Stephanie Owens

Guest commentator: Stephanie Owens, Account Supervisor, Karma Agency @KarmaAgency

As a Philadelphia transplant, how have you gone about immersing yourself in the city’s culture, resources, and opportunities for young professionals?

After spending almost ten years of my post-college career in South Carolina, where I was fortunate enough to learn the agency ropes working with clients from health care to collaborative impact initiatives that sought to improve low-income communities, I felt restless. Maybe it was all the Brené Brown and Sheryl Sandberg books, but I certainly didn’t feel like I was taking any risks or getting outside of my comfort zone.

While anything “new” can be a challenge or even scary, making those uncomfortable moves is always the most gratifying. We know this inherently and yet it doesn’t make it easier. But for me, moving to Philadelphia for a bright opportunity at a women-owned agency was the place to face those push-and-pull moments that bring growth. After moving in September of 2018, I think I can confidently say I’ve got a few tips for making the most of a move to Philly and embracing the City of Brotherly Love as my new home.

1. Ask for an intro.

So many friends and colleagues were eager to connect me with their social circle in Philly. Say yes! Go to coffee, happy hour, or whatever, and make the most of those mutual connections.

2. Find and follow.

I immediately started following Philly pubs and influencers to learn where I should be playing, eating, and meeting new people. How else would I know yoga is hosted at the Ben Franklin Bridge or that Philly’s parks host popup beer gardens all summer long? Here are a few of my Instagram favorites that keep me in the loop: @phillymag, @bewellphilly, @uwishunu, and @phillyinsider.

3. Build a community.

I joined the Chamber’s Young Professionals Council, the Junior League, and a Philly Sport’s League team to meet friends and other young professionals. These groups and events helped me connect with fellow transplants as well as lifelong locals. Whether it’s volunteering, sports, or a professional group, find your fit and join in!

4. Put home in your wallet.

It may be bittersweet, but dump all of those old cards that just won’t come into play in your new city. My favorite new additions? The Free Library of Philadelphia card (amazing work spaces and resources), my SEPTA Key card for zipping around, and a punch card for Square One Coffee.

5. Be a tourist.

I’ve loved familiarizing myself with Philly by checking off a bucket list of must-see and do things throughout the city. Plus, you’ve got to play tour guide when your family and friends come to visit, so get going! A few of my favorites…

  • Science After Hours at The Franklin Institute. You may not be a science nerd, but these 21+ themed events aren’t to be missed.
  • Bok Building. Old high school turned into multi-functional space for businesses and artists. Did I mention the yoga classes at the rooftop bar or artist studios? Yes, please!
  • Longwood Gardens. More than a garden oasis away from the city, this gem brings in performers and guest speakers (Like NPR’s Ira Glass) all year long.

Lessons learned? Be patient; it takes time to build a new home and a community. And when in Philly, be an Eagles fan!