Who cares? EMERGE Lakeland does. When it comes to community, our group cares about lending a helping hand to our neighbors through meaningful volunteer opportunities focused on improving the people and places in our hometown. They say that together is better, and it is! That’s what EMERGE embraces. By connecting with each other, we’re able to take action and show how much we care about our fellow Lakelanders.
EMERGE Serves: Opportunities to Serve
Our Volunteer committee has a few upcoming events that give you the chance to make a difference in our community. These events include painting a home for a family in need at Paint Your Heart Out and serving a local nonprofit, One More Child, that supports children in need at the Compassion House. At EMERGE, we believe it is important to be connected to a group that cares about its community and leads with a serving heart.
Serving in itself teaches us three things: Teamwork, how to be a neighbor, and how to have the right attitude
Why Community Service Matters
When we come together to work as a team, we learn and respect the diverse views and experience of other volunteers. In a way, it’s an opportunity to be humble and listen to other individuals who have different insights on how to complete a project. It is also a lesson in empowerment--teaching us when to speak up with our own advice on how to get the job done. It’s teamwork!
At our upcoming event, Paint Your Heart Out, we are volunteering to put a family’s need above our own. We live in a fast-paced world. Between making it on time for work, completing deadline-driven projects, working out and eating right, or taking time for family and friends, sometimes we need a reminder of the importance of recognizing the community needs around us. EMERGE strives to build a culture that shows, as a team, we support our community and are serious about being compassionate neighbors.
Building the Right Culture
Building the right culture is all about having the right attitude and knowing your community. To keep it simple, we say that the right attitude is happily sacrificing your time and resources, and getting to KNOW someone. What better way to build relationships than to show you CARE about your community? Getting to know those you serve or serve alongside is one of the best ways to jump in and start building a community. It’s safe to say we are in this together and that because we have the right attitude, we have FUN!
If you are not already part of a group that is making an impact in our community, then EMERGE is a great way to start and we would love to have you! We are proud of the impact we make and will continue to build a community that grows through serving because EMERGE CARES.
Find out how to join EMERGE by going to the following link!
Written by Danielle Harris
AUTHOR: Amanda Friel
Love is in the air lately for home sweet Lakeland. Not too long ago, Realtor.com cited Lakeland as the best place to buy a home in 2019, and who could blame them? For our young professionals, the reasons are obvious.
1. The location is kind of awesome.
It’s no secret to anyone with access to a map that Lakeland is sandwiched between two substantially sized metropolitan areas: Tampa and Orlando. Young professionals love the versatility that comes with living in a smaller community while still being able to take advantage of large city entertainment and nightlife. Not to mention, the proximity to sought-after vacation destinations like theme parks and beaches.
2. It’s kind to your bottom line.
Swan City can save you some money. Many young professionals have noted that Lakeland-living allows them a lifestyle that, quite frankly, would be much more difficult to obtain elsewhere. Hard-earned dollars go far here, which is why many young professionals and small business owners are deciding to take root and call Lakeland home.
3. It’s a great place for families.
Free family-friendly events, picture-perfect parks (hello, family portraits!) and a strong sense of community make Lakeland a wonderful place to add onto your family tree. Many young professionals said they loved Lakeland because it was a place they wanted to settle in and raise their children.
4. Blossoming small businesses.
From coffee shops and creative dining to unique retailers and beloved breweries—Lakeland is home to a growing population of homegrown businesses that love our city as much as we do. Young professionals say they enjoy patronizing the businesses that contribute to the economic growth and well being of our community. Which is a win-win for everyone.
5. Professional development.
, which is a co-working space that fosters growth for local startups and EMERGE Lakeland (that’s us!), which provides opportunities for networking, professional growth and community involvement for young local professionals.
Written By Amanda Friel
Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?No, I’m not originally from Lakeland. I’m originally from a small country town called Wauchula, FL. I moved to Lakeland in 2005 after hurricane Charley. I have been living in Lakeland for almost 10 years on and off.
What do you do?Great question! I get asked that question all the time and I say, “I do a lot”. Which I do. I own three companies: The Credit Repair Supermarket, Speedy Tax Prep and Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur. I have 2 more companies that I have created that it is in the beginning stages.
What do you like most about your job/profession?What I like most about my job is I like helping people, serving my community and being an educator. I want to be people to become educated on how to run a successful business and being a voice for the voiceless.
What are some of your hobbies?Some of my hobbies include:
Being a mother first and spending time with my daughter Malania
Watching sports center
Shopping (every woman loves a good shopping trip)
What’s your involvement in the community?My community Involvement includes:
United Way of Central Florida – Income Team
United Referral Partner group (BNI)
National Association of Woman Business Owners
American Business Women Association
Lakeland Business Leader
Feeding the homeless with House of Queens
Sponsored the Art of Entrepreneurship with Polk Vision
Sponsored the $250 scholarship for the Martin Luther King Oratorical Youth Contest, Jazz Concert
If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?How they can become an educated entrepreneur.
