How Taylor Florio Got Community Back

Photography by the talented Julia Fay Photography

I record every interview I do for an article or blog, so that I can actually pay attention to the conversation I’m having as I’m having it. #crazyiknow

What I then do is play it back and start writing. As I’m re-listening, I always hear fresh, quirky things or phrases I didn’t hear before. But when I played back Taylor Florio’s interview, I noticed something uniquely Florio – she said the word ‘community’ 13 times in 21 minutes.

That right there, my friends, IS Taylor Florio.

Florio radiates natural light and natural energy the second you meet her. She’s bright and smart and fun. I would get on board with or apply immediately-and-without-question to any idea she threw at me. She’s just one of those people.

The University of Alabama felt that energy, too.

As a Regional Admissions Representative for The University of Alabama, Florio covers a territory that includes Charlotte up to the Triad, and then over to western North Carolina. What that means: she is the go-to contact, and often the first point of contact, for any student or family in this region who in interested in Alabama, a university that has consistently been ranked as one of the top 50 public universities in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report. “My role is to be as in front of high school students as much as I can,” Florio says. “And I cannot tell you how fun it is to stand behind a table at a college fair and watch kids and parents light up when they see the Alabama table.”

Holdonforasecond: Taylor lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, but works as a recruiter for Alabama.

“Alabama caught the out-of-state recruitment trend,” Florio states. “My regional rep role allows me to personally know the students and families who are interested in Alabama. They know me, we can meet for coffee, so I can answer questions in person, I can meet their parents and answer their parents’ questions in person; I can be there with them through every step of the admissions process.”

That high touch approach that Florio is a part of is working for Alabama – 52% of students at the 37,665 student campus are from out-of-state. (NOTE: That 2016 enrollment number? A record high.)

The benefits of Florio’s engaged and active recruiting process go to ways. “It’s like Christmas in August for me, when I can say to a student, ‘remember when I met you your junior year of high school? And now you’re moving into campus for your freshman year.’ There’s no feeling that’s more fulfilling.”

And there’s a lot awaiting a student who starts his or her freshman year in Tuscaloosa. “I loves the spirit of Alabama; there’s so pride, so much history,” Florio states. “You cannot walk three feet without seeing someone in Crimson. And the Alabama community does a great job fostering students and talent and interest.”

As strong an advocate as she is for Alabama, Florio herself is a 2008 graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University – or “Dunk City” for those who remember how FGCU stunned Georgetown basketball in 2013.

Florio moved to Charlotte seven years ago to work for Queens University as an Admissions Counselor and then Assistant Director of Admissions. “I loved the Queens community,” Florio states. “It’s a huge family, a different type of school, a unique place.”

She left Queens to work for a marketing firm serving higher education – but felt something was missing. “I came to the realization that I was craving being back on a college campus and working with students; I missed the community that is high school students and families,” she admits.

The opportunity with Alabama that came around for Florio in 2016 was two things: the perfect opportunity to work with students and families again AND a chance to jump back into the higher ed industry in a different way. “I loved it immediately,” Florio says. “My role is not just a challenge, but it’s more responsibility and the opportunity to be a self-starter.”

As energetic and extroverted as she is as a recruiter, Florio hit a roadblock as a regional representative for a school almost seven hours away – she was working remotely from her home. And as someone who, if you haven’t guessed it already, vibes off the energy and community of others, working from home alone wasn’t going to cut it. “I came to a point where I realized that I refused to be this person working at home, alone,” Florio admits. “I needed a community for me.”

Florio found that community – Hygge’s Westside location.

There were other benefits to Florio’s Hygge membership that helped her to do her job well. “I work a very unstructured job, so coming to Hygge everyday gives me the consistency and structure that I was looking for.”

Another added job benefit? She vibes off this community – the people, the energy, the collaboration. “I get so excited to come here every day,” she says.


The space. Hey, remember meeting with college admissions counselors in Bruegger’s Bagels or Starbucks? (Or perhaps you eavesdrop on those sessions now? #guilty) “Working from Hygge now means that I can bring prospective families here for information sessions or I can host a panel; really anything to connect better and more privately outside of a coffee shop,” Florio says.

The coffee on deck. “I love that we serve Enderly Coffee here; it’s an awesome opportunity to help our West Charlotte neighbors and partners.”

The adventure. You can choose your own adventure here. “I’m always amazed by whom I talk to here. You just never know who you’re going to meet and how you’ll connect,” Florio shares.

The community. (She would say that.) “Being able to get dressed and come somewhere to work makes a difference; being able to do that at a space that offers integration of different types of people – no brainer.”

Meet the Author: Meg Seitz is the Founder and Managing Creative Partner of toth shop, an agency with one goal: Elevate your brand’s content through powerful writing, creativity, and strategy. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University and Founding Partner of the children’s book series, “Bea is for Business”.

She’s an English major with an MBA, so she can talk Homer’s “The Odyssey” just as well as she can talk sunk costs – though she’d much prefer the former.

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