INTRODUCTIONS: Meet Nadia Osman

Drew Miller

When Nadia Osman glances at her arm, she is reminded of the importance the Hostess City has in her life.

Originally from Savannah, Nadia left for school and work opportunities, but never forgot where she grew up. 

“I have a tattoo for Savannah,” she said. “I got a matching tattoo with a friend who we’d known each other since we were fifteen. We were both living away from Savannah, feeling nostalgic for home, and wanted to commemorate our friendship.”

The matching tattoo was simply “1733” the year Georgia was founded.

Osman, a business consultant for the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), went to school at Mercer University and then stayed in middle Georgia and worked in the community in economic development for 15 years.

“I was working on everything from developing affordable housing that didn’t displace current residents to working on the quality of life all around, as well as helping small businesses grow and get started,” she explained. “Those years [in Macon] were my first take on seeing how you can actually effectively help a community.”

Osman said she had always known her calling was to help others, specifically to support small and new businesses. 

Landing at the SBDC was the perfect match, in her opinion.

“We’re fortunate not only to be part of the Univ.of Georgia system, but we also receive funding from the Small Business Administration and we make sure we help spread those wonderful resources UGA has to offer,” she said. “It’s great to be a part of this city and to see how we help out. Our mission is to improve the economic well-being of Georgians. All we do is focus on consulting, education, and training for small businesses whether they’re just starting out or have been in business for years.”

“It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of fun events in your community or provide nice housing, none of that matters if you don’t have a job and a way to support yourself/your family,” Osman stated. “I got my start in the communities and working with creative entrepreneurs and people wanting to develop and start new businesses which are the lifeblood of our city.”

Even though the city has organizations like the SBDC and the Chamber of Commerce that do so much, Osman said, “I’m really impressed with all of the associations and groups—the networking, support, and/or civic groups—who get together, whether that be on a neighborhood, district, city, or county level. They’re just doing so much on so many different levels. It’s wonderful to see the community coming together fueled by whatever they’re passionate about.”

Osman moved back to Savannah right before COVID and spent a lot of her time attending online meetings, like so many others.

“Now, I’m going out more for meetings and I’m so excited for the time when I start becoming a bit more familiar with faces,” she said. “That way, when I’m at an event, I will know the person, their company, etc. I did that when I worked in Macon and I definitely want to be out in the community here… not just for the company I represent, but to support this town.”

Osman stressed was how she is a “big fan of the maker community.”

“A lot of my friends are makers,” she began, “and they are creating things in their homes or studios and are trying to grow and build their name(s) nationally and locally. The community is so lovingly supportive.”

Continuing, she said, “There are events almost every weekend that are maker-related. I have seen this group of makers grow and support each other so much. I’ve seen it online and in-person and it’s quite wonderful. It’s rare to find a group of talented people who aren’t competing. They’re helping each other in any way they can.”

As someone who once lived here, left and returned, Osman said the city continues to leave her breathless. 

“It’s just a beautiful city. We have this easy access to the water, the beach, the greenery… I just love that,” she said. 

“Being one of Georgia’s few coastal areas makes us a very attractive place to visit. It’s also more affordable to visit here than, perhaps, flying off somewhere else.”

The beauty of the city is certainly a draw for tourists, she said, “But… as a local, because we’re a port city, we get so many choices throughout the community for unique cultural experiences, diverse people, and vibrant ideas. You can get all of that here in Savannah.”

When people come to visit, Nadia takes people around town, she tries gearing her Savannah recommendations to her guests’ preferences. 

“Whatever they want to do, we’ll do that. However, it always—typically—comes back to food, which is a love of mine and so many people who visit. We love going over to the Starland District because there’s something for everyone at the Starland Yard. We love being patrons of that business and supporting them. We live in midtown, so sometimes it isn’t just showing visitors places to spend money, but taking them to nooks and hidden areas like even the small neighborhood parks to see the city’s beauty.”

When asked one of her favorite things about the city, Osman laughed. “This might sound strange, but I enjoy driving down East Broad Street. I take it every day,” she said. 

“It is such a connector between neighborhoods. You have PERC Coffee, Hop Atomica, local shops and shopping, a lot of residential areas with old and new houses and apartments, and then you take it all the way down to Bay Street. It’s a peaceful drive and I love that it’s the main connector in this part of town. Again, I don’t know if it’s a hidden gem, but you get on it, head north, and you wind up at the water. What could be more gorgeous and representative of the city?” she asked proudly.

Savannah was even a major player when Osman’s now fiancé, photographer and videographer, Drew Miller, created his special engagement plans.

“Drew’s originally from Los Angeles, but he did this amazing all Savannah proposal day for me that began with meeting two of my best friends at our house. Then, he gave me an invitation to be part of a scavenger hunt that took us across the city. We had lunch at Emporium—where I got a present and clue—that led me to Stump where I got a plant and another clue, which took me to the Starland District for another present and clue, which ultimately led me to the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens—not the one on Eisenhower—the bigger one outside the city… now, that’s a hidden gem.”

She paused to take a breath—or for perfect effect—“That’s where I got my final gift,” she said. “He proposed to me right there with the incredible background of the gardens. What a special moment it was for us.”

Thanks to Nadia and Drew’s love story, maybe it won’t be a hidden gem anymore.

For more information on the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens visit coastalbg.uga.edu

For more information on the SBDC visit georgiasbdc.org/southern-coastal


Here's Osman with Jamie and Lauren on this week's "What are we Doing?" podcast:

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