What do you like most about Lakeland?What I like most about Lakeland is that Lakeland is becoming the catapult for many new companies coming to the area which is helping to produce more jobs in Lakeland. I love that The City of Lakeland is birthing new opportunities for upcoming entrepreneur.
Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?I join EMERGE Lakeland because I want to be around like-minded people that share the same passion as me to impact our community and being a true leader. I want to be able to learn from other business leader to help me become a better leader. I’m a firm believer in the power of connections and building long lasting relationship. My motto is its Collaboration over Competition.
Anything else you want to add? I would like to add that I just released a book called “The Small Business guide to getting business credit. I wrote this book with the small business in mind. I notice a lot of people was giving up on their passion or becoming frustrated because of lack of resources and funds. I want to educate people that there are alternative resources that will help fund their business. So Are you ready to be an Educated Entrepreneur?
Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?No, I was born in Asunción, Paraguay and raised in Fairfax, VA.
What do you do?I am the General Manager of Tropics Soccer Club, the professional soccer team here in Lakeland.
What do you like most about your job/profession?The fast paced and constant evolution of the sports industry. Everyday is a new challenge and you never know what to expect. Soccer is booming in the US, and I enjoy being a part of growing the game right here in Lakeland.
What are some of your hobbies?Playing Soccer, hanging with friends, watching sports
What’s your involvement in the community?I try to attend or participate in as many community activities as possible. I work everyday to do give back to the community by bringing people together through the power of sport. I have run for Mr. Central Florida, Polk Emerging Leaders, and am a member of the Lakeland Rotary Club. I also coach both recreation and competitive teams in our Lakeland Tropics FC Youth Club.
If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?I always get asked about how the team is doing or what’s new. People like talking about sports, so anything in that category is a great way to start a conversation with me.
What do you like most about Lakeland?The sense of community. I have lived in Tampa and Orlando, and you do not get the same sense of pride for a community as you do in Lakeland. People are from here and have been for many generations which seems to allow people to care more about what happens in Lakeland and the growth and future of the community.
Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?I want to network more with the business community, especially with those closer to my age who are like me, the future of Lakeland. This seems like a great organization to allow the young minds to come together and work together to better our community.
Anything else you want to add?It is my goal to do everything I can to bring our community together through the Tropics. This is only possible if the community embraces the team and sees the benefits of having a hometown pro sports team a community can be proud of. The more support we get the more we can give back to the community and help those in need. I look forward to meeting more of the young professionals who also share this vision with their various businesses and work together to assure the future of Lakeland is bright and thriving. GO TROPICS!
Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?
I am originally from Nassau, Bahamas. I grew up in Miami, Florida. Raised by immigrant parents from Haiti. I met my husband in Orlando one summer while visiting family we have 1 son.
What do you do?
I own Belle La Vie Salon & Spa in S. Florida Ave, Lakeland in the Alamo plaza next to Plato’s closet. We are currently approaching our 1-year anniversary.
What do you like most about your job/profession? What I love about my profession is that I can make everyone who sits in my chair look and feel great about themselves no matter what trouble/stress they’re having in their personal lives.
What are some of your hobbies? My hobbies are going to the gym, traveling, spending time with friends, and dancing.
What is your involvement in the community?
My involvement in the community includes providing complimentary/discounted services to those that are less fortunate. I currently teamed up with Noah’s Ark, children, and families and once a month we provide their tenants with complimentary cuts. I wish to continue to help others, the best way I know how.
If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going? If someone were to meet me at an EMERGE event, they should ask me about the beauty industry and how I’m working towards having Polk County citizens support local small businesses, instead of venturing out to bigger cities or towns.
What do you like most about Lakeland? What I like about Lakeland is that it is continuously growing and there is a lot of history within Lakeland.
Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?I decided to join EMERGE to link up with other business owners or everyday individuals that are passionate about their community and want to make a difference. My goal is to eventually have a very successful business in Lakeland and I have hopes of mentoring others that are wanting to do the same and to let them know although I am an immigrant with a checkered past, that will not stop me from achieving my life goals and that the sky is the limit. You only limit yourself when you doubt yourself. I look forward to meeting and working with each one of you fabulous individuals.
Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?I am from Tampa, born and raised.
What do you do?I have been a Little Greek Franchisee for almost six years as an operating partner.
What do you like most about your job/profession?What I enjoy most about my job is getting to work in an environment that is fast-paced and allows me to interact with the many new faces of our customers.
What are some of your hobbies?Some hobbies of mine include playing golf and basketball, painting, and going to concerts.
What is your involvement in the community?My involvement in the community has largely been with local schools, doing things such as spirit nights and fundraising.
If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?At events, I am very approachable and can talk for days about the NBA, NFL, my dog, and all sorts of music!
