. Things are accessible, attainable, and affordable. Great, right? Absolutely, on the surface.
St. Louis is ranked second among the best American cities for jobs, third-best city for college grads to start their career, second-best city for small businesses, sixth among fifty cities where women should start a business, and ninth in tech job growth. What amazing accolades, St. Louis is being recognized for its rich opportunities. Can you think of a better place for career advancement? I can’t!
St. Louis is a hometown city—people who were born here and went to school here are now raising their families here. Native St. Louisans’ passion for the region and their high school alma mater leads to close-knit communities that teeter on cliquish. That means St. Louisans’ don’t openly welcome those not from the area. Unintentional as it may be, this is likely a major reason the region isn’t growing like similar metropolitan areas across the U.S. Natives are not rude or mean, they are merely “nice enough.” This leaves transplants to the region out in the cold, literally. Newcomers are left alone to figure out the best hair stylist, restaurant, dry cleaners, and mechanic, among other things. More importantly, newcomers are left out in the cold when it comes to creating social connections to the region and its natives.
People are the economic and growth drivers behind any city. The accolades, wealth of resources, programs, and advantages mean nothing if the inspiration (the soul of the city) is not extended to everyone. Creating an environment that encourages people to be a part of and stay is vital to an area’s success. Who is going to fill the jobs, patronize the small businesses and arts, and pay the taxes to keep the economy going? Existing residents cannot thrive without letting others in. Let’s step up to expand and invite new thoughts, ideas, and cultures in order to create a better St. Louis. Without showing yourself off to the world, the curtains would still be shut, and those accolades would not have been achieved.
Creating an inviting, inclusive atmosphere would drastically improve the attractiveness of talent to the area. Imagine what embracing fresh new ideas and opening up inner circles to others would yield – it could boost up existing rankings and add even more achievements to the list. The inspiration of St. Louis is bare none. St. Louisans’ know what the region has to offer, heck that is why they chose to stay! Let’s bottle the source of that inspiration that is fueled from within by the natives realizing the charm, spirit, and wealth of resources! The inspiration of St. Louisans’ can be infectious, open the bottleneck and let some of it flow to others!
The inspiring story of the little known town, that many can’t even pinpoint on a map, with amazing features known as the Gateway to the West can move from a “pass through” city to a final destination!