The Young Creatives Summit is on Friday, April 15 from 3-6 PM at the Dayton Convention Center. This is the third in a series of “My Summit Story” segments to highlight the diverse, talented, and creative people who are a part of updayton and the Young Creatives Summit. More information and registration details are available here.
Very few people embody the excitement and growth potential of Dayton region more than Theresa Gasper. She grew up in Dayton, currently lives in Beavercreek, works to rebuild homes in South Park as the Founder and President of Full Circle Development, and is a proud Daytonian (check out this link to see when she was featured as a “Dayton Original”). You’ve probably seen Theresa around – at local ball games, attending arts galas, chatting with friends at great restaurants, hosting open houses and neighborhood parties, being recognized as one of the Top Ten Women of the Year, and working on many volunteer initiatives. Whether she’s adding her own time and talent to projects or supporting them through communication and marketing – Theresa is plugged into the changes happening in the region.
As one of the original catalysts of DaytonCREATE (working on the “This is Dayton” initiative), Theresa has been aware of updayton from the beginning. And even though she was busy leading a separate initiative, Theresa has always added her support to updayton. Again this year, Theresa is volunteering as a breakout facilitator at the Summit. We wanted to take some time to better understand why someone with so much going on is offering her time to engage young creatives in the region. Here is her story.
How did you get involved with updayton?
I was one of the original DaytonCREATE Catalysts on the “This is Dayton” initiative, and have strived to support the activities of all five initiatives. Chronologically I may be 50 this year, but in my mind, I still think I’m 24 and have convinced myself I’m actually part of the target audience! 😉
So even if you’re *slightly* outside the target demographic, you still feel you can get involved?
Absolutely! This year will be my second as a facilitator for one of the break out sessions. I’ve also tried to get involved during the beginning stages of some of the group projects. Fresh eyes and new blood always account for a lot of enthusiasm and creativity, but there is something to be said too for “institutional memory.” I never want to get too involved or stymie anyone’s ideas, but try to point out similar initiatives in the past and help connect the dots. What those of us “outside the demographic” bring to the table is a strong network in the community, so we can steer the (updayton volunteers) in the right direction and provide introductions to the people who can help them get things done.
What have you gotten out of the Young Creatives Summit?
A renewed sense of optimism by seeing so many young creatives invest their time and energy into making Dayton a better place to live, work and play. Face it, our community is at a crossroads, and dying off is not an option. But how many places and points in time converge to allow you to actively create the city of your dreams? I know many college grads want to head to the big cities – NYC, Chicago, etc – and make their mark. But it’s a game of numbers – do you want to be one of 140,000 in Dayton or one of 9,000,000 in New York? There is NOTHING wrong with being a big fish in a small pond. I think what Dayton has to offer is immense opportunity and updayton and the Young Creatives Summit, is the jumping off point.
Do you recommend that young professionals attend the Summit?
I’ve been spreading the word very chance I get, so hell yes, young professionals & creatives need to attend. What a great networking opportunity to meet the young movers & shakers in town. What a great venue to share ideas, speak up, get involved and connect with others who have similar passions and goals. Often I hear people complaining about Dayton and I tell them to stop whining and get involved. When they ask how, I’m able to steer them toward updayton and the YCS.
What is your vision for the Dayton region?
I see the convergence of many factors bringing people back to the urban core – high gas prices, walkable communities, great local restaurants, bars, bands, but mostly its an authentic urban experience. And I think that young professionals are a driving force behind the trend. So my vision is a vibrant, active, beautiful downtown with lots of feet on the street – or as I like to say like Urban Night EVERY night. I’m a strong believer that cities are the hearts of regions – and like with the human body, if the heart is weak, the extremities will shut down. I see our historic districts and inner city neighborhoods becoming the ideal places to live as people turn from the cookie cutter and car centric nature of the ‘burbs. Add to that our rivers, bikeways, mountain biking course and hopefully the white water course in downtown, I see Dayton’s star shining bright and attracting people from around the world.