The Time is Right: Just Go For It.

“Go for it.”

This was the advice that Gina Bianchini said that she would give to a younger version of herself in an interview with The Levo League, an online community for Gen Y women in the workplace.

Bianchini is the founder of Ning, a free do-it-yourself platform for social networks, and a new site called Mightybell.

Her advice resonated with me. Here was a women who, at 40, had already been on the cover of Fast Company and been featured in Fortune’s “40 under 40.” She left her job as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs to work at a start-up—a pretty brazen move. If someone had told me about the ideas that led to her success in the male-dominated Silicon Valley, I’d probably be left scratching my head. In other words, she’s an entrepreneur who’s succeeded at the unexpected. She went for it.

Now, Gainesville is on the verge of becoming “the Silicon Valley of the Southeast.” In working on this month’s cover story, I found out why.

You might have heard of a project called Innovation Gainesville. Well, it seems to be gaining major traction. It’s most recent success? Innovation Gainesville was a key player in attracting a major international company to Gainesville, and I’m confident this is the beginning of Innovation Gainesville’s major positive impacts on the community—and its ability to help plug the “brain drain.”

“Innovation” can be a nebulous concept at best, and efforts to be innovative can be a waste of time at their worst. But the leaders of Innovation Gainesville went for it—and they won.

This spirit of hope and ambition is what attracted this month’s “Someone You Should Know,” Lou Heckler, to live here. Of Gainesville, he remarks, “It’s a place where people are always hoping and planning and innovating and studying for something better.”

What a great point.

This month, I’m going to keep Lou’s words in mind. As they say, nothing ever happens if you don’t show up. The timing will likely never be perfect. The business plan might not be complete. And you’ll definitely never have enough time or money. Despite this, let’s just go for it.

As I write this, I am preparing to host the first night of fashion shows for the fifth season of Gainesville Fashion Week. While this might normally be a stretch for my comfort zone, I’ve embraced the opportunity.

Four years ago, the producers decided to introduce a weeklong series of events dedicated to fashion, art and beauty in a town known primarily for Gator sports. Well, it seems our horizons have been broadened. They certainly went for it—and I will too.

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