We sat down with March Spotlight Emily Barber to learn about why she came to and ultimately, chose Buffalo.
[Q]: How did you end up in Buffalo?
I was born and raised in Westchester, NY, just outside of New York City. While applying for colleges, I had narrowed my search to three; one located in Vermont and two in New York State. All had what I was looking for in terms of academic excellence, faculty, and civic engagement opportunities. What significantly stood out to me and, ultimately, became my deciding factor to select a WNY-based college was the atmosphere. I found SUNY Fredonia to be the most welcoming environment, very much mirroring “The City of Good Neighbors.”
[Q]: Had you ever been to the Buffalo Niagara region before attending Fredonia?
I hadn’t. I was exposed to the Buffalo Niagara region for the first time while attending SUNY Fredonia. I came into the City for a variety of service projects with the Breast Cancer Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through my sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon.
Selecting Fredonia and, ultimately, Buffalo was a big and rewarding step outside of my comfort zone. At the time, I didn’t know anyone or anything about Western New York. Looking back, at a younger age I never thought I would have the courage to take the leap and start somewhere new. It transformed my life for the better.
[Q]: Why did you choose to stay in Buffalo?
Growing up, I knew the allure of the “Big Apple” and there was a time when I considered moving there. I accepted a summer internship in New York City while attending Fredonia and, while the experience was exciting, my heart belonged in Western New York. Why? The answer is simple: the people and the City’s spirit. The same values Buffalo Niagara showcased were those that initially attracted me to attend Fredonia.
[Q]: What was the hardest part of relocating to Buffalo Niagara?
For me, there were two challenging parts of relocating. One, physical separation from my family. They are my greatest support system and I miss seeing them every day. I do Facetime them often! Two, building my personal and professional community from scratch. I can understand how this is daunting for those who are tasked with creating a new sense of community in a whole new place.
This is one reason why I love working at Performance Management Partners within the talent arena. We are a team of “Buffalo Ambassadors” aiming to identify and develop future leaders in Buffalo Niagara and, for those relocating here, welcome them with open arms and share our passion for the region.
[Q]: What has helped you most?
It’s all about confidence and connectedness. Taking the leap and immersing yourself in your new community in whichever way makes sense to you. This could be through a sports league, yoga, religion, or a professional development group. The list goes on.
Buffalo Niagara is special in that everyone is separated by two degrees. Yes, this is the part where Buffalonians begin nodding their heads in agreement! In a tight-knit community like ours, most are willing to grab a cup of coffee with you and really learn who you are as a person and professional. I have found that most have a genuine desire to help you become acclimated and plugged into your niche.
[Q]: Today, do you consider Buffalo home?
Yes! I have never felt more at home than in Buffalo.
[Q]: What advice would you give to someone thinking of moving here or to someone planning to move here?
If you are thinking of moving here, but aren’t quite sold yet, come visit us. Come for a few days so you can get a full picture of the professional and personal community that exists here. Grab breakfast at Five Points Bakery on the West Side. Catch a Buffalo sporting event to get a feel for the spirit of Buffalo and don’t miss out on learning the region’s fascinating, rich history. You can embark on a walking tour with Explore Buffalo or hop on a double decker bus tour. In your professional time, be sure to grab a few coffee meetings and attend a networking event. Buffalonians love their city and would happily convince you to join them in the “City of Good Neighbors.”
If you’re planning on returning to the region, you already know how special it is. Be a Buffalo Ambassador in your current residence and share your passion for our region with others. When you arrive here, become involved. Dedicate your time and talents to help make a difference in our community.
I found Buffalo to be my home and there are resources for others who want to follow in my footsteps. Be In Buffalo is a perfect way to find out what’s going on in some key high-growth areas within the community. Learn more here: https://beinbuffalo.com/
Also, loving the region is loving its unique history. Get to know the past, engross yourself in the present, and become a part of Buffalo’s future.
Welcome to Buffalo. Welcome home.