Female Athletes in The Land: Elise Bigley of Cleveland Fusion
There’s a reason we’re called Believeland. Cleveland is a city with so much pride and passion for its sports. While you’re likely to find residents gearing up for a game in their Browns, Indians or Cavs apparel (or maybe all three!) before heading out to cheer at First Energy Stadium, Progressive Field or Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, did you know there’s also a number of other teams right here in The Land?
As a young professional in Cleveland, you have the opportunity to do more than just cheer on your favorite teams. One local organization, Cleveland Fusion, is a full-tackle women’s football team that recruits females of all age ranges and experience levels. To learn more about staff and players on the team, we sat down with them for a Q&A session and discovered how they're not only big fans of our sports teams, but Cleveland as a whole.
Get to know Elise Bigley, Director of Marketing at Cleveland Fusion and former player.
Q: Where do you work and what are your favorite parts about your role?
A: I work full-time at Tremco Inc. doing videography, photography, and social media. I also do digital marketing and community outreach for the Cleveland Fusion women’s football team. My favorite part about these roles is getting to meet new people and sharing their unique stories.
Q: How long have you lived in CLE and what brought you here?
A: I moved to Cleveland from Pittsburgh in 2012 to attend Baldwin Wallace University. When I graduated in 2016, I landed an internship with Tremco which transitioned into a full-time position, so I decided to stick around!
Q: What do you love most about CLE?
A: I love that there is always something new to see or do in Cleveland. From restaurants to sports to music to the outdoors, there is always something new to try. Cleveland is also a really accepting city, so I’ve found myself welcomed in my communities and encouraged to be an advocate for the causes I care about.
Q: How does Cleveland compare to other cities where you’ve visited or lived?
A: I feel like Cleveland is the perfect combination of big city and small town. The people are down-to-earth and friendly, and there’s only just a few degrees of separation between people which makes networking easy. The city is relatively easy to navigate, affordable, and there’s lots of things to do. But the city is big enough, too, that I consistently meet new people, and big talent is drawn here.
Q: What neighborhood do you live in and why do you love it?
A: I rent an apartment Lyndhurst which offers suburban privacy and comfort with lots of shops and entertainment nearby. I love having green space while also being close to the highway to visit friends who live in other parts of town.
Q: What’s your go-to local spot (restaurant, brewery, attraction, etc.) to take your friends or out-of-towners?
A: Barrio and Melt are my go-to restaurants to bring my out-of-town friends and family. I also love checking out local coffee joints like Nervous Dog or Phoenix Coffee for a latte and good conversation. Cleveland’s hidden gem is my favorite Vietnamese spot, Minh Anh. Best pho in Northeast Ohio!
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do/areas to visit in Cleveland during your free time or on the weekends?
A: One of my favorite past-times is checking out one of the local bars’ trivia nights. It brings together a unique group of people to drink and learn something new! When the weather is nice, I love exploring the various Metroparks or if the time is right, walking around the Cleveland Flea! There’s also a lot of great sports to watch (or even play) in Cleveland beyond just the major league teams that make for great entertainment too. Cleveland Women’s Sports offers a lot of affordable, sometimes FREE, family fun on a weekend afternoon or evening.
Q: What is your favorite CLE tradition or memory?
A: My favorite memory is going to PlayHouse Square with my girlfriend to see Hamilton on a Sunday afternoon. It was a great musical, of course, and we decided to check out a new Korean for an early dinner and to review our thoughts on the show. We were still in the mood to talk and hang out, so we drove a little ways to TableTop for a drink and some board games. A spontaneous addition that made for a memorable day!
Q: What do you think is going to be a game changer for the city?
A: For the city to compete and drawn in people, we need to continue to be accepting of all people. Whether that be immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, those with disabilities, or any other minority. We should lift each other up by offering easy access to necessary resources to succeed, such as improved public transportation, affordable housing, and quality education. By uniting in this effort, we will begin to break down the political and economic divides that segment other cities.
Q: Where do you see CLE in 5 years? What is your biggest hope for our city?
A: I see Cleveland expanding a lot and being a hub for young professionals and families as industries grow and open new locations in the city. My biggest hope is that the city maintains its small-town roots while building up opportunities for its locals.
Q: What would be your message/advice to other young professionals in the Cleveland community looking to grow personally and professionally?
A: My advice would be to just go outside of your comfort zone and try something new whether it’s a new exercise class, going across town to check out a new bakery, or scoping out a festival. Networking is really easy here if you’re not afraid to introduce yourself, share your interests and be open to new opportunities.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Cleveland Fusion women’s football team, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.