Introduced by

Have you met Varian Shrum?

Believer in public spaces. Creator of Charlotte’s Neighborhood Living Room.

Hi! Have you met Varian Shrum?

One and a half hours, one cup of coffee and a page of notes later I left my get together with Varian straight up beaming. There’s an infectious excitement to each and every word that comes out of her mouth. When talking about all she wants to do in Charlotte I got the sense that absolutely nothing will stop her. She’s determined to make her dream projects come to life.

Well, today one of those projects has become a reality. Varian gets to unveil her passion project to all of Charlotte. As winner of the K880 Emerging Champions Program she was given a grant and the opportunity to bring her passion to life. The Charlotte Neighborhood Living Room is here. A true labor of love… love for public open spaces and the connections and relationships that develop in these places.   

Come on down to the Living Room. It’ll be open from October 15th through the 18th. Details can be found here. Raising awareness around the importance of these public spaces is everything. As Charlotte continues to turn many of it’s public spaces into apartment complexes or retail space people like Varian are fighting for them. She’s awesome.

I asked Varian 6 questions. Her answers are below her picture.

Photo by Ken Noblezada Photography, for Today’s Charlotte Woman magazine

What are you most passionate about?

Without a doubt, relationships. are. LIFE. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories, discovering what we have in common, exploring how we’re different, and connecting them with others. Making the world smaller brings me a lot of joy.

What frustrates you?

“Paralysis by analysis.” That is my nightmare.

What would you like to see happen in Charlotte in the next 5 years?

Five years from now, I would love to see some of today’s young civic innovators involved in local public service and finding creative ways to implement systemic change. It would also be awesome to have high speed rail connecting DC- Raleigh-Charlotte-Atlanta (dream big).

What is your greatest indulgence?

Reader’s choice!
A. Ice cream forever and ever amen.
B. Netflix binges. Go-to shows obviously include 30 Rock, Parks & Rec, and The Office.
C. Geeking out on city stuff/ outer-space stuff/ meaning of life stuff.
D. Putting a Not Just Coffee barista’s child through college, one mocha latte at a time.

How do you think people would describe you?

Survey says…

Myers & Briggs: “Textbook ESFJ. #AlltheFeels motivate her to think analytically about the common good.”

Husband: “You kind of have a nerdy way about you. You get really excited about things – discovering new places, new adventures, new ideas, ways you can make things better.”

Everyone else: “Wait– that girl with the crazy dance moves who never sleeps? I think she just liked my Instagram from 64 weeks ago..…”

If you could make your own ice cream what flavor would it be and why?

At first glance I thought this would be the easiest question and now I’ve probably spent the most mental energy on it (see “greatest indulgence” question for context). Here’s what I’ve got:

Introducing the “Pie Five”: a punny, vanilla-based ice cream with caramel ribbons, pie crust crumbles, and apple pie spices that will have you high-fiving a million angels! It’s pretty much just a pie smashed up in vanilla ice cream, and that’s why it’s amazing.

Get in touch with Varian at @vtshrum or come on down and meet her IRL at the Charlotte Neighborhood Living Room.

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