A Millennial Gets Her Career Footing Downtown

A young woman ignites her passion for community building and city development

 Stepping up for the cause at Gallagher Park

Stepping up for the cause at Gallagher Park

On May 8, 2017, Shanleigh Reardon waited patiently on the steps of the Burkis Square Substation as I hustled back from a meeting with government officials.   I was excited to meet this Framingham State University student, who had responded to an internship posting for an outreach and engagement intern.   Over a year later, Shanleigh’s passion for Downtown Framingham, Inc. rapidly evolved, and she was now a full-time project manager, overseeing the duties of three other interns. 

A native of Mendon who cut her career teeth at the Southwick Zoo, Shanleigh understood the initiative required to run a successful zoo and meet the needs of visitors and animals alike.    Back then, Shanleigh’s comprehension of program management translated into hard work that produced quality deliverables.  

 Networking at Howard Street Studios

Networking at Howard Street Studios

From pounding sidewalks for business-based events to making a promotional video for the Summer Haze, Shanleigh was more than eager to build business, community, and culture.  Whether pulling weeds in 90-degree heat at the Pratt Street Community Garden or building meticulous Google maps to illustrate open spaces, dining venues, and parking spots, Shanleigh repeatedly delivered a valuable impact.

DFI gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about all different aspects of nonprofit management and community development. I will definitely carry these perspectives through my future work!
— Shanleigh Reardon, former DFI Project Manager

Shanleigh’s unparalleled initiative to write articles, post catchy social media updates, and create event flyers was a major administrative lift for a non-profit organization charged to support business development, area promotions, urban design and placemaking, and sustain organizational partnerships. 

 Spreading good cheer at Framingham's Flag Day Parade

Spreading good cheer at Framingham's Flag Day Parade

Shanleigh would not have been quite so successful at DFI if it weren’t for her outgoing, down-to-earth attitude and truly authentic personality.    The confluence of these traits helped Downtown Framingham, Inc. take on more and more initiatives.  Her devotion to responsible program management created a platform for new interns like Bobby Mitchell to carve out specific support niches in business technical assistance and MBA-candidate Richard Sanger to focus on developing policy goals and implementation plans.

Shanleigh also practiced the fine art of acknowledging her energy limits and stress management while she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications at Framingham State University in May 2018.  The discipline of relaxation can be a challenge for passionate people in any workforce sector! 

 Sprucing up the Pearl Street Garage

Sprucing up the Pearl Street Garage

To the young lady who found painting the Pearl Street Parking Garage to be a relaxing exercise and lugged heavy tents to various events, we are more than indebted to your public service.  Your technical support and classy communication skills will continue to shine through as Downtown Framingham, Inc. evolves into a more robust non-profit organization.  Thank you for choosing and loving downtown Framingham, and we all wish you well on your next career endeavor. 

by Courtney Thraen  Director, Downtown Framingham, Inc.