Wildcat Tracks: Collyn Belz Floyd ’92

There is a famous quote which reads: “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” Often this kind of job is something that must be pursued, but for some lucky people, it falls into their lap when they least expect it. Collyn Floyd was not looking for a new gig, but one found her. “Believe it or not, I landed my job at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce as VP of Marketing/Communications because of a blog post I wrote on local farm-to-table restaurants (I’m a foodie). Our Chamber president, who stumbled upon the post and liked my writing, happened to be looking for a marketing director at the time and invited me to apply. It was serendipity!” Growing up in St. Louis, Collyn never thought she’d permanently live someplace else. “My husband Shawn and I have been married 23 years. A year after we got married, we moved to Canton, OH for Shawn’s job at a local university and have been here ever since. We thought we’d be here just a couple of years, but we’re full-fledged Buckeyes now and love it!”

After graduating from St. Louis University with a B.A. in political science, Collyn ended up going into marketing and communications. She says her love of writing began at Westminster in Mrs. Heimburger’s English Literature class. “My biggest influence was Mrs. Heimburger — she was relentless with her red pen! But she taught me how to write clearly and succinctly, and that’s a skill that’s served me exceptionally well.” Collyn’s time at Westminster had a profound impact on her life. Not only did she meet some of her closest friends while a student here, she also gained a unique perspective.

Westminster helped lay a firm foundation for my faith that extends throughout every part of my life including my marriage, family, and even business relationships. I’m grateful I had such excellent Christian role models at an early age in the faculty and staff at WCA.

Collyn with husband Shawn and sons Will, Sam, and Wes

Collyn’s role with the Chamber keeps her busy, but her job also involves an element of fun. One of the biggest events that Collyn helps produce is the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. “Our Chamber is unusual because one of our huge responsibilities is to plan and produce this festival in conjunction with our partners at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is located here in Canton. The Enshrinement Festival, which includes 18 major events over two weeks, draws 700,000 people to Canton each August. That includes the first game of the NFL pre-season! From football legends to celebrities, you never know who you’ll run into. My job involves a lot of interaction with the community – with our members, media, community partners, volunteers, etc. Our Chamber plans and produces about 70 events annually so there’s always energy flowing in our building. There’s also never a dull day…that’s what I love most!”

Ask Collyn how she feels about her “new” hometown of the last 20+ years? It’s safe to say she loves it and wants visitors to love it too. “Besides the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is of course our #1 draw, we have a “wine campus” (for lack of a better phrase) called Gervasi Vineyard that rivals anything you’d see on the West Coast, and it’s right here in Canton. The sprawling property features several restaurants, vineyards, a distillery, walking trails, a lake, two boutique hotels, and several indoor and outdoor event spaces,” she said. “We’re also the gateway to one of the largest Amish populations in the world. It’s fun to make the 45-minute drive to Amish Country to get homemade pies, cheeses, and chocolates, and visit Lehman’s Hardware Store, where everything sold is non-electric! I love the size of Canton – it’s a mid-sized town, so it’s not uncommon to run into a familiar face wherever you go.”

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