Hundreds of articles and thousands of words have been written about the supposed “brain drain” that has been afflicting small communities throughout the Great Lakes region. Always with a negative slant, these articles talk about how these communities are losing young people to larger towns and slowly dying. But the narrative is changing.
Buffalo was one of those towns that was supposed to be dying. But something happened after the journalists filed their stories and went back to the major cities they call home. The people of Buffalo did not quit. Once shuttered factories and warehouses have been converted to new housing options, restaurants and bars filling the vacant ground floors. Businesses are finding and hiring young local talent that views Buffalo as not just a line on a resume or a way-station to bigger and better things, but a place to call home.
Recently The Buffalo News profiled young leaders from six industries across the Upstate New York region. Each one tells a different story of pride in the town they call home. Ten years ago, many people had left towns like Buffalo for dead, but these individuals made an active choice to participate in their community and to build a life for themselves. From creative design firms to new manufacturing centers, individuals are working together to create a new narrative. One of revitalization. One of rebirth. One of hope.
This new generation of leaders is reminding people that you don’t get to choose where you were born, but you do get to choose where you are from. These leaders are proud to say they are from Buffalo.