Interview by Sarah Shumick
Name: Pedro David Mejia
Profession: Community Relations Coordinator for the City of Columbus Department of Neighborhoods
Neighborhood: Clinton Estates in Northland
Education: B.A. in Political Science, International Relations from OSU
Quote: “When I wake up in the morning, I feel as though I have an invisible army standing behind me. I do what I do because of their support, and so that find solutions to their challenges.”
Connect: LinkedIn | Twitter
Out of college, Pedro Mejia accepted an AmeriCorps VISTA placement at the City of Columbus Department of Neighborhoods, where he now serves as Community Relations Coordinator. Mejia has worked on initiatives geared towards welcoming immigrants and the new American community to Columbus and supports initiatives to combat discrimination. As a child, Mejia wanted to be a fireman, a doctor or a lawyer and says that the kid in him would love to be a “professional tech reviewer” on YouTube. Overall, Mejia feels extremely lucky and is grateful for the support of his friends, family and fiancée. He has learned along the way to trust the advice from those who know him best, saying that they have taught him how to be “selfless in service.”
Speaking on Columbus’s neighborhoods, Mejia believes, “The vibrancy of the rich diversity in the pockets of neighborhoods across this city is challengingly beautiful. This diversity is both an indication of community challenges and a source of strength for individual identities. The pulse is that you can wear Columbus however you choose. And my pulse right now is to serve our residents so that all can share in this comfort.”
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
I am consistently astounded by how lucky I am. I feel supported daily by friends, family, and my fiancée. When I wake up in the morning, I feel as though I have an invisible army standing behind me. I do what I do because of their support, and so that find solutions to their challenges.
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
My most influential mentors along the way have been my close friends. What I am starting to realize is that the best advice comes from the people who know you the most. The advice you get from them comes from the heart. They have taught me how to be supportive and how to be selfless in service.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
Going on a run in my neighborhood helps clear my mind. I also enjoy watching mindless videos on YouTube like my pals at the Bon Appetit test kitchen. And there’s little that hanging out with your dog can’t resolve.
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
My first ambition, like many 5 year old boys, was to be a fireman. I moved onto doctor and lawyer along the way, but now the kid in me wants to be a professional tech reviewer on YouTube.
What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
Reading Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison and listening to Binge Mode, Waveform, My Brother My Brother and Me, The Weeds, the Jeselnik and Rosenthal Vanity Project (JRVP), Anthropocene Reviewed, Omnibus, Intelligence Squared Debates, Getting Curious, and Around the NFL.
What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
I am humbled at the continuous support I receive from friends and the community. It is a reassurance that the work I am invested in holds value among my peers and the community. It is a reminder that in Columbus, we thrive when we make space for the next generation, the next wave of talent. I look forward to supporting those chosen for the Next Up Columbus award in the future.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The pulse is what you make it. The vibrancy of the rich diversity in the pockets of neighborhoods across this city is challengingly beautiful. This diversity is both an indication of community challenges and a source of strength for individual identities. The pulse is that you can wear Columbus however you choose. And my pulse right now is to serve our residents so that all can share in this comfort.
The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in Central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. Special thanks to the Columbus Young Professionals Club, Discover Financial, and Zipline Logistics for their support of this awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2020” »