Sydney Williams

Most likely you'll see Sydney at the Farmer's Market running Say Cheese and wearing sunglasses. 

Why do you call Des Moines home? Des Moines is, and always will be, my home. No matter where I move to, I know I will always feel like this. I have a lot of pride for having grown up on the east side of Des Moines and graduating from East High. All of my family lives in Iowa...my mom and dad were raised in Des Moines, my grandparents...all of my immediate family still lives in Des Moines and the surrounding area. To me, home is where your family is, and where your roots are, and for me, that is Des Moines.

What’s currently keeping you busy? Life! hahaha. I am currently going to Drake full-time, earning my Masters in Education with a concentration on Social Justice in Urban Education....so that takes up a lot of my time. I am also co-owner of Say Cheese, a grilled cheese business, with my uncle(@saycheesedsm). We do the Saturday farmers' market, local events, and catering. I work part-time at Fleur Cinema, and at my grandmother's art studio painting Whipplebirds. And when I'm not working or doing school work, I am spending time with my boo, or family. 

What’s your favorite part about running Say Cheese? There are 2 things I love about running Say Cheese. First, I work alongside my uncle, Jake. He's the best. Our business would not be where it is today without him. Second, I like being part of the local scene in DSM — seeing people enjoy what Jake and I have built together is pretty cool, and we are grateful for the success we have had so far.

If you could identify your number one strength and weakness what would they be? My #1 strength: I have been told that I am very empathetic and compassionate by some of my closest friends and family. My weakness...ice cream. We have a love hate relationship, mostly love. 

What is one thing you can't leave home without other than your phone? Sunglasses. For sure!

Walk us through your typical weekend. I don't have a typical weekend, haha. My weekend plans vary greatly week to week. If we are doing Say Cheese at the market, my uncle and I are setting up our stand at 6am and selling grilled cheese until noon. Then we crash, or grab a drink at Hessen Haus, hahaha. If I'm not working the market, I go to the market with my mom and sister. The Des Moines Farmers' Market really is the best. I love it. Weekends are usually when I am busiest. My down time is during the week. 

If you could grant the Des Moines area one wish what would it be? This is a hard question! 
My wish is that we, (I wish this for myself as well), do not let fear or comfort stop us from taking action against what we feel in our hearts to be unjust.

My wish is for the people of Des Moines, to use their privilege of living in a city that is, for the most part, a welcoming, accepting, inclusive community, to change injustices in society. We live in a city that does not see as much "action" as bigger cities in the nation, but that does not mean we can take a back seat in creating change. I have a lot of respect for leaders in our community who are stepping up and voicing concerns...but we also need followers to help their messages spread.  

Derek Jensen