Female Athletes in The Land: Deja Jackson 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.

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Get to know Deja Jackson, Cleveland Fusion player.

Q: Where do you work and what are your favorite parts about your role?

A: I currently work for WSP, an engineering consulting firm located in Downtown Cleveland. In my role as a Traffic Engineer and Transportation Planner for the Cleveland office, I get to enjoy the best of both worlds regarding transportation. Not only am I able to come up with solutions to improve the built environment that influences the way we move, but I also get to engage and work with communities, stakeholders, and others at the local, regional, state, and federal level to make sure that the necessities to move people and goods are safely and efficiently in place.

Q: How long have you lived in CLE & what brought you here?

A: It’s been just over one year since I’ve moved to Cleveland for work. Although work may have brought me here, I’m confident that the culture and endless opportunities will most certainly keep me here.

Q: What do you love most about CLE?

A: I love the fact that there is always something to do here!

Q: What’s your go-to local spot (restaurant, brewery, attraction, etc.) to take your friends or out-of-towners?

A: Whenever I have my friends come from out of town to visit me, I always make sure The Flats is on the list. I enjoy going to Punch Bowl Social and eating out in the Flats as well as in Euclid.

Q: What’s your favorite hidden gem or best-kept secret about Cleveland?

A: I would definitely say that one of my favorite hidden gems is the B Stone Bar & Grill in Euclid. They hands down have the best wings in the area.

Q: What does your ideal CLE weekend look like?

A: My ideal Cleveland weekend is normally spent exploring the random festivals in Cleveland such as the upcoming American Dance and InCuya Music Festivals.

Q: Tell me a little more about your lifestyle – do you live the suburban or city life? Buy or rent? Take public transportation? Hobbies or interests?

A: Right now, I’m living the city life, renting an apartment downtown. I do have my car, but I make a point to utilize the downtown trolleys as often as possible since I live and work downtown. In my free time, I trade foreign currencies (forex), cryptocurrencies, stocks, and options as well as explore other entrepreneurial endeavors.

Q: What is your favorite CLE tradition or memory?

A: I really liked the Christmas display and ice skating rink at Public Square during the holidays. Being from such a warm climate in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina, Saint Helena Island, to be exact, it’s not very often that I see an ice skating rink or even snow.

Q: Where do you see CLE in 5 years?

A: I think Cleveland is primed to attract more young professionals within the next five years due to all the new development downtown, as well as the all the Tier-1 events Cleveland will be hosting within the next 5 years such as the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, the 2020 NFL Draft, and 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend. I also think Cleveland is beginning to become a player in the national tech industry given the interest expressed by affluent local businessmen in Blockchain technology.

Q: What do you think is going to be a game changer for the city?

A: I think all the upcoming commercial real estate being developed downtown will be a game changer for the city as it will attract more companies looking to hire young, bright individuals which should result in a positive influx of millennials and movers and shakers.

Q: What is something that is missing from our community that you would love to see implemented?

A: Maybe it’s the planner in me, but one thing I’d like to see in Cleveland is more economic, social, cultural, and racial diversity. For Cleveland to be among the major metro areas, I don’t recall seeing people from various walks of life living, interacting, and mingling amongst themselves. Considering this, I think it would be nice to see more mixed-income housing developments and communities that offer a variety of amenities to support healthy, stable mixed-income communities.

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 that Cleveland is definitely a great place to learn, grow, thrive and meet people due to the relatively low cost of living compared to the national average, and that allows smart, aspiring young professionals to all be in the same place without breaking the bank.

 
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If you’re interested in learning more about the Cleveland Fusion women’s football team, please contact outreach@clevelandfusion.com.