Today I’m featuring a fellow Animal lover, Fellow Royal Oaker and (gasp!) a huge Wolverine fan. Her name is Erica Finley and like the other Metro Detroiters I’ve featured in my blog, has so many great things to say about our region and our state.
LW: What city did you grow up in?
EF: I’m a transplant from West Michigan as of 2008, and have been in Royal Oak ever since. I absolutely love the city because it offers the safety, great eateries and the type of nightlife I was looking for.
LW: What was your first job?
EF: I was hired for my first job as a senior in high school, and I was a sales associate at Famous Footwear. I’m a people person, but I certainly lacked a bit in the sales department. And I never truly learned how to measure people’s feet. (Can you blame me?)
LW: Where did you go to college?
EF: I graduated in 2006 from Western Michigan University with a degree in journalism. I’m absolutely enamored with my alma mater, frequently returning for football games, speaking gigs and visits with old friends.
LW: Tell me about your business/company.
EF: I am a digital media strategist for The Urbane Way, based in Royal Oak, which is a cutting edge marketing and public relations lab, serving clients across the country. We blend proven social media strategies with traditional public relations techniques and innovative event marketing for clients in a vast array of lifestyle, retail and professional fields. I work primarily with Dale Carnegie franchises, the oldest professional development training group in the world.
LW: What makes it unique?
EF: The Urbane Way is unique in that we focus largely on blogging to help our clients increase their digital footprints. We find that online articles drive traffic to our clients’ websites, which translates into more conversions as it relates to their particular business.
LW: What do you love most about what you do?
EF: I have a lot of freedom in my role at The Urbane Way, which is really refreshing. I’m able to work from home, writing and interacting with people on social media — two things I love to do even when I’m off the clock.
LW: What is one thing most people don’t know about you (hidden talent, etc.)?
EF: This is a tough one! I have an irrational hatred for snaps, does that count? But seriously, don’t wear anything with snaps around me. Oh, and I won a beautiful baby contest when I was very little.
LW: Outside of work, what are some of your passions?
EF: I’ve been an animal lover and advocate for as long as I can remember. I’ve volunteered for many years with the SPCA of Southwest Michigan and try to help bring awareness to pet-related issues whenever possible. I plan to launch a website in 2011 that helps reunite lost pets with their owners.
LW: What do you think is the biggest misconception about this state?
EF: Like most people I know, I reject the idea that you have to leave to find opportunity. I know a lot of people that are making their own opportunities, and working to combat the “brain drain” we’re suffering from here.
LW: What things draw you to downtown Detroit?
EF: I’m not as knowledgeable about the city as a lot of my friends are, but Tigers games, special DIA exhibits and Campus Martius Park are all sure-fire ways to have fun in the D. I also like to head down for events like the Jazz Festival and other festivities that really highlight what this region has to offer.
MSU or U of M? I didn’t attend either university, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more hard-core Wolverine fan. I try to visit the Big House for a game at least a couple of times a year. (Sorry, Lindsay!)
Ford, GM or Chrysler? My Grandpa retired from GM, so I always grew up surrounded by its vehicles and when I was old enough, I was able to enjoy the employee discount on my own car, which is always a plus! However, I’ve really enjoyed watching Ford evolve over the years into a social media savvy company that has been producing some awe-inspiring automobiles.
Lions, Tigers, Pistons or Red Wings? Tigers, hands down! I’m not a big baseball kind of gal, but there is no better way to spend a lazy summer day than at Comerica Park: hot dogs, sunshine, and cheering on the home team.
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook was my first love because I’ve been on it since it was first offered to college students only. However, Twitter has stolen my affection with its instant access to anyone from Kim Kardashian to PR pro Sarah Evans. I’ve had a lot of good fortune as a result of the site, and I can’t wait to see what the company does next!
Favorite local radio station? My radio dial’s usually set to 99.5 WYCD (country, I know!) or 95.5 with Mojo in the Morning. I love all kinds of music, so both stations satisfy my musical wants.
Favorite local TV station? WXYZ-TV, of course! I hadn’t really watched the local news since I left home for college and moved to the east side, but Stephen Clark has totally revitalized what it means to watch it. While his efforts have really propelled WXYZ into the spotlight, his desire to remove the barrier between news anchors and viewers is something I think we can all appreciate.
Favorite local brand? I’m a big fan of Biggby Coffee. We all know the story of how its CEO Bob Fish (@BiggbyBob) has used social media to reconnect with Biggby customers and enthusiasts alike, but in addition to that, I’ve just always had really positive experiences at their stores. The baristas are always super friendly and genuinely interested in the customers, and the coffee’s great!
Favorite restaurant? I’ve recently become a big fan of Maggiano’s in Troy. All of the food there is delicious, and if you order from a certain set of entrees, they give you an additional entrée free to take home and enjoy later. And if you want to make me a really happy camper, I’d also be thrilled with a trip to Slow’s.
Favorite place to vacation in Michigan? Mackinac Island — hands down. My family’s made a yearly trip up there for as long as I can remember, and I recently rode around the island on bikes for the first time (I know, right?) and loved it. It’s a gorgeous place to walk around and explore (if you don’t mind a little horse poop every now and then.)
Favorite place to take out-of-towners? I usually take out-of-towners to dinner at one of my favorite places in downtown Royal Oak, like Town Tavern or Monterrey Cantina, and then show them what the nightlife has to offer at bars like Oak City Grille and Woody’s. And if it’s December, you can bet we’ll be making a trip to downtown Rochester to take in the light display.