Chic Spotlight: Soapbox Media Publisher Dacia Snider
Cincy Chic: How did you become involved with Soapbox Media?
Dacia Snider: I was an early adopter when the idea of Soapbox was first being floated around. Eric Avner had heard a presentation from Issue Media Group (our parent company) at a CEOs for Cities conference a few years ago and brought the idea back to Cincinnati. Having a background in economic development, I understood the role media played in setting the tone for the way people felt about Cincinnati, both inside and outside of our region. I had an opportunity to start to affect what people were reading and how they were feeling about this great city. Too many stories about our region’s progress, growth and innovations weren’t being told — and we were going to get on our soapbox and tell them.
Cincy Chic: What kind of year did Soapbox have in 2008? Any favorite issues/topics covered?
Snider: Soapbox had a terrific year! It’s hard to believe we’ll only be celebrating our one-year anniversary in February 2009 — it seems like we’ve been doing this for so much longer! I can’t really point to one favorite issue or topic we covered in 2008, because each week, we are telling [a] new Cincinnati story and getting people to see our region differently. From streetcars to the local scooter culture, casting a spotlight on our global reach in the areas of advanced brand design, consumer intelligence and IT, to the quirkiness and uniqueness of our neighborhoods and the talent and innovation of our residents — our region has so much going for it.
Cincy Chic: You are involved with many organizations/groups whose sole goal is championing everything Cincinnati-related. Why do you believe in this city? What do you hope for its future?
Snider: It’s funny. I get asked this question a lot, especially because I’m not originally from here. We have so much going for us as a community — a world-class arts and culture community, an exciting and vibrant urban core, beautiful and historic neighborhoods, a burgeoning restaurant scene, major (and multiple) institutions of higher education at our fingertips and corporate, foundation and non-profit entities that are second to none. But I believe we can be better. I believe with initiatives like the streetcar (and one day, hopefully, light rail to truly connect our region), and the community-wide efforts of Vision 2015 and Agenda 360, we can realize our full potential. But it’s going to take some big thinking, working across geographical and political jurisdictions like never before, and yes, some risk. No risk, no reward. We are in a global race for talent these days — whether it’s attracting new economy knowledge workers or stemming the brain drain from leaving our region in the first place. This talent is looking to live a greener, more local lifestyle. If we continue to ignore the fact that young, smart people are attracted to walkable, dense and diverse neighborhoods, with multiple transportation options (from bike paths to mass transit), we are going to lose the race.
My hope for our city’s future is that we (collectively) begin to have a little more civic pride. Cincinnati is a great place to raise a family, and we should be proud of that fact. I’m proud to call Cincinnati home and to be raising my family here. I hope that by exposing my children to all our city has to offer from a young age, that they grow up to appreciate why we live in such a great city.
Cincy Chic: You were once involved in producing the annual Downtown Tour of Living. What do you think of the progress (if any) since then?
Snider: The Downtown Tour of Living has been an annual favorite of locals for 10 years now. What started out as a few residents wanting to show others that yes, they really do live downtown, has grown into an annual event that attracts thousands. The resurgence of the urban lifestyle has a lot of appeal in today’s busy world — being in a walkable, dense, urban neighborhood just steps from our region’s best restaurants, arts and culture venues, and shopping — all without having to get into your car? Sign me up! Although the downtown housing market has been a little sluggish in today’s economy, sales in one of my favorite neighborhoods, Over-the-Rhine, are very steady. If you haven’t been to the Gateway Quarter (the area around Twelfth & Vine streets) lately, you are in for a surprise. New condos and local retailers are rounding out the offerings in one of our city’s most diverse and historic neighborhoods.
Cincy Chic: If you had to name some other influential women in the city who has inspired you, who would it be?
Snider: There are many influential women throughout the city, but no one stands out to me like Dr. Nancy Zimpher. I’ve witnessed Dr. Zimpher in action in numerous environments, and whether she is talking to a crowd of students or addressing corporate executives, she commands a presence and speaks from the heart — and always in the best interest of the University of Cincinnati or the city. She is a source of inspriation to me, because while some of her decisions may not be the most popular, she knows that in the end, it will take the University or the city to the next level.
Cincy Chic: What advice do you have to offer for local women who are striving for excellence in their profession?
Snider: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The worst someone could say is “no.” However, if you don’t ask, you never know what opportunities it may lead to.
Cincy Chic: How do you spend your free time?
Snider: Free time? What’s that?! It’s no secret that I love to spend my free time with my husband and children. I know that sounds so cliché, but there is no substitute for packing up the kids for a day out exploring the city together or just going for a walk around our neighborhood. My kids love to go to Findlay Market, Fountain Square or spend a few hours playing in one of our city’s many beautiful parks. That being said, I know I should carve out a little “me” time and I would love to spend it getting a massage, a pedicure or taking a dance class or two.
Cincy Chic: What is your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Snider: What haven’t I already mentioned? My favorite thing about Cincinnati is how (relatively) easy it is to get involved and make an impact toward moving the city forward. If you have a great idea to fill a void or need in our community, you can truly make a difference. Take Soapbox, for example. We learned early on that there was a demand for the type of news we would be reporting (focusing on our city’s assets). The support we’ve received in launching the e-zine has been tremendous and we are looking forward to reaching even more readers in 2009.
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
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