Community is a driving factor for Brooke Wojdynski. She believes that friends, family, and neighborhoods influence decisions. “Everything you build should be done through community because we’re fortunate enough to have such a large city that is so closely knit.” Wojdynski began her career in California, but quickly found Columbus to be a place where she could develop a nonprofit to demonstrate her commitment to her new home.“ To be able to jump into Ohio politics right out of college and be able to be running a nonprofit already is pretty awesome. I don’t think I would have ever had that opportunity if I had stayed in California.” What is of most importance is connecting with key decision-makers; the barrier to entry is so low that it is easy to get involved and make an impact. “It’s so accessible. People don’t realize that.”
What would you say about your neighborhood? What makes it stand out for you?
The Short North is a place bustling with creatives. Construction noises along with street musicians, and art on the sides of buildings and on the sidewalks—I always get energized regardless of what’s going on.
What other neighborhoods do you frequent and what would you say about them?
I am very excited about the riverfront development in Franklinton. I love to go there, get food at the food trucks, and envision a Franklinton 10 years from now. The river will have so much green space around it and I am excited for all the recreation, new businesses, and restaurants that will pop up, furthering the entrepreneurialism and community in the city.
Top three places to go in Columbus:
Goodale Park, Scioto Mile, Ohio Theatre.
Favorite event in Columbus:
Columbus Pride. Every year I am overwhelmed and inspired to see so many people, churches, organizations, and politicians from all walks of life celebrating inclusion and acceptance. I spent a couple years living in San Francisco and I just never thought I would find such a strong and vibrant LGBT and allied community in the Midwest. Columbus is a beautiful and special place. I don’t ever want to leave, and I hope to see other cities and towns take some notes from CBUS.
If you could have been the inventor of something, what would it be?
Ideally, I would be successful in doing what I am working on now with Democratic Voices—bridging the digital divide between people and politics, and lifting up everyday Ohioan’s stories, creating more understanding, shifting culture, and making lives better through grassroots organizing and policy. If I am successful in inventing a model to affect tangible change through the Internet, I would feel very fulfilled.
What inspires you?
Working moms. As a young professional, I have come to love my mama even more. She was a single mother, running her own business, and raising three kids… and she did a pretty darn good job! I can barely finish a day of work, eat, and make it to bed without having a serious struggle to get up and wash my make-up off. I don’t know how moms do it. I have so much to learn from them. I wake up everyday and think about all of these amazing powerhouse women and my own mom and know that if they can do it on top of family, mortgages, college funds, and a million other things. I can do it now while I am a YP.
Home improvement projects, dancing, life hacks, and travel.
(Editor’s note: Wojdynski was Executive Director of Democratic Voices at the time this article was originally published. She now works as Principal at Verve Creative).