Derrick: Explaining Mainstreet’s newest venture

One of our goals at Mainstreet Daily News is to be at the center of the community conversation. We do this by covering what is going on, but we also launched with plans to be active in the community.

The only problem was timing. We went live in March 2020—two years ago this week. It’s a month which will live in infamy, so to speak, because it ushered in a pandemic and a lockdown not seen in the United States in more than a century.

No industry was affected more than the events business, which basically ceased to exist for months.

Like other outlets, Mainstreet ripped up its playbook and shifted to what the moment demanded. But in 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to be subsiding, we began making plans for a Newsmaker Interview Series to launch in August.

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe

Then the delta variant hit, sparking another state of emergency. We rescheduled for January, only to have the omicron variant surge delay our plans again.

But finally, on Tuesday of this week—the final day of our second year in operation—we were able to announce that the Newsmaker Interview Series is on.

The first event will take place on Monday, March 14, at the Lyceum Concert Hall at Santa Fe College. Tickets are free, but seating is limited due to continued COVID-19 protocols. You can reserve up to four free tickets via Eventbrite.

The first event will feature an interview with Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe, who is in the stretch run of what will become the longest mayoral tenure in the city’s modern history.

Mayor Poe and I will talk about his personal story, some of the issues he’s facing on the job, and a practical leadership discussion that will hopefully leave you with something you can use in your own life. We’ll close out the evening with a few audience questions, so come prepared to ask what you’d most like to know.

Jamie Grosshans

On April 14, our second event will feature Florida Supreme Court Justice Jamie Grosshans, the court’s newest member. She’s the only woman currently on the court and just the fifth woman ever to serve as a Florida Supreme Court justice.

The event will mark Grosshans’ first news media interview since her appointment. Tickets will become available later in the month of March.

We want the Newsmaker Interview Series to be a community gathering, a time to meet other locals and leaders who affect our daily lives.

The Mainstreet staff also wants to meet you! Our traffic numbers tell us tens of thousands of you read our stories, but we want to put more faces and names with those numbers. As an extra incentive, we’re going to give away Metro Diner gift cards to two randomly selected attendees.

One thing these interviews will not be: combative. Our culture has far too much of that. Our aim is to make these events informative, friendly and fun in a relaxed atmosphere.

We’d like to say a huge thanks to Santa Fe College for hosting us. With the school’s help, the stage is set for a terrific evening—and now the only thing missing is you. We hope you will reserve your free tickets today.

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