Engage! Cleveland's Rising Star: Katie Virtue
Katie Virtue, this issue’s Engage! Cleveland Rising Star, has been playing ice hockey for 20 years, 14 of which were in Cleveland. If there is one thing such a tough sport can teach you, it’s how to accomplish a common goal as a team. Katie appreciates the value of competition, but she also knows that if this region is going to become an even greater place to work and play, we’ve got to work together in full force to make it happen.
Katie is a native Clevelander and in accordance with her motto, “Carpe Diem—Seize the Day,” Katie actively chooses to enjoy all of the great things Cleveland has to offer. We asked Katie what she loved about being a young professional in Cleveland. She answered, “So many things! I’m proud to be from Cleveland and to have seen the growth. I think that makes me appreciate the community even more and to be grateful for all the opportunities [there are] for a young professional. Cleveland has a small community feel within a big city. I love the diversity in culture, the arts, the sports teams—I am never at a loss for something to do.” That growth is partially due to the enthusiasm of young professionals like her!
Katie’s involvement does not end with her efforts to engage in Cleveland’s culture. Katie also works as a Manager of Category Development at Corporate United, a membership organization with Cleveland roots. She is involved with three different young professional organizations in town: Beta Gamma Sigma (a business student honors society), Cleveland Leadership Center (its iCleveland Program), and Entrepreneur’s EDGE (the Edge Fellow Program). It’s clear that our Rising Star has a passion for working collectively to improve the region whether through communal business actions or the collaboration of leadership and ideas. She states, “What’s great about Cleveland is that it embraces young professionals, especially those who, like me, want and make an effort to be involved. Cleveland makes you feel like you can make a difference and that you can contribute to the growth.”
With her experiences working among many different organizations and businesses in the city, it makes sense that the one thing Katie would like to change is the region’s reliance on its east side, west side, and downtown divisions. She suggests we “view ourselves as one great big region with an awesome downtown as well as vibrant and unique suburbs. I live on the west side,” she says, “but I care very much about what happens downtown and on the east side because it is all a part of Cleveland and I love to venture all over.” It makes sense to us! The more people who begin to venture to new places in the region, support local businesses, and have great experiences with others in the community, the stronger our community will grow.
Katie Virtue’s region-wide focus is what makes her Engage! Cleveland’s Rising Star.