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Austin, TX to Birmingham on Red Bull wings

Welcome to Movers & Shakers.

In this new Bham Now series, we seek out young professionals who have made the decision (sometimes personal, sometimes professional) to move to Birmingham from large, “cool” cities. With these brave uprootings, we want to find out how their Magic City experience has been thus far. In first-hand accounts, see how these young talents are taking in and shaping up our favorite city.

Movers & Shakers
Hello, it’s me. Photo courtesy of Sarah McKinley.
Meet Mover & Shaker Sarah McKinley, the Field Marketing Specialist for Red Bull in Birmingham. She moved from Austin, Texas, a “weird” place known for its music scene.

Hi there! My name is Sarah McKinley and I am the Field Marketing Specialist for Red Bull here in Birmingham where I manage two collegiate teams of brand ambassador sorts and strive to “move the needle” in my market through innovative marketing initiatives. I worked as a Red Bull Wings Team Member throughout my time in college at Texas State University (Go Bobcats!). After I graduated, I worked for a music production company and at a bar until I landed my full-time gig with the Texas Lottery as their Promotions/Marketing Coordinator. After two years I finally got my chance to work for my Red Bull family full-time! I moved here last May (2016) from Austin, TX all by myself to take on my full-time role with Red Bull. I had zero friends, zero contacts and even zero co-workers here – so it was definitely an adventure to say the least!

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Spoiler alert: Sarah made Bham friends. This is her crew at Saturn’s Halloween party.

Funny story, the only time I had ever been to Alabama before I moved here was on a road trip from TX to NY. We only drove through and out loud to the universe I said, “Why would anyone ever live in Alabama? This has got to be one of the worst states ever!” Six months later the universe threw me a curveball and I moved to Birmingham. It was a really great lesson for me as you can never understand the true beauty of a place until you go there, meet the people and see what it’s all about. Since then, I’ve truly grown to love it here. I have made some incredible friends, seen some beautiful places and I even met the love of my life at Innisfree of all places!

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“That love of my life I was talking about, Andy! This is us at The Club for the “Night Under the Big Top” function”

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“Know what is especially hip? The Atomic Lounge. I’m a professional temporary tattoo-er here.”

Birmingham reminds me of a super baby Austin. So many young people are involved in this cultural shift into “hip-ness” and trying to make it a better city. It’s a pretty incredible thing to see; Austin can be a little jaded and over-saturated whereas Birmingham still has that exciting new-ness while staying humble – plus WAY LESS TRAFFIC. What I would like to see change is the parking meters downtown that are from like the 1900’s and only accept quarters… like why… I never have quarters. I also wish they had my bank here (Chase Bank) as that would possibly help my quarter dilemma.

When I first moved here it was pretty tough to make friends, everyone seemed really “cliquey” and already had their friend group formed since high school. I sat at bars by myself all the time in hopes of making friends. Finally, after a couple of months, I met some of the greatest people ever! Now I am a member of Young Professionals of Birmingham, Brew Hops and I’m on a GoKickball team; all are super fun and I have made a ton of friends through them! For fun I hit up all the music shows I can, I play volleyball and love having a crafty cocktail or ice cold beer. I also try to hit up as many local events as possible, like: Brewfest, Sloss Fest, Food Truck Rallies, Symphony in the Park, Art on the Rocks, Trivia, etc.

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Bathub @ Marble Ring (left), My GoKickball team, the Party Ballers (middle), Symphony in the Park @ Railroad Park (right)

My advice is to get up and get out! Be open to anything, everything and everyone – never be afraid to go somewhere on your own and experience life – this city has so many wonderful things to offer!

Literally Moving & Shaking around here.

Feel free to follow my adventures on Instagram: @sarah__mac (2 underscores)

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