We have an amazing team at Runway East – and our newest Bristol Community Assistant, D.J., is no exception. We’re chatting with D.J. about her roots, her favourite Bristol spots, and which Runway East startups are currently inspiring her. Let’s do this!

You’re a Bristolian now – but your accent throws us off! Where are you from originally?

Okay, so this is a loaded question. I was born in California but moved all over America growing up. I tell everyone I’m from Las Vegas – it’s the longest place I’ve ever lived and definitely my home. 

Amazing – how did you end up Bristol? 

I quit my job, put on a backpack, and got on a plane with the intention of seeing as much as possible before returning back home in three months. Well, I never really went back home. 

I got to see so much while I was traveling, but, when the money ran out I decided I should stay. That involved a long process of obtaining citizenship and couch surfing for many months. I chose Bristol because I have a few cousins who live here – and they were very kind with sharing their couches. 

What’s it been like so far working at Runway East?

Amazing! The people, the projects, the CAKE! 

From the second I walked through the door to attend my interview I knew I wanted to be here. Runway East has a community that’s unbeatable – I’ve made so many friends. I also really appreciate that we are extremely collaborative and I have had the opportunity to pick up and absorb so many skills from the people I work with. 

Do you have a favourite spot to chill in Bristol?

I personally believe the best way to chill with some tacos and a margarita – so you can usually find me at Cargo Cantina. If you know me, you know I talk about it all of the time. 

But, when foods not on the table, I really enjoy heading down to Spike Island where they have really cool art exhibitions and performances usually with Bristol based artists. It’s small but mighty, and they have a nice cafe where you can just read a book or listen to some tunes.

What’s something every tourist has to do when visiting the Bristol?

When I first arrived to Bristol I had no idea how much this city contains. I feel like most people will say you have to visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge – but I think my place is much better. 

It’s called slippery rock. Well, at least I call it that. It seems to be known as a few names around here. Conveniently located next to the suspension bridge you can take a ride down on a natural slide. I’m lucky to live near here so I take all of my friends down it – a hidden gem for sure. 

Name some startups at Runway East Bristol that inspire you.

Oh my, where do I even start? Huggg is one for sure. They’re all about spreading love, and gifts, and coffee. They strongly align with my morals there. 

I also am really into a startup we have here called Death.io. The name can be off putting but I think they’re doing some great stuff with opening up conversations about dying. It’s also run by incredible people who – I promise – aren’t scary at all. 

What’s one of the challenges of being a Community Assistant?

Not eating all of the cake before the members do on cake Wednesday. 

Jokes aside, I’d say the most challenging part is having a million things on your to-do-list. As a CA I get to be involved in all parts of incredible things, from the coffee we drink in the am to the bonding over a beer in the pm with our members. My job is mostly about making people happy, and bringing smiles to everyone’s faces, even when they least expect it, who wouldn’t want that?

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