Once a month, a recent transplant to NE Ohio will share their insights. Their before & after impressions of our region, why they settled where they did and their favorite new favorite local spots.
Kelia & Will Furr, transplants to Cleveland for Will’s job with KeyCorp
(As told by Keila) Background My husband, Will, and I are both from North Carolina. We met in college while pursuing our undergraduate degrees at UNC Charlotte, both earning Bachelors of Science in business administration. I began my career in higher education administration at Queens University of Charlotte in the admission office at the McColl School of Business. While working at Queens, I earned a Master of Arts in organizational communication. Will’s career began with Bank of America in Charlotte, NC in 2001. With the bank, he moved to Chicago, IL and pursued his MBA at the University of Chicago in 2003 and then moved to Boston, MA. Will and I were married one year after his Boston relocation, and I began working at Harvard Business School in executive education. Will’s position with Bank of America eventually transferred us back to the headquarters in Charlotte. After a few years, Will decided to make a career move and accepted a position with Regions Financial in Birmingham, AL, and I began working at Samford University. Will’s initial conversations with KeyCorp began in early summer 2012. Our process – beginning with exploration, going through the offer and culminating in acceptance – took a few months, but Will began his current role in November 2012. Two years later, Will is thoroughly enjoying his job, we have renovated a home we love, we met an incredible group of friends and we celebrated the birth of our son, Colton!
Your initial thoughts when you heard you might be relocating to Cleveland? I was somewhat anxious. I had never been to Cleveland. I had fallen in love with Birmingham, had poured myself into my job and had made amazing friends in an outstanding community. Being from North Carolina, I am drawn to warm weather, sunny days and southern charm. After initial discussions about possibly relocating, I went to MapQuest and calculated the miles between Ohio and North Carolina, where our families live. The search returned a 9.5 hour drive! Then, I checked flights and found there was a direct flight from Cleveland to Charlotte for a reasonable price. Things were looking up! My first thoughts about moving to a colder climate and starting over again in a place where we didn’t know anyone were overwhelming. But, I knew that if Will was passionate about this position, I would support him 100 percent and make the move. Plus, I kept reminding myself that if I had never given Birmingham a chance when he presented that option, I would have significantly missed out on some highlights that have occurred in my life.
Describe your experience with Executive Arrangements: Will and I planned our trip to Cleveland for his second round of interviews and to explore the city with Executive Arrangements. The EA staff was incredibly friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable about the area. They showed us key attractions in Cleveland; introduced us to various beautiful neighborhoods; and highlighted the MetroParks, shopping centers, schools, hospitals, etc. For lunch that day, EA arranged for a guest, Allison, to join us. Allison grew up in Cleveland. After moving away for college and work, she returned home. Allison was around my age and newly married. We had great conversations at lunch, and she answered many of my questions about living in Cleveland. Will and I were both pleasantly surprised with our first impressions of Cleveland. At the end of our visit, I remember we both said, ‘we could definitely see ourselves living in Cleveland.’ We were impressed by EA, their professionalism and the way they structured our visit. EA did a phenomenal job selecting individuals who had something in common with us (whether it was age, lifestyle, career path, etc.) to share their experiences and thoughts about Cleveland.
How has EA helped as you settled in to Cleveland? EA served as an imperative initial contact and helped to create a positive and welcoming first impression of Cleveland. They were extremely easy to work with, and they provided us with necessary tools, which enabled us to turn Cleveland into a place we are happy to call home. After we moved to Cleveland, I periodically called EA with questions regarding various resources in the city. They were always generous in providing tips that eased my transition. A few months after our relocation, EA hosted an event at a staff member’s house. The event was wonderful and allowed newcomers to connect and ask EA staff a variety of questions about the area. At the event, I even met someone who invited me to join her weekly bible study group. This connection alone has been instrumental in my life. I also reconnected with my EA lunch guest, Allison, and we were thrilled to learn we were both going to be in the same Junior League of Cleveland new member class. Fast-forward almost two years later, and Allison and I have both had baby boys who are 7 weeks apart. In addition to Allison, I have met a phenomenal group of friends who all have young children. I treasure our friendships and the countless hours we have spent playing with the children and providing each other with the support and advice new moms desire. One of the friends in the group, Jackie, recently moved to Cleveland from Chicago with her husband. Will and I served as coffee hosts for them via Executive Arrangements during their first exploration visit to Cleveland. And now, they are EA alums too!
Your favorite Cleveland finds? One of our favorite places in Cleveland is Chagrin Falls. It’s a charming little town with restaurants, shopping, a park, a farmers market, waterfalls and much more. I have enjoyed spending time in Chagrin Falls alone and with my family and friends. And, it has been great to experience it during all four seasons of the year!