By Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHartford Alliance
MetroHartford Alliance Chief Investor Relations Officer Kate Baumann admits she fell in love with Hartford when she was willing to look at the city from a new perspective. In her role with the MHA, Kate enjoys finding opportunities for collaborating and promoting our region.
KATE BAUMANN: I was born and raised in Berlin. I went to Massachusetts for college and worked there for a few years before coming back. When I was deciding whether to return to the Hartford region, I did a lot of exploring and researching places I’d want to live. I visited different cities throughout the country and admired all the architecture and recreation.
I realized I had all that in my backyard, I just hadn’t looked at it with same eyes as you’d look at a new city you visit. I needed that perspective. About a year ago, I decided this is where I want to be, near my family and friends.
What makes Hartford unique?
KATE: I also have roots here. I went to the G. Fox Building downtown to see Santa with my grandma when I was young. I’m now rediscovering things by walking through different parts of Hartford and exploring new neighborhoods beyond downtown.
What really drives me is knowing there’s a great sense of comfort, but then still the opportunity to explore. There are so many great things in Connecticut—the people, activities, and restaurants. There are many pockets of Connecticut with neat stuff going on, particularly in Hartford, when it’s getting toward sunset and you see all the buildings, the city is beautiful. Honestly, until I started working at the MHA, I didn’t completely open my eyes to the fantastic beauty and culture in the city.
How do we tell the story of Hartford?
KATE: It sounds simple, but it’s just having a positive attitude and a positive perspective. It’s so important to have an optimistic mindset in day-to-day interactions in the workplace and socially, too. If we can start spreading those positive vibes, I think that will make a really big difference.
In terms of perspective, for me it’s looking at different cities’ assets and recognizing we have all those things here in Hartford. And then, once you look at Connecticut from that mindset, it’s exciting to share about the fantastic things to do here in our region—whether it’s your first time experiencing a great new restaurant right downtown or a hiking place you love in Cromwell on the Connecticut River. There are a lot of different types of places you could live and activities to do. Again, it’s looking at things with an open mind.
And then, with the economic growth side of things, it’s really looking at how we can all collaborate as a team to best tell our story. That’s one thing that sparked my interest in the MHA—so many people are doing great things, but a lot of times it’s very siloed and we aren’t going to move things forward unless we work together. Whether it’s companies or individuals, it’s looking at how we can come together around topics, brainstorm ideas, and then pool our resources. Because, at the end of the day, no matter what size your organization is, there’s only a finite amount of money, resources, and talent. So, telling our story involves collectively looking how we can move the region forward.
The city is doing so much and it’s really just trying to get that word out. And then understanding how that fits into the piece of the puzzle of our whole state and really the entire region.
What impact are you making in the Hartford Region by joining the MHA?
KATE: Part of my thought process in joining the team was: I’ve decided I want to be here in Hartford, so how can I work for an organization that is actually going to continue to improve lifestyles and drive companies and economic development here? I realized this is exactly the opportunity I was looking for.
Working here has been completely eye-opening in terms of learning about what everyone’s doing to support the region from individuals and small businesses to larger companies. I think that’s really cool. It’s a story that hasn’t been told enough and should be told because it’s important. It’s truly a good day each day in our region and I hope I can be part of the microphone to share this message!