Community Building with the Goodwill and the Charleston Area Alliance

Recording the Kanawha Valley Hustlers podcast at the Goodwill of Kanawha Valley Blue Lot today, and it’s buzzing with energy. I’m joined by Jamon Schmidt, who handles content management at Goodwill of Kanawha Valley and Nicole Christian, President of the Charleston Area Alliance.

Jamon tells us about the meticulous planning that goes into making events like this happen. From coordinating with various teams to preparing food and drinks, it’s a collective effort that transforms a simple parking lot into a vibrant event space.

When asked about his favorite part of event planning, Jamon’s enthusiasm shines through. As a graphic designer, he revels in creating designs that captivate people. It’s the satisfaction of seeing attendees appreciate his work and the joy of watching people enjoy an event he’s helped organize that fuels his passion.

But, as with any job, there’s a flip side. Jamon confides that the anxiety leading up to an event can be nerve-wracking. The fear of nightmares coming true, of an empty lot when the event should be in full swing, keeps him on his toes.

I’m curious about how he copes with this anxiety. His answer centers around trust in the planning process. With a dedicated team led by their events coordinator, Alex, they meticulously prepare, checking off every detail to ensure success. Once everything’s in place, they trust their work and let things unfold.

Next, I have the privilege of speaking with Nicole Christian, the president of the Charleston Area Alliance. She sheds light on the Alliance’s mission, focused on economic and community development in the Kanawha Valley. Their goal is to attract and retain businesses, jobs, investments, and people to foster growth in the region.

Nicole also highlights the Small Business Incubator, a space dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in their journey. It provides affordable and secure spaces to budding businesses, offering access to valuable services and resources.

As our conversation comes to an end, Nicole stresses the importance of community involvement. She believes that residents play a crucial role in shaping their community’s future, and engagement is key. Volunteering, attending events, and participating in programs like the one she mentions for young professionals are ways to contribute to the community’s growth. I’m reminded of two words: “invested” and “authentic.” They encapsulate the spirit of the Kanawha Valley, where people genuinely care and actively participate in the community’s development.

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