UpDayton is proud to announce its new Executive Director, Lauren White, who replaces former Director, AJ Ferguson. Lauren is a Dayton, Ohio native and the co-founder of Indigo Life Media, an entertainment network and media agency, and a founding member of Nucleus Co-share, a nonprofit co-working space located in the Oregon District.
Lauren’s passion for giving back and her tireless work creating video and film to share local stories of hope and recovery make her the perfect fit for UpDayton. "I am very excited to have Lauren on board as our new Executive Director” says Board Chair, Michelle Ton. “We have full confidence in her ability to help drive our vision for UpDayton and to continue its growth into the next 10 years!"
Lauren hopes to see UpDayton become the go-to resource for unleashing young professional talent and continuing to be a network of support and excitement where former project leaders re-engage to support those up and coming.
Get to know Lauren and her passion for Dayton.
Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you lived in Dayton?
I grew up in the Dayton region and came back shortly after college. I live and breathe community and connection. I am also an entrepreneur.
Are you involved with other nonprofits or local organizations in Dayton?
I choose to be laser-focused in my commitments so I am effectively contributing. The main organization I give of my time and support is FOA Families of Addicts with marketing and occasional event planning.
What is it about Dayton that inspires you?
The people always make a place what it is. In Dayton the smallest idea is greeted with tons of enthusiastic energy. That to me is special. Everyone in Dayton can make a difference.
Why did you decide to take on this position?
I had recently moved back to Dayton and was the classic cynic who wanted to just leave for a big city that had more going on. Then I was invited to the 2013 summit. This guy kindly greeted me to ask what I wanted to be up to. After I told him my desire to move away from Dayton he kindly said, “Well we’re all here to create the Dayton we want. What would you change?” It was a pretty profound moment where I awoke to my potential in helping make the city what I wanted instead of thinking that was outside my control.
What support do you want to see from the community? How would you like to see them get involved?
Show up. Share your ideas, visions, needs. Support others in their endeavors with excitement. Embrace any risk or potential failure. Turn your complaint into solutions. Dare to try.
What are some of your favorite UpDayton projects? Present or past?
Dayton Inspires is my favorite because of how simple and effective it is. It’s a project that has an evergreen lifespan where people continuously feel part of it through the murals or hashtag. Even celebrities who visit take their photo at the mural!
What do you feel is the biggest misperception of Dayton and how would UpDayton change that perception?
People think Dayton doesn’t have anything going for itself. I hear people defend Dayton by talking about our rich history. While our history is great, I want to see us live into the future of Dayton through UpDayton projects. Dayton is a city where everyone can make a difference.