My door is open, and I’m here to listen. Let’s talk.

Posted 5/9/24

My aim, in my new position as the Local’s business growth officer, is to listen – to you.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

My door is open, and I’m here to listen. Let’s talk.


The year I moved to Philadelphia (2009) was the year of the North American Blizzard. With snow up to my knees, I trudged outside to a car obscured by white and fought back the urge to cry. I hadn’t bought a shovel. Yet, before I even had time to contemplate a possible solution, neighbors I only recognized from hallways and across the street, gathered around and dug me out. They dug each other out as well, particularly those who were new to the neighborhood, or newly graced with winter babies, or whose ages or physical conditions would’ve made it hard for them to do the back-breaking work of shoveling themselves out. Then, the plows came, creating mini fortresses and undoing their labor and, again, these neighbors flooded the streets and helped one another. They helped me.

I wasn’t used to the kindness and generosity and (dare I say) “brotherly love” that pervades this section of the city. These past 15 years, as I’ve lived and worked and moved between Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill and Germantown, I’ve been struck by the empathy, compassion and community spirit in this place, where I intended to live for a year, which has become my home; its people my people.

Throughout the distinct and unique yet interconnected communities of Northwest Philadelphia, it’s an everyday occurrence to say a cheery hello while shopping at the co-op or to pause while walking on the Avenue to ask a neighbor, “How’ve you been?” and then take the time to listen.

My aim, in my new position as the Local’s business growth officer, is to listen – to you.

It doesn’t matter who we are; everyone has a story to tell and people and issues about which they care. In a time when it’s so easy to disconnect and disengage, even as we’re bombarded and overstimulated, local journalists are uniquely positioned to listen to the communities that we serve, reflect their values, and build connection, cohesion, and discussion in a way that nothing else can.

For the past 65-plus years, the Local has served a critical function. This legacy paper has played an important role – amplifying community voices, sharing relevant news, and answering questions that matter to our various connected, yet distinct, communities.  

These last 15 years, as I’ve danced between Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, and Germantown, the Local has been an enduring presence in my life, and I’m excited that, as we expand and grow, a significant portion of my role (funded by a Lenfest Grant) will be having conversations and building connections with community members. 

Although my metaphorical door is always open to story pitches, sponsorship ideas, questions, event inquiries, journalistic partnerships and more, I think it’s important that those of us who produce your news have regular and consistent contact with the community. To that end, we will be hosting public “Idea Labs.”

Beginning in June, and continuing for the foreseeable future, on the first Wednesdays from 9-11:30, I’ll be at Kismet Cowork. On the second Wednesdays, I’ll be at Mt. Airy Axis, and on the third Wednesdays, you’ll find me at Braid Mill. During these times, I would love to learn more about you and what matters to you. Whether you’d like to share a story idea, tell me about an interesting neighbor (or yourself), suggest a feature, get involved in working with us, be part of our expansion efforts, or anything else, please stop by. These “Idea Labs” are informal, so you can come for some or all of the time, come once, or come often. 

I know from experience that, no matter how many blizzards arrive or even if we lack our own shovels, we can come together as a community and dig ourselves out.

Daralyse Lyons

Chestnut Hill Local 

Business Growth Officer