Say hello to transplant Jon Ellison. He was born and raised in Broken Bow, NE and went to college at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. He now works and lives in Omaha and is the ProFinder Engagement Consultant at Linkedin.
How do you describe Omaha to people outside of Nebraska?
It can be as big or as little as you want to make it. If you’re a young professional looking to start a career and meet people, you can do that. If you’re looking to settle down, buy a house and start a family, Omaha is a wonderful place to do that too!
How has Omaha helped (or didn’t help) you progress as a professional?
Omaha has done nothing but help my professional growth. When I moved here, I started at Hayneedle when it was an emerging business, so I learned what it takes to help a company really grow. For the past five years I’ve been at LinkedIn, which is clearly an established company, but I’ve learned so much about working on a global scale. All of this I couldn’t have done if these types of opportunities weren’t available in Omaha.
What are some of your favorite things about Omaha?
This goes back to how I describe Omaha to outsiders. There’s a variety of things that I can do, depending on what I’m looking for. If I want to chill and read a book in Memorial Park in the sun – boom, I’m there. If I want to go to a game, there’s Creighton, UNO, Lancers, Storm Chasers, etc. Hands down though, my favorite thing about Omaha is the people I’ve met along the way. Omahans are genuine, hard-working, and caring people. It’s hard to find that anywhere else in a community this size.
What has surprised you about this community?
Oh my gosh, trying to pick just one is difficult! I think the spirit of entrepreneurship that exists here would probably be the one that sticks out the most. There are so many individuals here who are taking the leap and starting up a business for themselves, looking to achieve their dreams. Not only that, but the investment firms that exist to fund these dreams, and also the community that helps to foster it. All of that really took me by surprise.
What advice can you give to young professionals who move to Omaha, but don’t really know anyone? What’s the best way to meet people and get involved?
Think outside the box. Being an introvert and growing up in a smaller community, there wasn’t a lot that I was offered that I had much interest in. Now that I’m here, I’ve discovered more of who I am not only as a professional, but as a person. Leverage the tools at your disposal to find events. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc to find area events that you might not otherwise consider. For instance, I just tried acro yoga for the first time, there’s a group that meets at Stinson Park on Wednesday evenings and it looks like I’ll be checking that out, so maybe you’ll see me there!