I attended a local marketing conference this week and one of the keynote speakers said something about Des Moines that stuck with me “If we don’t tell the story, no one is going to tell it for us”. So today I wanted to share my story of why I love Des Moines.
When I first moved from the Twin Cities to DSM for college I hated it. I thought there was nothing to do, it smelled weird, and everyone was always shouting Go Hawks – which was very traumatic for someone who grew up a Gophers fan. Once I got out of the Drake bubble though, I fell in love with this city. SO in love that I focused my job search here after college and last summer I purchased a home! A home in Des Moines proper, so I’m a true-blue Des Moines transplant over here.
Des Moines is the perfect blend of small town meets big city. I love that everywhere I go I pretty much see someone I know whether that’s at Hy-Vee on Sunday morning or a random Tuesday Nitefall on the River concert. I love country music and we get better shows (at all levels) than the Twin Cities do – I saw Maren Morris in a fewer than 1000 people venue in 2017. Don’t even get me started on the amazing opportunities we have to shape national politics with all the presidential candidates that come to town! A big part of the reason that I decided to stay in DSM after graduation was because many of my friends were as well. I made some of the best friends in college and these people are still my support system and lifelong pals which is awesome. 90% of us are Des Moines transplants so I think it’s pretty cool that we are all starting our lives here and putting down roots.
The other big reason I stayed here after graduation were the job prospects. While a Drake degree should mean a lot anywhere (Hello #2 college in the Midwest), it means a little bit more in Des Moines. I immediately got a job in my field with a Fortune 250 company. While I am not in a marketing role at the moment, I have leadership around me that knows my passions and not only lets me participate in marketing activities, they actively seek them out for me! The department recently planned a homecoming-esque celebration and leadership tapped me to all of the communication for that event – to include meeting with the VP and working on his remarks. In my spare time I work on other marketing initiatives. I’m the Marketing Director for a charity 5K, service on a Marketing Committee for the Boys and Girls Club and I helped a local entrepreneur launch his home remodeling business last year. I’m convinced that those kinds of opportunities don’t just present themselves in bigger cities.
Recently I was up in Minnesota visiting family while Des Moines was hosting March Madness. We were watching the game on TV and the announcer started talking about how Des Moines had been a “tremendous” site. I got so excited and my family was dumbfounded as to why. I didn’t help plan the event so why should I be happy they love DSM? Because while I, myself, did not help to plan the event it was something the whole city got behind! The atmosphere in town that week was so amazing – like when the Twin Cities hosted the Super Bowl I would bet. Everyone was excited to have the NCAA there and wanted the event to be a success. Like my family, I think most of the country thinks that Iowa is just one big corn field and us residents are working to change that perception every day. I’d invite anyone to come check out our Farmers Market or spend a Saturday brewery hopping with me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Minnesota (ask me about my tattoo) but there is just something special about Des Moines! So I’ll continue to help share the Des Moines story loud, bold, and broad!