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Meet the team behind the mission: Q&A with Rosa Michaels

In our mission to recruit companies and grow jobs, the REDI Cincinnati team amplifies the region’s unique story to national and international audiences. This series flips the microphone for a look at what makes these passionate economic development professionals tick — and what they love most about living and working in the Cincinnati region..  

With a background in cultural anthropology, Rosa Michaels might not seem a likely candidate for economic development. But since joining the REDI Cincinnati team as a Research Analyst, Rosa is discovering new ways to combine her two biggest professional interests: using data to tell human stories and helping disenfranchised communities overcome economic hurdles. 

Q: How did you make the transition from anthropology to economic development?
A: I grew up on a farm in Highland County, Ohio, a part of the state that was hit especially hard by the 2008 recession. That experience of being on the lower end of the economic spectrum heightened my awareness of things like food access and how disappearing jobs can damage a community. I decided that I wanted to help share the story of the hardworking, honest people in our state, not just as an anthropologist but through numerical and experiential data.   

Q: What made you decide to join the REDI Cincinnati team?
A: I came across the position online and I was very interested. When I learned that REDI Cincinnati leadership is largely made up of women, that sealed the deal. I knew that I would find the opportunities and mentorship here that I need to take my career to the next level. Since starting here I’ve met so many women who are well connected in the world with change-makers, philanthropists, and other people who have the power and ability to make macro-level change. I’m excited to start making those connections of my own. 

Q: What are your biggest goals and aspirations for this chapter of your career?
A: I would love to use my position at REDI Cincinnati to help attract more sustainable development and sustainable energy jobs to the Cincinnati region. As a manufacturing-heavy state, we produce a lot of waste and we have a great opportunity to lead the world in solutions for achieving total green energy and zero carbon emissions. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about living and working in the Cincinnati region?
A: I still live out in a rural part of the region, so my favorite thing is being able to easily commute and come downtown early in the morning and feel all the energy of the city. And then at night, I get to go back home where it’s quiet and I can hear the crickets and see the stars. The diversity of landscape and scenery we have here, all in a short drive, makes this such a livable community for people of all different perspectives.