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“I think we are a progressive city,” Christensen says, in response to the observation that she has done much to elevate the perception of Raleigh, not only as a culinary center but also as a city of increasing cultural awareness. “It’s up to everyone who lives in this community to make sure we select and elect council members who reflect those ideas of being a super welcoming community— a community that supports and cheers on small businesses. Because when this city tells its story to other cities, it’s the small businesses they’re talking about. And that’s what draws people in.” An entrepreneur who’s turned her small business into a company that employs 270 people, Christensen gets that community is all about people. “When you look at the definition of a small business, it’s a person who chooses to live and invest in a place that they love.” And love Raleigh she does, ever since she moved here the day after her 18th birthday to attend N.C. State University. She laughingly jokes of downtown Raleigh in 1994 as “a place where you found tumbleweeds,” but it was the opportunity to be in a place where so much revitalization was going on that made her choose to stay. That, and she simply fell in love with the community and its prevailing spirit of generosity and concern for one another. “I feel a responsibility to help folks in this community understand the importance and power of their voice in holding our elected officials and public servants accountable to do the job of representing all of the voices and people who live in this place. All of them.” (Her word again.) Part of representing—for anyone in a position of leadership—is to give back to the community, especially in areas of need or times of trouble. Christensen is first in line to do this for a number of causes, and her name is as synonymous with giving as it is with cooking. “My No. 1 cause locally is The Frankie Lemmon School,” Christensen says. “Generally the thing that connects you to a specific line of community work is something personal. For me it was a person, Eliza Craft Olander, who was a mentor for me and is one of my best friends.”

58 | MidtownMag.com

Profile for Midtown Magazine, Cary Living Magazine

Midtown Magazine  

July/August 2019

Midtown Magazine  

July/August 2019

Profile for midtown
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