February/March 2022: Our 4th Annual Influencers Issue

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I remember the first time I heard “Coffee” by Sylvan Esso at a house party. Back in those days, most of my friends lived among rooms in a house together, and we would all meet up on the weekends to reconnect and figure out where our lives were taking us. Every time I hear the song now, I think of cigarettes and light beer, staying up way too late (or too early, depending on how you look at it) and those “blazing summers, cold coffee.”

Amelia Meath’s soothing voice and Nick Sanborn’s beats have inspired me ever since. “Coffee,” both the song and the literal brews from Cocoa Cinnamon, kept me going through my early years at Durham Magazine. Sitting up in the Geer Street shop, sometimes I would spot Areli Barrera Grodski and Leon Grodski Barrera while I was pounding away on my laptop keyboard trying to write stories worthy of the narratives that local subjects shared with me. People like Katie Wyatt, the founding executive director of Kidznotes, who I interviewed years ago on Orange Street in the heart of downtown, where Downtown Durham Inc. President and CEO Nicole J. Thompson keeps a watchful eye over our businesses today. Now, Shana Tucker leads the musical education-based nonprofit as its first ED of color – learn more about her story, as Tess Mangum of Sonic Pie Productions tells it, on page 42.

Speaking of Tess, we have her to thank for lining up the musical talent and production at Boxyard RTP, a significant part of the vision for the future of Research Triangle Park. Research Triangle Foundation President and CEO Scott Levitan oversees that vision day in and day out, leading his dedicated team in creating a lifestyle where residents can also eat, drink and relax so very close to where they work at the heart of RTP with Boxyard, Frontier RTP and the future Hub RTP.

This is part of what makes up Durham, now under the leadership of Mayor Elaine O’Neal. After hearing her impassioned speech at the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce’s holiday reception (page 101), I’m confident that, provided we all work together to celebrate our city’s amazing achievements, past and present, and put in the effort to enact the change we can, we’ll see a bright and enduring future. The influential folks mentioned above will certainly help lead the way. – Amanda MacLaren


26 On the Road Again
A travel expert shares her picks for spring road trips

34 The Influencers
These folks all have a hand in affecting the way we live, work and play in Durham – learn how from the people who know them well

54 Forging Ahead
The pandemic brought this fencing club to a halt. But it also allowed its founder to reconfigure her goals into something greater than the sport itself

58 It Takes Two
This young ballroom dancing duo made a big leap together

62 Safe Harbor
Kids and instructors alike find their happy place at this local swim school


6 Letter from the Editor

10 Go.See.Do.
Mark your calendars for this season’s top events

18 Noted
What we’ve heard around our city …

30 What We’re Drinking
Melanated Wine

68 Summer Camp Guide
Does your kid love sports? What about science or engineering? Maybe art? There are dozens of camps in the Triangle to match every kid’s interest

82 Home, Grown
This family’s Duke Forest ranch is a reflection of their love of Durham

111 Engagement & Wedding
Tying the knot, Bull City-style


101 Networking
Back in Business

104 Biz Briefs

107 Tall Order
Shared experiences from the hardy folks who opened restaurants during the pandemic


12 Women of Achievement Luncheon

14 APS Tails at Twilight

16 Over the Edge for Duke Children’s

17 Durham Regional Association of Realtors Centennial Celebration

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