From Pavement and Heels to Flats and Pine Needle Paths

My loyalty for this cool city was born on a blustery March day in 1990, literally. On March 28th, 1990, I burst into this world at St. Luke's hospital in Duluth. Ultimately, I would grow up in the Twin Cities. But the story doesn’t stop here.

Moving away from Duluth didn’t diminish the warm fuzzies I felt every time the car crested over the hill to reveal the mighty Lake Superior and city below. Like many young families from the Twin Cities, we would make annual summer trips up for family vacations and hockey tournaments.

When it was time for me to choose a college, University of Minnesota Duluth was my top pick. The memories of family vacations and the gigantic body of fresh water comforted me at the thought of the big change. Unfortunately, when graduation rolled around, like many other soon-to-graduate students looking for a job, I was looking outside of Duluth. At the time, I felt I had exhausted Duluth of what it had to offer and was ready to move back to, what seemed like, the greener pastures of the Twin Cities. Little did I know I would wind right back in Duluth in due time.

In Minneapolis, I would spend the next year and a half, hustling companies across the state for copy paper and slinging staplers. Think: the tenured version of The Office’s Pam Beasley. Despite the promise of financial security and excitement of the downtown hustle and bustle, something was missing.

Lake Superior and the relaxed attitude of Duluthians was what I missed the most. Thanks to the relationships I built as a student employee at UMD, I was told about an opportunity at Glensheen Mansion. There was a newly created position that ended up being the golden ticket to make my return to Duluth.

Outside magazine’s Best Town was everything that I remembered but…. better. I am embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t until I lived in the city as a young professional that I began to discover all that Duluth had to offer. The countless parks, the short commute, the people, the embrace of creativity, and the slower pace of life all helped me feel right at home.

However, the icing on the cake was Leadership Duluth, a 10-month program put on by the Duluth Area Chamber. I met amazing people who are leaders in the community and learned about the different industries and facets of Duluth. As beneficial as it was to learn about my city and the leaders around me, the intangible gift was that of some truly great friendships. Since moving back, I had met new people and connected with college acquaintances, but still didn’t have a group of friends I could call my own. Leadership Duluth gave me that.

Over the last several years, I’ve watched the city grow economically and blossom into a full-blown outdoor lover’s paradise that many Duluthians enjoy all while sipping on a beer brewed from the waters of Lake Superior. I couldn’t be happier living and working in this great city.

--- Jane Pederson
Glensheen Marketing Manager

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