I moved to Greenville, SC in December 2007 after living in the same town for 20 years. Good old Turners Falls, Massachusetts: the same town where my parents and grandparents grew up. It was a town where I was “Jimmy’s little girl” and “another Coyle kid?!” (more on that at a later date), and really comfortable. So, when I first moved to Greenville I thought I had landed on an alien planet. Because, when you grow up in a sleepy New England town, you don’t actually think the South–with its accent and colloquialisms and sweet tea—really exists. It’s simply something that Hollywood writes into scripts to make movies more interesting. Imagine my shock when I moved here and discovered that SO. MUCH. WAS. REAL. Needless to say, it took me a while to shed my bias and adopt Greenville as my new home. And dagum, I’m right glad I did (See what I did there?)!
It’s no secret that Greenville, SC is growing quickly.
It is a melting pot of cultures, nationalities, businesses and experiences. And there I was, a small-town-Betty, “Jimmy’s little girl,” desperate to feel connected. I longed for a tribe in this strange new land. Fortunately, after some time here, I made a pretty great discovery similar to Ponce de Leon’s fountain of youth…only this isn’t a legend.
Are you ready for it?
The more Greenville grows, the more ways there are to get involved. And the more ways there are to get involved, the smaller Greenville becomes. Crazy, I know. Greenville probably has a charity or non-profit, club, committee, or rec league for anything you can think of. Don’t fact check me on that, just trust me. When you share a common interest with someone, enough to leave your house and go to a meeting about it, you are bound to learn more about the other people involved. And because many folks have several interests, people’s path cross in all kinds of places.
As a result, Greenville feels quite small and cozy and familial the more you get involved.
Take me, for example. When I finally decided to get involved in the Greenville Community, I began to discover some amazing people, including my husband (I know, I know, gross). This then carried over to my professional life. I had the opportunity to interview at Engenius two years ago because my husband and I were involved in the community and knew Chris. I am so thankful that we did.
Here at Engenius, we believe that every team member has a right and an obligation to champion a cause. This isn’t just for the sake of beefing up our resumes, either.
We do it because it feels really good to be a part of something that is bigger than us.
Bonus: we get to share a common bond with people in a completely different line of work, which means we get to learn about them, gain a new perspective and walk away with a larger, more vibrant tribe (read: we meet people we wouldn’t otherwise meet).
After two years with the company, I can proudly say with the utmost confidence that Engenius places a great deal of value on community involvement and walks the proverbial “walk”. Every year, each Engenius employee has two paid days off specifically earmarked for volunteering. This year, Ellison used her time to participate in an Avon Breast Cancer Walk. Kristin will be volunteering with her church’s youth retreat later this winter and Lindsey is working to grow the sport of ultimate frisbee in Greenville’s high schools. Several Engenius employees sit on non-profit boards, while others are actively involved in rec leagues, local music, and various non-profits.
It’s true that, especially during this time of year, I miss New England.
But I am so thankful to be part of a community that knows that value of diverse relationships and encourages me to pursue causes that I care about.
Sure, I’m still “Jimmy’s little girl” and “another Coyle kid,” but I am also an active member of a civic-minded, big-hearted, genuinely good tribe of people who have Greenville’s best interest at heart. It is my belief, and that of Engenius, that no matter where you are, if you have that, you’ll always be home.