By Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHarford Alliance
Entrepreneur and Hartford enthusiast Erin Mairson is Founder of the WHYNOTU project and podcast.
Her enthusiastic networking connections created an opportunity to serve as Event Supporter at the InsurTech Hartford Symposium. Erin also recently became a certified Pilates instructor at the newly opened btone Fitness.
Through her own company, she serves as Social Media Coordinator for initiatives including Capitol Hearts—all while integrating with the local business community to manifest her ideal career.
ERIN MAIRSON: I grew up outside of Storrs, CT, near the University of Connecticut. My dad was a teacher in Hartford for more than 30 years. He coached high school sports and taught young students physical education in the South End. That’s really where my story of Hartford begins. Growing up, my dad would always bring me to the city.
I saw how a lot of towns on the outskirts of Hartford have a very different view about Hartford than those who work and are integrated in the city. Having spent some time in the community from the time I was little, I had no fears being there.
I graduated from Bulkeley High School and went away for school for my first year, then things happened with the pandemic and I decided Hartford was the best place for me to be to continue my degree remotely. I’m moving downtown later this spring.
What impact do you hope to make in the Hartford Region?
ERIN: Sometimes when I tell people how much I love Hartford, they give me an uncertain look. I tell them you just have to come and find out how awesome it is here.
I have a mission to change people’s minds. I want to rewrite everybody’s narrative. I feel like this is my purpose. This is my why. I need to change people’s view about Hartford because I have such a soft spot for it.
What makes Hartford unique?
ERIN: Hartford isn’t just a stopping spot. There are all these amazing places to live and everybody is welcome here.
There are some beautiful brownstones downtown. If close your eyes and reopen them, you almost feel like you’re in New York City. But we have our own community. And you have to immerse yourself in the community.
I started a series on my Instagram called “Hidden Gems in Hartford” and I swear it holds value. There are so many hidden spots to share—family-owned restaurants, juice bars, things that have been in business for years or maybe are just opening up.
There are so many unique things about Hartford. Pratt Street is so cool with its shops and restaurants and brick sidewalks. There are so many things to offer—the XL Center, Hartford Yard Goats games at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, and Parkville Market, which is absolutely phenomenal. It brings everybody in every culture and ethnicity together.
How do you tell the story of Hartford?
ERIN: Typically, I ask people what do you think of Hartford? And I let them answer. They often say something potentially negative. And I remind them they’re just seeing it from one perspective. I always say, it’s not what people know; it’s what people don’t know. And I think people are unaware that Hartford has a lot to offer.
People need to talk about it. That’s what I do and. I’m so pro Hartford.
What are the benefits of building a career in the Hartford Region?
ERIN: As a young entrepreneur, I think Hartford is a great place to be. I say that and I truly mean it because there’s so much room for growth. People in the Hartford Region are so willing to network and help you make connections. People are willing to help if you ask for it.
I think Hartford has a place for anybody—whether you’re starting your career, starting a new business or initiative, or growing in your career.
Hartford is the Insurance hub of the world. There’s so much room for jobs and growth that people don’t always know about. As someone starting my career here, it’s an up-and-coming city, which means my career can grow with it. And I think there’s something so beautiful about that.
So, I’m here. I like it here. I want to be here.