While some might find it scary entering the work world right after college, Beka Adair embraces being one of the youngest employees at her organization.
After graduating from Colorado College in 2016 and interning at the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC for three months, Adair was offered the first economic analyst position at the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC last August.
Adair’s role varies each day, she said, but over the past year she has gained valuable experience working on several projects for the organization.
One of these projects included co-creating and directing choosecoloradosprings.com, a website that provides outside employers with information on the Springs workforce, housing, schools and lifestyle.
Most of what she works on revolves around workforce and talent-attraction issues, she said.
“That’s been my job,” Adair said. “And also connecting with the entrepreneurial community and making sure they have all the resources they need.”
In addition to her projects, Adair spent nine months investing in the community by going to local professional and entrepreneurial events.
Adair graduated with a bachelor’s in economics and a minor in Russian. She moved to Colorado Springs from Houston in 2012 to pursue her degree in economics, a field that runs in the family. Though born in Dallas, she lived in Kyrgyzstan from 1996 to 2006 with her parents.
She stumbled upon Colorado College after taking an annual trip to Estes Park for a family reunion in 2010, and applied for admission a year later.
Adair spoke with the Business Journal about her role at the Chamber & EDC, what she likes about working in Colorado Springs and what she would tell other young professionals who want to work here.
What do you like about working at the Chamber & EDC?
I enjoy that my job is never the same any day. New projects come up all the time; it’s never just one thing for an extended period of time. I’ve gotten to meet people that do everything and I’ve really enjoyed that. Right now we’re working on this startup accelerator; I had no idea what went into that, but now I know something. Or creating a website. I had no idea of what goes into that, so I just get to learn new things all the time and I love that.
What do you like about working in Colorado Springs?
I love that I can walk into a coffee place or a restaurant and know people. It’s the coolest feeling ever. I was always kind of drawn to the idea of a small town, like “The Andy Griffith Show” … and that’s what it is here.
In Colorado Springs right now, young people are being listened to in a different way than at least I’ve heard before. The way I describe it to people, especially when I’m talking to students about Colorado Springs, is: You can go to Denver, you can go to San Francisco or Austin and be one in 100 million young people trying to change the world, but in Colorado Springs you’re one in a relative few who are very involved. To have that kind of say and influence — that’s a really special thing and I don’t think you get that everywhere. In Colorado Springs, you can be part of a changing city, and that’s really exciting to me.
How would you describe Colorado Springs economic standing?
I learned there’s a lot more to it than I ever dreamed, especially in the art and culture world. … You’re not going to have a 100,000-person concert, but that’s not ever what I’ve liked anyway.
Obviously [Colorado Springs is] growing crazy fast. Just new things, new businesses, new opportunities are popping up all the time. It’s kind of intimidating, but I think it’s exciting too. Especially to be part of this city as it’s figuring itself out.
What advice would you give to other young professionals?
Beyond just being intentional about getting to know people, it feels in this city like everyone wants to support young professionals. Just ask for what you want and ask for what you need, and people will be there and they will support you. I haven’t lived in a ton of communities. I’m not sure how it works everywhere, but here people are always incredibly accommodating and gracious with their time and their resources — so just ask.