August 16, 2012

Brain drain! Everyone is leaving Phoenix! Why Now?!

by: Marshall Shore

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Today’s post is by Marshall Shore, in response to my article, Why is Everyone Leaving?. Marshall Shore is the HIPstorian whose passion is uncovering interesting bits and curiosities from our past: the semi-forgotten people, places, and events that have made us who we are today.  As the official “Unofficial Phoenix Historian,” he uses storytelling magic, found film footage, old photographs, ephemera and artifacts, to bring our past to life in entertaining, educational presentations, and tours.

While sitting at Fair Trade with Lourdes Lee Vasquez, talking about the September premiere of the movie The Immigrant Paradox at the Orpheum the issue of brain drain came up, but the conversation quickly changes to talking about those that are here and still committed to making a change in Arizona.

Working at the Clarendon Hotel provides unique perspectives on the topic. First off is the ability to highlight unique aspects of our city to locals and visitors, talking as the HIPstorian and mentioning the fall unveiling of vintage school bus tours that I will be hosting. Also, the opportunity comes up to meet creatives that are relocating to the valley for a change of life. Whether it is studying Music Therapy at ASU or bringing a vast knowledge of modern dance and it’s origins, these relative new comers to Arizona bring new experiences, passions, and ideas that will benefit the community. Recently, a casual conversation at a coffee shop by urban connector, Jim McPherson, welcomed new entrepreneurs to the valley with the desire to set up a retail shop in town. I am sure that these instances are not the exception and we are not alone in meeting, engaging, and educating other people whether they are new comers or already here furthering their engagement. We can all be ambassadors.

Having a work space at the Ice House and learning about many creatives that have blossomed and moved on, this “brain drain” is nothing new. Here is a community that helped evolve those folks, who are now leaving the nest. That Valley experience will always be a part of who they are and what they do. They have contributed to the community and a piece of them stays behind. There are still many folks here in our community that are actively making a difference. The future looks bright and yes, we will miss friends and community members as we all join to create a better Arizona.

Photo credit: Mel’s Diner. Photo from

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