As the marketing and promotions coordinator for the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority, Hannah Surrett delights in publicizing the wide away of downtown happenings and initiatives.
"I joined the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority in July of 2017, and it has been such a fun year," she said. "My favorite thing about my role is how versatile it is. I get the opportunity to meet so many interesting people, wear a variety of hats and learn something new every day. I feel like I’ve learned so much about business, local government and life since I started working here.
"Graduating from college, I knew I wanted two things out of a job: I wanted to do actual marketing — not sales — and I wanted to work for an organization that improved the world in some way. One of my friends forwarded me the job description, and upon reading it, it seemed like the perfect fit. It was in the marketing realm, and the purpose of the DDA really spoke to me. I applied, and here we are."
Name: Hannah Surrett
Occupation (title): Marketing and promotions coordinator
City of residence: Cartersville
Education: Cartersville High School, 2013; University of Georgia, Bachelor in Business Administration in Marketing and Communication Studies, 2017
The Daily Tribune News (DTN): Regarding the business climate, what percentage of the downtown businesses are occupied? Describe the range of businesses and what do you feel attracts a business to open in downtown Cartersville?
HS: Downtown is about 96 percent occupied, and continues to grow. We have such an amazing range of businesses down here. We have some incredible boutiques who sell merchandise ranging from fine jewelry, to clothes, to olive oils, home goods, pet supplies, etc. Our restaurant industry is unmatched. There is something for every taste bud in downtown Cartersville. We have Thai food, Mediterranean food, classic diners, fine dining, coffee shops, grab-and-go and more. We also have some amazing attractions, like two museums, the Welcome Center, Young Brothers Pharmacy, public art. … Lastly, we have such a robust service industry in downtown Cartersville. There are tons of hair salons, photography studios, art classes, accountants, dance studios and on [and on]. Downtown Cartersville is truly an amazing and thriving place. I think businesses are attracted to downtown Cartersville because it’s the heart of local business in the community.
DTN: What are some of the upcoming programs/events that the DDA will offer the community, and provide details about one that you are most excited about.
HS: I have three things that I’m super excited about. The sixth annual [Cartersville] Bluegrass & Folk Festival is the next event coming up on Oct. 20. This is our biggest event of the year, and we plan it all yearlong. It’s definitely a team effort — shout out to my Bluegrass Committee — but so worth the end result. Last year was my first Bluegrass [festival] to plan and attend, and it was so cool seeing all of the hours and hours you put into something coming to fruition in the form of an all-day festival with thousands of people attending.
We are currently working on a health and wellness initiative, and this one really plays on my heartstrings because it’s something I’m passionate about. In light of recent events reflective on poor mental health in our society, I pushed to have health and wellness be a focus for the DDA back in February. I really want Bartow County to be a mentally and physically healthy place, with downtown Cartersville being the catalyst to healthy living with programs, guides, resources, etc. for residents to turn to, to pursue a healthy lifestyle. We’re still in the planning stages with trying to figure out how we want to proceed with this, but we have some things in the works that I’m very excited about.
Another [initiative] that we have been working on is art, and as of this week, one of my favorite pieces is being installed downtown. My inner millennial was dying watching the interactive mural being installed in the plaza — aka wings for people to pose in front of and post on Instagram. I can’t wait for them to be finished so I can be basic and get the first picture.
DTN: What is your favorite event that the DDA presents, and why?
HS: The Pub Crawls are my favorite events to plan because I feel like they’re very on trend. They’re also super fun to attend and pretty easy to plan. This year, we’re doing silicone cups instead of T-shirts and I really felt like we moved up in the world with that shift.
DTN: What do you feel sets Cartersville apart from other downtowns?
HS: The people. Truly. I have met some of the most intelligent, kind, forward-thinking, coolest people I know in my position. The business acumen downtown is second to none, and I’m always turning to the downtown business owners for advice. There are some really incredible people down here.
DTN: What is your greatest professional and/or personal achievement?
HS: Being on an intramural inner-tube water polo team in college doesn’t count, right? In all seriousness, and as cliché as it sounds, graduating from college is probably my greatest achievement. It was the hardest, most challenging — also most fun — four years of my life.
DTN: If you were not in your line of work, what would you like to do?
HS: Something in the NGO [nongovernmental organization] or nonprofit sector. I’m interested in human rights/civil rights and environmentalism, so I would probably work for a large nonprofit, like the World Wildlife Fund, or an organization, like the United Nations. I’m really interested in diplomacy and policy work.
DTN: How would you describe yourself in three words?
HS: Ambitious, empathetic and silly.
DTN: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
HS: That’s a hard one. I’m basically an open book. People are usually surprised to find out that I lived in South Korea for a year when I was in elementary school. I attended Taejon Christian International School — Go Dragons! Sadly, I don’t know any Korean. It’s one of my life dreams to live abroad again.
DTN: What is the best advice you have ever received?
HS: “Decide with your heart, and you’ll never make a wrong decision in your life.”
DTN: What do you like to do in your spare time?
HS: I love to volunteer. I currently volunteer at The Center for Civil and Human Rights, Euharlee Welcome Center [& History] Museum and for HeadCount.org. I also love podcasts and am an avid listener in my spare time. They’re such a great tool for personal and professional development. My current favorites are The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson, NPR’s Hidden Brain, WorkLife with Adam Grant and TED Radio Hour. Besides those two things, I also love to workout, go to the movies, hang out with my friends and play with my dog.
DTN: Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?
HS: Besides downtown — or my house LOL — I think my favorite place is the little hidden walking trail that runs from the Atco baseball fields to Cherokee [Avenue]. It’s so beautiful back there, and it kind of looks like something out of a fairy tale.