KBIA Ambassador: Week 4 in Review

 In Community

Another eventful week with the Kleinburg BIA is behind me now and there’s quite a bit of stuff I want to talk about – especially because this week marks the halfway point of my time here.

As I have detailed before, a great deal of my life working in the BIA involves being outside – whether that is talking to people and business owners, gardening or during my observational periods where I make note of things I find interesting around the area.

Unfortunately, this was the first week where I genuinely came to regret how often I was outside. On Sunday night, I checked the forecast for the week and saw predictions for rain from Monday to Friday. After being outside so much the previous three weeks, I was pleasantly surprised to see a break from the heat in the forecast.

However, as this week’s weather has really shown, the forecast from Sunday night could not have been more wrong. After initially thinking that I might get a day of relaxation doing paperwork inside the Kline House, what ended up happening this week was the complete opposite. This week I spent the majority of my time gardening on Nashville or Islington and running a survey around to all the different businesses within the borders. Along with some periodic breaks, I spent a large portion of my week out and about, which felt awful at week’s end. I love my job, I really do, but the forecast could not have been less helpful this week.

To talk a little more about what I did this week, beyond doing the tasks I have become accustomed to, I also co-created and distributed a business owner survey – which was a uniquely interesting responsibility for me. After drafting the survey questions and creating it on survey monkey, I sent it to some of my BIA colleagues for editing and approval. Then, after making some changes, I printed them off and started distributing them around town. Since many business owners did not have interest in the BIA, they did not know what the survey was for and I had some people who were reluctant to answer the questions. Beyond that, I even had one business owner complain that the BIA needed to be dissolved, which was a criticism that I was not prepared to deal with right away. After noting that I was just a summer student here, the owner asked me to pass on the message to the rest of the BIA and we went our separate ways. For those interactions, this survey process was an extremely significant part of my week here with the BIA.

As I noted at the beginning of my post, this week also marks the middle of my tenure here. For that reason, I wanted to take a little time to reflect on my four weeks here and look forward to my second half in this position.

As I reflect on my first four weeks, I can confidently say that I am now confident in my skills within this position and I am completely comfortable in the role I have been given. Barring situations like the one I described above, with the owner who effectively saw no purpose in my organization, my experience to date with the BIA has been smooth sailing. I love talking to people on the street and business owners in their stores because it gives me a great chance to get to know the area and get diverse opinions on a lot of pertinent issues around Kleinburg – including why business seems to be suffering and how to potentially remedy this problem. I also really enjoy gardening (most of the time, anyways) because I can see firsthand why people may not be attracted to the area visually and I enjoy being part of trying to change that. On top of that, I obviously really love the survey and data collection responsibilities encompassed in this position, simply because I enjoy working with numbers and solid statistical data to figure things out. All in all, as I have constantly reiterated during my time here, I love my job.

Looking forward, I am hopeful for what new challenges this position will provide for me. There has been no such thing as an “average” or “typical” day here with the BIA so I remained excited that I will experience new and unexpected things in my next four weeks here. Will there be a big sale put on by one of the retailers here, giving me a unique opportunity to talk to people during a day of atypically high traffic? Will I have another unexpected run in with a disgruntled store owner or member of the public that presents a different challenge for me? To speculate about the endless possibilities for the next four weeks is out of the scope of this blog post but in short, I am extremely excited about what the second half of my tenure may hold for me.

Overall, week four with the BIA was another crazy one, filled with some great experiences, some hot weather and some rather unnerving experiences that all have made this job so much fun for me. Again, in all, I really look forward to the future here for me and hopefully it lives up to everything these past four weeks have been for me.

Until next week,

Vimal Sivakumar

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