Next City isn’t just a news website, we are a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities. Part of how we do that is by connecting our readers to urban changemakers and holding an annual Vanguard conference bringing together 40 top young urban leaders.
Name: Kiera Smalls
Current City: Philadelphia
Twitter Tag: @KieraSmalls
I drink: Coffee and tea
I am an: Extrovert
I get to work by: Bike and train
The area I grew up in is: City
What is your favorite city and why? Philadelphia! There’s so much happening here, and Philly is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Great public spaces, thriving communities, the Pope is coming, the DNC 2016 convention is coming, and of course Indego will be here to offer a convenient form of transportation!
What do you do when you are not working? I am working out.
Did you always want to be in marketing? No. I was actually studying to become a social worker during undergrad. I ended up landing a position as a recruitment and retention manager for a social service agency instead. During my employment I was asked to lead their social media and wellness efforts. Through these projects and while building City Fit Girls, I realized marketing was what I wanted to do.
Kiera with Philly’s upcoming Indego Bike Share (Photo by Darren Burton)
What do you like most about your current job? I have great co-workers. We are all working extremely hard to make the Indego bike-share launch a success. I couldn’t think of a better team. Building relationships with community members and stakeholders regarding Indego has been a blast as well. With City Fit Girls, I really enjoy promoting fitness as something fun and adventurous for women of all fitness levels.
What is the coolest project you worked on? Creating FitRetreat, City Fit Girls’ annual fitness and wellness event here in Philly. We wanted to create a full day of workshops and sessions for women to learn about all of the awesome fitness classes and instructors in the city. This past August about 150 women joined us and chose between a fitness and wellness session each hour. For Indego, we are getting ready to launch our first social media campaign: “Where Will Indego Take You?” We’ll be encouraging people to ride Indego to their favorite spots in Philly and share stories via social media. We’ll be highlighting their responses on our new blog.
Kiera teaching City Fit Girls bootcamp (Photo by Jasmine Hawkins)
What is the biggest challenge facing cities today? Accessibility. While there has been great progress in and near Center City, there are still areas that are at a huge disadvantage, who do not get to enjoy the same level of walkability in their neighborhoods as other parts of the city. We need to continue to keep the entire city, including all of its neighborhoods, in mind in regards to expanding access to resources like healthy supermarkets, open green spaces and public safety.
What’s the best professional advice you have received? I had a coffee date with Desiree Peterkin Bell who leads communications and strategies for Mayor Michael Nutter. At the time we talked, I did not know what career path I wanted to pursue. She advised me to write down what I wanted to do and connect with people currently doing those things. And to pursue what I wanted to do for its purpose and not position. I think about our chat often. She’s very inspiring.