Erin Brewer is the Director of Community and Corporate Outreach at Barnhill Contracting Company.
According to Erin, these are three ways to build your community when you move to a new city:
1) Take advantage of being the new kid on the block! Reach out to local leaders in the community and ask them if they’d be willing to connect. You can have coffee, take a walk, or schedule a phone call. Whatever you do, during that time, ask if they have any pro tips for the area—anything you should join or be a part of to get the full experience. This could be the best bakeries in town or areas to stay away from. Also, ask for recommendations of other people to meet. This will multiply your connections! If you have no idea who to reach out to when you move somewhere new, try starting with alumni from your high school or college.
2) Create opportunities for introduction. Bake cookies and pass them out! Do you burn everything by looking at it? Buy treats from the local bakery. I keep a running note on my phone of everyone I meet in town, so I know to ask about their kids and how their job is going next time I see them. This could be fun facts, apartment number, kids’ names or schools, etc.! It can be intimidating to put yourself out there, but doing so will be worth it and allow you to build a strong community.
3) Find people who have similar passions. Check out meetup.com. It might take courage to go to your first gathering, but you may end up finding a casual tennis meetup that helps you feel like you have something to look forward to every week with people that have something in common. You can also go to events, either live or virtual, that align with your interests. Do you like art? Go to a gallery opening and strike up a conversation with someone there. Sharing a common interest is a great icebreaker!
Erin Brewer is the Director of Community and Corporate Outreach at Barnhill Contracting Company. For eight years, prior to her current role, Erin was either teaching ESL in a Title I school, working as staff for nonprofits, or developing a local brand and food and fun blog, RDU Gems. In 2018, Erin pursued the opportunity to start a nonprofit sponsored by a residential builder in Clayton, North Carolina as the Executive Director. After a year of building infrastructure and programs, she was led to Rocky Mount to help Barnhill Contracting Company maximize their impact through employee support and community outreach, and by supporting nonprofits across North Carolina. In her free time, you can find Erin out and about at the Rocky Mount Mills, writing haiku about the Fall, and spending time with her husband, Blake.