Tara Blythe, SPHR
Associate Vice President | Talent Management, UF Development & Alumni Affairs

Greater Gainesville is steeped in heritage, characterized by innovation and at its heart personified by the people who call it home. It’s a college town that transcends its nomenclature to provide a quality of life through homestead, economic development, culture, leisure and arts.

Gainesville was my town as a student. More than a decade later, my husband and I returned to raise our family. It’s a community that welcomes entrepreneurs, and my husband’s business, Content Architecture and Interiors, flourished. I began the next step of my professional journey, too, applying my expertise to advance the university that provided the foundation for my career success. Our children have thrived through educational experiences — inside and outside the classroom — that are on par with the best cities in the world and opportunities for play that create happy childhoods. Perhaps most importantly, we have connected with people who offer professional and personal support, kinship and true community at levels unparalleled in previous experience.

On any weekend — whether watching our son play soccer at Roper Park, visiting an art show, hiking La Chua Trail or Kanapaha Gardens, dining at the Top, Dragonfly or Satchel’s, stopping by a favorite coffee shop at Maude’s or CYM, or holding my son’s first birthday party at First Magnitude Brewery (because, why not?) — I am reminded of all this community offers. I can’t venture outside without running into someone I know or, more strikingly, want to know. I can’t walk through downtown without hearing a singer or band whose talent force me to stop to appreciate what they so willingly share. I can’t help but partake in the visual and performance art, culture and culinary delights that make Gainesville so much more than a simple college town.

Gainesville is the definition of a big small town. It offers connections and pockets of collaboration found only in the most special communities — with an education level and perspective of its residents that truly supports a global feel, the finest health care, extraordinary dining and an assembly of activities aligned with almost any interest. Simply put, this is a town made up of people who together make it an enjoyable place to live.

Gainesville is our community. And we invite you to make it yours. So whether you’re stopping by, considering relocation or exploring your new home, welcome. We’re glad you’re here.

On a side note, I want to thank Advantage Publishing for its dedication to our community. Greater Gainesville deserves to be recognized as the wonderful community it is, but we’ve never been good at talking about ourselves. As a talent management professional, one of my jobs is to recruit professionals, and it always bothered me that we lacked a venue to highlight Gainesville’s many treasures. Advantage Publishing is the perfect business to drive this initiative. Its support of philanthropy and community surpasses its business purpose. For years, the people there have spoken about the “heart of Florida.” For those of us lucky enough to be associated with them, we know they are its heart.

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