Twenty Under 40 Q-and-A: Communities In Schools of Nevada’s Auburn Harrison
RENO, Nev. — In November, the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network announced the winners of its annual Twenty Under 40 Awards.
We at the NNBW feel it’s important for people of all ages, background and professions to have a voice about the current state of business in Northern Nevada.
With the region’s economic future in mind, NNBW Reporter Kaleb M. Roedel is conducting a Q-and-A with each of the 2019 winners; interviews will be published throughout the year. Go to renotahoeypn.com to learn more about Reno-Tahoe YPN. Read this week’s Q-and-A below:
Q: What do you see as the top one or two biggest economic development opportunities for Northern Nevada in 2020 and beyond?
Harrison: I think, with some of the larger leading companies that are investing in our local economy, following suit with them by also investing in K-12 education. I think that’s probably the biggest opportunity. I think we have so much going for us in this community, but we have some areas that are lacking. If we can build some of that internal infrastructure, including funding for education, working on mental health, homelessness, things like that, and build up our community, I think that’s where the opportunity lies.
Q: Why is it important for younger professionals to have a seat at the table when it comes to the business community in Northern Nevada?
Harrison: I think there’s a place for everyone at the table. I think people love to throw around terms like millennials and boomers, but I think everybody brings their unique experience. Those of us who were born in the ’80s and raised in the ’90s, we have a really different perspective than those born in the last 15-20 years. I think it’s important to get everybody’s perspective. Our voice should be heard just like anyone else’s, but I don’t think it should be any louder, either.
Q: What under-the-radar industries have the biggest opportunity for growth in Northern Nevada?
Harrison: Mental health, 100%. The world is a pretty scary place right now. And I think it’s taxing humans to the point where they feel like their lives are crumbling around them. I see this all the time in the work that I do. I feel like if you want to pursue a career in mental health, you will have job security for the rest of your life, truly.
Q: Where do you see the greater Reno-Sparks region in five years?
Harrison: I think we used to be like the best-kept secret, and I think the cat’s out of the bag. And so everybody is going to want to move here and it’s going to get more hip and more modern and a more desirable awesome place. We already know it to be that, but everybody’s going to figure that out. With that comes a lot of opportunity and culture and diversity, but also some headaches. But I’m cool with those. I’ve lived in places like San Francisco and Japan. I think we have such an amazing quality of life here, and as long as we can keep that, we’ll be good.
Q: If you could change one thing for the better about your community, what would it be?
Harrison: A more open, honest discussion about mental health and access to mental health services. I think that’s the most important thing that people should focus on.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.