Diving in to Downtown DallasMy Dallas Story

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Name: Caitlin Studley

City: Dallas

Neighborhood: Downtown Dallas

Company/Title: The Iron Yard, Campus Director

When did you move here? From where?
November 2012, from Bristol, Rhode Island

Where else have you lived?
I’ve only lived in Rhode Island before moving to Texas. I first moved to Carrollton, then McKinney. Now I’ve settled in Dallas and plan to stay in downtown for the foreseeable future.

What made you decide to Say Yes to Dallas?
I was relocated for work. I previously worked for Amica Mutual Insurance Company, and they have a regional office in Frisco. After I completed my training program, they offered to relocate me to one of a list of about eight cities, and I chose Frisco.

How did you choose where to live in the Dallas Region?
I first chose Carrollton, due to its proximity to my office in Frisco and its easy access to [highways] 35 and 121. At the time, I was frequently traveling to Fort Worth for work. I later moved to McKinney, but found both places to be too suburban for me. I took a new job downtown in the West End and love it there. I decided to move downtown to reduce my long commute.

What is the one thing that you could have done to make your move easier?
I probably could have scoped out neighborhoods and done more research beforehand. There were a lot of interesting things I didn’t know about when I first moved here that I have learned along the way.

How has your opinion of the Dallas Region changed since moving here?
I didn’t quite know what to expect (politically, culturally, weather, anything…) when I moved here, but I’ve found the Dallas Region to be a wonderful place to grow my career and really establish myself professionally. I’ve switched jobs twice and landed a career that I love. Ironically, I find myself more passionate about Dallas culture and history than many folks who have lived here their entire lives.

Tell us about your city/neighborhood. What do you like best? What makes it different?
I LOVE DOWNTOWN. No, seriously. I’m sad that someone coined the #mydtd hashtag before I did. Moving downtown was the best decision I’ve ever made. I never thought of myself as a city person (I grew up on a farm in rural Rhode Island), but I’ve enjoyed my time here. I love Klyde Warren Park and can be frequently found there doing work on my laptop, hanging out after a trip to The Nasher, or doing yoga on the weekend. I spend ample time in Deep Ellum, at the Farmer’s Market, and end many nights at The Midnight Rambler.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to move here?
Do it! Dallas is full of the kindest people who want to see others succeed. The “go get ’em” mentality here is contagious; it’s certainly a high-powered community and culture that encourages — and almost demands —success. People here are learning, growing, failing, and trying to learn along the way. The heat is something to get used to, and the weather can be crazy, but overall it’s been a very rewarding place for me, both personally and professionally.

What is your passion, and how does Dallas help fulfill it?
My passion is helping people and creating community. I work closely with the startup and tech communities in my current role, and those help me fulfill that. There’s always an event to plan or attend, someone trying to create or build or explore something, and I love helping in any way that I can. It’s fantastic when you can connect others with what they need and watch them bloom as a result of it.

What would you miss most about the area if you had to leave?
I would miss the culture and community. I love living and working downtown and running into friends and colleagues while doing so. Dallas is huge, but I feel it is incredible and unique for downtown to be that small; it feels like it did back in Rhode Island.

Tell us about the work environment here.
I moved downtown so I would no longer have a long work commute (although DART made it easier when it was near me). I now live about three blocks away from work, which is amazing.

Where do you go and what do you do on the weekends or days off?
I frequently go for runs out at White Rock Lake or bike rides on the trails around town. I’ll go up north to McKinney to visit the town square, head to a movie at Alamo Drafthouse, visit a park, or go to Oak Cliff or Trinity Groves for brunch or dinner. I like to take weekend trips to explore Fort Worth as well; I recently visited TCU’s beautiful campus.

What is your favorite restaurant?
This is a tough one! I love Meddlesome Moth and Si Tapas. Emporium Pies deserves a mention as well. I recently tried Town Hearth, and it was incredible!

What is your favorite outdoor activity, and where is your favorite place to do it?
Running at White Rock Lake or doing the Dallas Critical Mass bike ride.

Where do you go to experience culture? Why do you like it?
Everywhere! Deep Ellum is great, especially the arts festival, and the Farmer’s Market is fantastic. Dallas is a diverse city, which I love.

What is your favorite festival/event?
Homegrown Fest at Main St. Garden Park.

Where do you like to shop? Why?
I’m not really a big shopper, but I usually do my Christmas shopping around Bishop Arts and in the McKinney Square. Small businesses, for the win.

Who is your local hero? Why?
I would have to say Kryd Boyd from Think on KERA. I love listening to her interviews and envy her job.

Where do you feel you are nearest to your “tribe” in the Dallas Region?
Downtown and Deep Ellum.

How do you interact with your community?
By walking everywhere and talking to everyone. I share everything going on with people to get them involved. I work as a volunteer Brand Ambassador for 91.7 KXT (an independent radio station), and that helps me stay connected with the music and arts scenes. Work keeps me connected with tech and startups. I’m a member of the downtown residents’ groups and try to stay up with what’s going on. Basically, I show up—that’s how I stay involved.

Do you travel often? Easier or harder to do here?
Yes! Easier; two airports — I actually love DFW airport even though it’s a bit farther away.

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