On Leaving Local First and Tucson

DeannaI have been moved and humbled by the outpouring of support from the Tucson membership and business community upon my announcement that I am moving into a new chapter of my life. I don’t take that support for granted and in fact could not so boldly go after my dreams without it. I am very proud and excited about what we have been able to accomplish with the support of business owners, community leaders and individuals. Our accomplishments include two editions of the award-winning destination guide the Small Wonders Map; a WeekendZona video highlighting Tucson in the midst of streetcar construction; growth of membership by more than 100%; increased member involvement in mixers and seminars; creation of Tucson Twitter account, reaching almost 1,500 people; a dedicated Steering Committee and growing volunteer pool; numerous media appearances by LFA and member businesses; and our first culinary event, Savor Southern Arizona.

These are big accomplishments but there were many small ones along the way. I often referred businesses to one another or recommended businesses to the media. LFA facilitated quite a few collaborations like an Indie Week beer dinner with the Food Conspiracy Coop and Dragoon Brewing as well as a Buy Local Month shopping crawl on the Sunshine Mile. Every step of the way I found cooperative, supportive businesses willing to work together and learn something new to help the cause and each other.

Personally, I have grown a great deal in the last two years as Tucson Membership Manager, having faced my fear of public speaking and pushed through my shyness. If Tucson wasn’t such a friendly, supportive place I may not have come so far. As I look ahead to beginning a new chapter I give thanks to all of you for your support of Local First and of me. I feel very blessed.

I am also very pleased that we found a wonderful person to come into the role of Tucson Membership Manager, Erika Mitnik-White. I had the pleasure of working with her over the past four weeks to get her acclimated and introduced to many members and supporters. She is well qualified, enthusiastic and connected with the local business community. I am excited to watch the continued growth and success of the local business community with Local First being an integral part of that.

I may be out of town for a time, but Tucson will never be far from my mind or heart.

Many thanks and best wishes! -Deanna Chevas