This Challenge Detroit year has been a formative one for me; I have had the ability to grow as an individual and as a professional. So, in an opportunity to reflect on my experience this year, I give you 5 things I learned as a Challenge Detroit fellow.


  1. To open my ears before my mouth. The Design Thinking process emphasizes the use of active listening as a powerful design tool. However, I have furthermore found that it also applies to more than just design. Although I am still enhancing this skill, I have already seen a notable difference in the way I have fostered relationships.
  2. To encourage rather than discourage. In Design Thinking, more productive ideation sessions begin with supporting and encouraging your team members. No idea is a bad one, as all ideas have the potential to spark other ideas (and more ideas are better than less!)
  3. To set goals and to make strides every day in reaching them. I think some of my proudest moments this year were when I would cross off something on my Detroit bucket list. Because I knew that I would most likely have only one year in Detroit, I made sure that I was using every free moment to enjoy, to experience, and to learn more about this city.
  4. To stay productive. I have found that there is no feeling more disappointing than not accomplishing at least one thing every day. I don’t want to regret how I spent my time on my deathbed.
  5. To follow my intuition. When I had the chance to meet our CEO at Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, she said, “Only you are responsible for your own successes.” Although I only partially agree with this statement (as I think it neglects to mention the need for support systems), I think she has a point. Only you know what is the best for yourself, and it is important to heed that intuition, and so, with the support of friends and family and with the right resources, you can and you will create your own successes.