What do you like most about Lakeland?The parts I like most about Lakeland are the friendly people and the more laid-back attitude it has compared to where I grew up.
Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?I joined EMERGE to get more involved with the city and help expose my restaurant for its fantastic food, catering, and service we offer.
Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?I was raised as a military brat…after living in Germany and Central California we ended up in a little town Navarre, FL in the Florida Panhandle. I have been a Lakelander since I was transferred here in my previous retail management career in 2007.
What do you do?REALTOR® at Florida Spotlight Homes Group at Keller Williams Realty Lakeland
What do you like most about your job/profession?Being trusted to help someone with the biggest investment of their lives
What are some of your hobbies?I love all things FOOD, working out, hiking, the beach….anything that gets me out in the sunshine
What’s your involvement in the community?My church- Free Life Chapel they host a variety of community events and volunteer opportunities. I am looking to be more involved in charities benefiting child education and health/wellness
If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?New restaurants, real estate and home design/décor, essential oils, anything really
What do you like most about Lakeland?The community environment…this is one of the most philanthropic communities I have lived in and all the beautiful outdoor spaces.
Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?I find more community service opportunities and to be able to network with other young professional in the area.
Anything else you want to add?I can't wait to get more involved and meet some new wonderful people.
Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?
I was born in Laramie, Wyoming and grew up in Lubbock, Texas. I’m very comfortable with wide open spaces!
What do you do? I’m the executive director at Explorations V Children’s Museum
What do you like most about your job/profession? There is no such thing as a bad day. Even the worst meetings are cured by walking into the lobby and greeting smiling kids anxious to play and learn something new. I may have made more crafts as an adult than I did as a kid and I’m okay with that.
What are some of your hobbies? I love running. Florida has a lot of paved, beautiful running trails which have become a happy place for me. I’m big into flea markets, too. There’s something very appealing about going to one place for a corn dog and a Bertoia chair. (true story)
What’s your involvement in the community? I’m on the Board of the Tampa Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. My BA is in flute performance and my husband is a classical musician. Being able to support and advocate for young musicians is very rewarding. The youth orchestra will never turn away a student for an inability to pay tuition. If they audition in and make the cut, we will find a way to cover their costs which means up to $20,000 in scholarships each year.
If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going? Dinosaurs. Thanks to my almost 6 year old I feel like I could hold a decent conversation on the topic.
What do you like most about Lakeland? The wonderful children’s museum! And the thousands of happy children that visit it each year.
Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?
I lived in Rochester, NY, for two years and was very active in the young professional scene. I saw the power that our voice had there and how quickly that voice propelled the City forward. I miss that and hope to serve EMERGE in a similar way.
Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?I am from a little town called Lake Hamilton about 25 miles east of Lakeland.
What do you do?I am currently a youth ministries intern. I have a heart for reaching the community with the gospel of Jesus Christ and will carry that passion as I transition into business.
What do you like most about your job/profession?Entrepreneurship. I fell in love with business from a young age by spending sleepless nights writing business plans, researching marketing strategies, and seeing my dad do whatever it takes to provide for our family.
What are some of your hobbies?Any sport and any outdoor adventure.
What’s your involvement in the community?I love attending Lakeland’s community events and volunteering wherever needed, including outside Lakeland. I also co-founded a program called “Show Up” at Southeastern University that helps business students get involved in the community.
If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?Just talk to me about your business! I love hearing people talk about their passion and vision, especially in business.
What do you like most about Lakeland?Diversity. We have incredible talents, ideas, skills, passions, and perspectives that come from so many different people.
Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?To build relationships with other entrepreneurial-minded individuals and organizations.
Anything else you want to add? I’m always down to have a conversation about Jesus, business, or this community.
Q: Are you originally from this area? If not, where from?A: I am originally from Waterville, ME. I moved here in 2006 to attend Florida Southern College and graduated with a BS in Sports Management in 2010 and my MBA in 2011.
Q: What do you do?
A: I am the Coordinator of Athletic Development at Florida Southern College
Q: What do you like most about your job/profession?A: What I like most is the relationships you build within the community and the alumni.
Q: What are some of your hobbies?A: My hobbies include spending time with my dogs, my friends and family. I am also into fitness and weight training and staying active.
Q: What’s your involvement in the community?
A: My involvement in the community mostly comes from my sponsorship acquisition within the community for FSC athletics.
Q: If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going?A: Anything sports, fitness, marketing, or Florida Southern related.
Q: What do you like most about Lakeland?
A: What I like most about Lakeland is what it offers. You can stay busy in Lakeland with the restaurants, night life, things to do, experiences etc.
Q: Why did you join EMERGE Lakeland?
A: I joined emerge in the hopes to create more relationships within the community and become more of a substantial part of the community.
Q: Anything else you want to add?
A: I look forward to meeting others and if anyone wants to connect it’s pretty easy to find me! and Go Mocs!
A Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way Collaboration.