As Content Manager at the MetroHartford Alliance (MHA) and Website Curator for Innovation Destination Hartford (IDH), Nan Price helps tell the story of the Hartford Region.
NAN PRICE: I followed my heart to Hartford 20 years ago.
Growing up, I lived outside of New York City and spend a lot of time in the city and surrounding boroughs. I moved to Massachusetts for college and afterward lived in the Boston area until I moved here.
The universe works in interesting ways. I ended up falling in love with the Greater Hartford area and truly feel it’s my home.
How have you become a part of Hartford and how has Hartford become a part of who you are?
NAN: I never intended to be a part of Hartford or for it to become a part of me. I kind of moved here on a whim. I didn’t necessarily intend on staying. Back then, I didn’t spend too much time in the city. I explored places like Real Art Ways and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and went downtown to hear friends’ bands or go out to dinner, on occasion.
It wasn’t until I became a part of the MHA through Innovation Destination Hartford that I truly felt like Harford became a part of me and I became part of the fabric of Hartford.
My work with IDH has opened doors, elevators, and windows. It enables me to get involved with all kinds of activities taking place throughout the city—whether I’m learning about cutting-edge research at one of our local higher education institutions, touring arts and culture organizations, meeting local entrepreneurs and small business owners, visiting startup incubators, exploring co-working spaces, or checking out new cafés.
Through my work with the MHA, I’ve learned so much about what economic development means and the impact it has on our city. Since I joined the MHA in 2015, I really do feel like I am Hartford.
What makes Hartford unique?
NAN: I’ve interviewed hundreds of people and I’ve asked many some form of this question, so it’s difficult to respond without their voices. People say so many things about what makes Hartford unique—whether it’s our arts and culture scene, our history, our landscape, or our innovation. For me, what makes Hartford unique is the community—which ultimately means the people.
Another thing that makes Hartford uniquely Hartford is the opportunities available here. In larger cities, there’s the whole concept of being a little fish in a big pond. Here, there is so much more opportunity to grow and find—and be supported by—a tribe of people committed to seeing the Hartford Region succeed.
I see people making connections here more easily than within big cities, whether it’s through networking events or making personal connections within prominent organizations or institutions. I’m not sure if larger cities develop those kinds of relationships that enable a startup to connect with an industry giant.
How do you tell the story of Hartford?
NAN: I’m working hard to do that through my roles at the MHA and IDH and through the community work I do—whether it’s by moderating the monthly #MakeItInCT panel series at West Hartford Coworking, grabbing a coffee at Story and Soil with someone who’s contemplating launching their first startup and needs to know about our region’s resources, or taking a call from someone out-of-state who’s interested in relocating to the area and becoming part of our innovation ecosystem. In all these roles, I have a voice, and I use it to show and tell what’s going on in our region and highlight our successes.
Honestly, I feel the most fulfilled when I write, post, and share a story spotlighting someone or something in the Hartford Region and it gets a lot of positive engagement. I feel like, in my own way, I’m helping to change the narrative.