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TCYP Member Spotlight – Brittany VanderBeek

What is your day job?
I work for Hagerty as the Impact Manager where I lead the company’s corporate citizenship strategy, including corporate giving, volunteerism, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and innovation initiatives.

How long have you lived in the Grand Traverse area?
I moved to Traverse City in late February 2020 for my new job with Hagerty, two weeks before the world as we knew it completely changed due to the pandemic. I am a Michigan native from the suburbs of Detroit who regularly visited Traverse City for the past 20+ years and most recently to visit my mom who moved to the area in 2015.

What is your favorite thing about living and working in the Traverse City area?
My favorite thing is the access to beautiful nature every day and all four seasons, whether it is a run on the TART Trail, a hike at the Sleeping Bear Dunes, paddle boarding on Lake Michigan, or cross country skiing at Hickory Hills. The pandemic has emphasized the importance of being near nature like we are lucky to be here in Traverse City.

What do you do for fun?
I enjoy running with the Traverse City Track Club, hiking the many local trails and parks, outdoor fitness boot camps through Hagerty’s TC Ironworks, yoga through Yen Yoga, and I am newly trying HIIT workouts at Lux Body and joining a GT Social Sports kickball team. I also am a foodie and love to experience the many unique restaurants, wineries, and breweries in the Traverse City area. As a new local Northern Michigander, I am always up to try new things to learn about the fun up north, whether it is shopping at the local farmers markets, picking flowers at Old Mission Flowers, fishing, searching for Petoskey stones, winter river rafting, and beyond. I embrace living everyday like a traveler to learn about the beautiful surroundings and people in the area.

How do you get involved in the community?
I enjoy participating in the monthly volunteer and networking activities through TCYPs and Hagerty, often connected to 20Fathoms, the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Center, TART Trails, United Way, the Commission on Aging, and Father Fred. I volunteer as an English as a Second Language Tutor through Networks Northwest. I also serve as a representative of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation Community Development Coalition and Traverse Connect and I am a member/owner of Commongrounds.

What is your favorite local business and why?
It is not easy for me to pick just one as I appreciate and admire so many local businesses. A few favorite places are:

  • Good Harbor Coffee: I could drink Coconut Crème Iced Coffee every day!
  • Cherry Republic: The perfect representation of what makes Northern Michigan special – the best treats and additions to any recipe, top-notch customer service, and fun new products every time I visit!
  • Bowers Harbor Vineyards: I love the Claret wine and have an old BHV barrel that has French origin and has traveled with me as I have moved throughout the country.
  • Suttons Bay Ciders: The best view on Leelanau Peninsula. I love to blend the cherry and jalapeno ciders.
  • Jolly Pumpkin: The sours paired with chips are the perfect Tuesday night for Mug Club. I love the history and beautiful views from Old Mission Peninsula.
  • Horizon Books: The most relaxing bookstore that takes me back in time.
  • Nifty Things: My favorite gift store. I can’t leave there without laughing.
  • Haystacks: The perfect iron-free skirts for business travel!
  • The Exchange: My favorite place to try new fashion trends.
  • Mama Lu’s: The fish tacos and street corn paired with margaritas are second to none!
  • The Cook’s House: I am blown away by the quaint farm-to-table dining experience.
  • Good Bowl: I love to try new Vietnamese dishes every time I visit and am inspired by the commitment to local, national and international charities through donations provided with every bowl purchased.
  • Slabtown Burgers: My life changed after first trying an olive burger.
  • Slabtown Cookies: An amazing farm stand with my favorite treat – cookies! Euchre Night is my favorite one.
  • Charles & Reid: Can’t forget my Detroit roots and I love to go there for my Detroit-style pizza fix!

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
The weirdest job I had was tutoring high school chemistry over the summer while I was an undergraduate business student. I had no lab materials and had to help the student with a chemistry textbook only. It definitely made me think of creative ways to teach a subject outside of my expertise!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I have traveled to 27 countries. I studied Spanish as part of my undergraduate program and French as part of my IMBA program, which enabled me to study abroad in Europe twice and travel to South America. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about the amazing world around us and to be able to apply what I learned from travel into my daily life and interactions with others.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Celebrating Earth Week, I am learning that business and political leaders are now taking sustainability more seriously than ever. The global pandemic has demonstrated that natural events, whether a virus or climate change, can completely disrupt economic and social systems. I am grateful to work in sustainable business where I can be part of the solution and collaborate with other community leaders to tackle global challenges.

How can other TCYP members support you?
Connect with me! I’d love to continue to meet more people in the area as we slowly open more events this summer.