Say Hello to Danika!

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Lakeland has always been a part of me, even before I physically lived here. My parents, D.J. and Miriam Thiele, were college sweethearts at local Florida Southern College. They met when he was a senior and she a freshman, and my father proposed to my mom on the dock overlooking Lake Hollingsworth.

Since then, they used any excuse possible to stop by their alma mater…and dragged me along for the ride. It wasn’t until I toured the campus as a senior in high school that I considered living in Lakeland permanently, and in August of 2013 I found myself moving into a dorm overlooking the very lake that sparked romance between my parents. Throughout these past four years I’ve seen the city grow monumentally with the onset of countless small businesses and incredible new voices within the community, and Lakeland has quickly become my adopted home.

Some more facts about me: I’m an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs scale, a Saggitarius, I love dogs probably more than humans, and I can identify most birds in central Florida.

As an Advertising/Public Relations and Journalism double major at Florida Southern, I thrived in the city’s lake-riddled parks, explored the timeless architecture, and never missed a Downtown Farmers Market. Now my favorite place to go on a rainy day is the Polk Museum of Art, but on sunny days you can find me outdoors at Circle B Bar Reserve. During my time at Florida Southern I spearheaded a campus garden club, and I am passionate about continuing this legacy of growth and sustainable living. I have a very real need for travel, and my passion for adventure led me to intern with Southwest Airlines at their corporate headquarters last semester. That internship allowed me to fly anywhere in the country, yet I found myself landed in the lovely city of swans.

To me, Lakeland is more of a certain feeling than a place. It’s the familiar faces, expanding spaces, and exciting new events that happen seemingly every weekend. Lakeland is the combination of rustic small-town with the new and modern, a comfortable place glowing with creativity and locale.

As Content Manager for YLakeland, my goal is to relay that sense of community to you all. I’ll be keeping you inundated with new restaurants, stores, and things to do in and around the city. I’m looking forward to all that is to come!