Businesses are like mitochondria. They’re the powerhouses of a city.
Look, I’m no scientist. Far from it. I kind of remember 10th grade biology class, I guess. Dissecting a baby pig, for instance. That memory’s way too vivid. Honestly, though, the only real thing I remember is that mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. So, no, I don’t really speak the language of science.
I studied entrepreneurship in college. That’s the language I speak. The science of business, if you will. Prototyping, creating business models and minimum viable products, calculating break-even points, projecting financial statements, conducting feasibility analyses, building marketing plans. Innovating, creating, providing a service, telling a story. Figuring out how to piece the details together while immersed in an innovative business environment. This is really what energizes me and gives me a sense of grounded purpose. This is what I prefer to dissect.
I love connecting with the creative and analytical go-getters who make businesses and organizations tick. I love the purpose and raison d’etre behind businesses. They all have something valuable to contribute. I guess you could say these businesses are like mitochondria. They’re the powerhouses of a city.
But not only that, they’re the backbone, the lifeblood, the personality, the soul of our communities. In Duluth’s case, it boasts an impressive collective resume of innovators, creatives, champions of all sorts of causes.
This city itself is a living, breathing organism because of the people who power the businesses and organizations within it. Not to mention the trails that run like veins through the city limits. The hillside peaks in parks with heart-stopping views.
I always admired Duluth from afar. One look at this city’s DNA is proof that it’s won the gene lottery. (I mean, how could any other city compete when Duluth’s got Lake Superior?) Although I attended college in central Minnesota, I knew I wanted to wedge myself into this Northern Minnesota community. So I moved here after graduation to do just that, and landed myself at Swim. I had never pictured myself in an agency setting, but quickly learned how thrilling and meaningful it is to collaborate with the places that make the world of Duluth go round.
Swim’s clients operate in the healthcare and banking industries. They churn out hot chocolate and popcorn and beer. They run non-profits. They support tourism, travel, and recreation. They provide security and well-being to Duluth. They give the community its own unique flair and make Duluth a place worth living. They’re flat-out incredible. This is a place that you can’t help but thrive in.
When I first started my internship with Swim in January I knew I’d be contributing to a variety of marketing projects. And I certainly am. Social media, copywriting, photography, a little digital marketing here and there. Creative and brand storytelling is what Swim does best. Our story is telling your story. But I didn’t realize the extent to which this marketing position would connect me to the tourism, healthcare, non-profit, and retail industries; how it would immerse me as a community member in this way.
Then, of course, the Coronavirus hit the United States hard in March.
The science of business is changing. Many of us are now working behind the scenes at home, others working overtime. Everyone is dissecting the situation, finding ways to innovate and adapt. From our homes, Swim is still serving clients large and small; “essential” and “non-essential.” That hasn’t changed, but the ways we support them has.
Your stories and ours have a new emphasis. They matter more, in a new way.
I’m grateful for those who have continued to work to support our communities during this time. Perhaps we took “business as usual” for granted. I’m grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in participating in promoting all of our clients’ stories. I am not only energized by this work, I’m proud to back the businesses that are proving that they are the powerhouses and the soul of this community.