If you’re like me, you love a good survey.  HAHA! Even if you’re not, take a few moments to fill out this survey for us!

IF you are NOT from here, please fill out THIS FORM. Folks, this is especially critical. Let’s get opinions from folks who don’t know us!!

If you HAVE heard of us/from here/from nearby fill out THIS FORM

It is our job to welcome all but it also our job (and privilege) to KNOW as much as possible about our city. Every response will help! THANK YOU in advance!


NYC + WS ?

What does New York City have to do with Winston-Salem?

For one, of course, we have the Empire State Building and the Reynolds Building.

nyc and ws togev

“The Reynolds Building was constructed in 1929 by Shreve and Lamb, who would design the Empire State Building a few years later based on the same plans. The iconic shape of the two buildings is the same, though the Empire State Building has 102 floors whereas the Reynolds Building has 22. For nearly a century, the Reynolds Building was the home office for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. The Reynolds Building was named “Building of the Year” by the National Association of Architects, won the 1984 Art Deco Society of New York award for best restoration and was the tallest building in the South for 35 years. In 2016, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurant opened The Cardinal Hotel on the lower six floors below the luxury apartments above.” – Visit NC

For ME personally, New York City was the iconic city of a hundred movies and TV shows. We learned about Ellis Island in school. It was mythical. I had had a desire to visit it for years and in 2010, I decided to go. No one was available to go with me, so I said, heck, I’ll go by myself. That trip was life-changing.

I did all the things, The Museum of Natural History, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, etc. I loved it, loved the energy of the “city.” But I stayed a nonprofit Hostel (HI-NYC) in Upper West Side, where it is very residential. So I was able to relax in a safe environment, away from the hustle and bustle and grind of the City That Never Sleeps. (It does, in fact, sleep.)

The dichotomy of the two places was fascinating. It is indeed an ENORMOUS tourist destination, but for millions of people, it’s also home. They live there, eat there, hang out there, all the things that we do where we live. I thoroughly enjoy NYC and have been back several times. I find it inspirational in that I can take what I see and learn from there and bring it home to North Carolina.

There is one item, in particular, that I think we can draw inspiration from. Last year, we had over 1.8 million visitors to Forsyth County. (Yes, million!) With almost $900 million dollars in revenue from those visitors. What I seek to do now is go BACK to NYC, do some practical/in person research and bring. it. home. After all, if one of the world’s most iconic buildings was started here, I’m sure they won’t mind!

I think it is imperative that we constantly learn, grow and evolve. To keep our city competitive in this ever-growing world, it’s going to take innovation on the part of all of us.

This crazy idea called the Winston-Salem Ambassadors is now entering it’s 3rd year and we are going strong. So far, my crazy ideas have panned out. Stick with me for the ride: it’s gonna get crazy fun.


I will be GOING to NYC in the next few weeks. Can’t wait to bring back the energy from the Big Apple and fuse it with our own! Winston-Salem, after all, is awesome.

Much Love, my Twin City family!


#TwinCityConnections – Shakira Bethea



1) What’s your name? Where are you from?
I’m Shakira B. Bethea, feel free to call me Shakira! I grew up right here in Winston-Salem and most of my family still lives here. I went to East Forsyth and then traveled down the highway to UNC-Chapel Hill for undergraduate studies. I lived in the Triangle for 9 years and moved back to Winston Salem three years ago. I gathered a lot of knowledge in the Durham area that has led me to become an entrepreneur and create accessible avenues for many to enjoy the benefits of healing through movement and journaling practices.

2) What do you do with most of your time? What’s your passion?
I usually spend my time practicing and teaching vinyasa and aerial yoga, experiencing live music, savoring chocolate, hanging out with friends and family or enjoying a hike in the mountains. I also love to journal and use my creativity to connect with others. I’ve been dabbling in rock climbing and bouldering, which has helped me open up to different ways of exercise. I’m passionate about community and forward progression to make it thrive, and educating both youth and adults around self care, self love and creating more compassion within our community.
3) Why do you live and/or work in WS?
I live in Winston-Salem because my family is here and I missed them while living in the Triangle. I actually moved back 11 months before the passing of one of my grandfathers that helped me realize the strong connection I have to my family. This city is progressing and I want to be a part of that progression to include all voices that often go unheard and unseen. I chose to move my business here to increase awareness around the importance of self care and healing. When we are able to heal ourselves we spread more love to those around us and create a ripple effect within the community and form a sense of togetherness.

4) What do you love most about WS?
I love the music scene the most. I know that, just about any day of the week, I can find live music that gets me dancing and lifts my spirits. I also love how close we are to the mountains. I was born in the mountains and have always felt connected to them. I am grateful to be 30 minutes from hiking, breathtaking views and peaceful places.


5) Why do you want to be an Ambassador?
Through being an ambassador I know that I would be able to reach more people and create space for them to open up about what they want to see and where to find it. This opportunity allows me to get out into the community, build more relationships and be a shining light in someones life. If you may be thinking about leaving this beautiful city, just let me talk to you first! 🙂 This program brings a connection of community to the history of the city and where we are going. We are here to create the new history of this city and birth a more inclusive experience for all.