LIZ GERARD: PROFESSIONAL IKEA ASSEMBLER

Liz Gerard is a Junior Investment Research Analyst at the Commerce Trust Company, a lover of all things Cherokee Street, and an inspiring member of theTEDxGatewayArch team. Liz moved around frequently while she was growing up and attended a total of three high schools. She has lived in St. Louis for 6 years, the longest she has continually lived in one place, and is committed to making St. Louis even better. Full Circle chatted with Liz in the Central West End to talk about her connection to St. Louis and her determination that never lets a challenge pass by (which includes assembling any piece of Ikea furniture).

Social handles: Instagram - @liz_a_girard & Twitter - @midwerestless

WHY YOU?

I come from a unique background. I moved often during my childhood and rarely felt like I had a hometown. My mother got sick when I was in middle school, and I was fortunate to have grandparents who adopted me. I was in the foster system for several years before moving to college. When I reflect on it, I'm proud to have built my life here without much parental support. As far as where I am now, in addition to working at Commerce, I'm on the TEDxGatewayArch team. I do marketing and social content for our annual conferences. I'm also active in the Benton Park West neighborhood organization, which is where I live.

WHY NOW?

Right now is an exciting time for me because the world is my playground. I've been figuring out where I fit in and what I have to contribute, and the process is so rewarding. Sometimes I'm reminded that I have so many options. I could pick up and move my life anywhere because I'm young and I don't have a lot of financial commitment to St. Louis, but it's also exciting that this is the longest I've been in one city.

WHY STL?

I love St. Louis because I feel like you can do a lot with a little here. It's nice to say that there is a place for people like me in St. Louis. The entrepreneurial community is very welcoming and the people that choose to stay here believe in the city and want to see it grow. I've thought about going to San Francisco or Seattle, but I wonder, what is my place?, what can I bring to this city?, and I haven't been able to justify moving anywhere else.

WHY FULL CIRCLE?

Full Circle makes you feel like you have more at stake. You're more invested. When I moved here, I never associated the city with innovation of technology. St. Louis has recently gotten a lot of negative media attention. I'm glad Full Circle is exposing young people to what is really here, beyond the media's perspective.