Tell us about one of your favorite neighborhoods in Detroit and what makes it unique?

One of my favorite neighborhoods is District 1, Berg-Lahser neighborhood. While this the neighborhood currently has a lot of development necessary to grow and develop structurally. This neighborhood was the first place I found community. Growing up in this neighborhood, I was able to make friends, get to know their families and make memories.

This neighborhood also exposed me to the structural and systematic changes in a community that can impact the community dynamics and the families both negatively and positively. Many schools were closed in this area and access to community centers was limited, but the neighborhood continued to watch over the kids in the community. Being exposed to adversities within the community created an avenue for me to want to
develop a community where ever I am.

Tell us about the challenge project you’re working on now and what you’re learning from the experience.

Most recently, we worked with Detroit Homecoming to create a business expo that highlights both the businesses and communities of Detroit to potential investors. My team worked to develop community engagement for this event which allows us to go into the community and talk to all those impacted by this event. From this experience, I learned about the value of community input and empathy.

Tell us about your host company and your role in the organization.

My host company is Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. This organization is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit that works to develop a yearly event for the first weekend in June highlighting motorsports with seven races in four series (the Verizon IndyCar Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks, and the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli) highlighted by the only doubleheader weekend on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule – the Dual in Detroit. As a team, we work to develop an event that will create an environment for fans and newcomers alike. We work together to give input on different ways to expand this event and make a greater impact on the community. My specific role is to work on the Operations and Security team to help coordinate the schedules and assess the security of the event.

What kind of impact do you hope to have with your host company and within the city?

I have hopes that my host company can continue to work on developing strategies to highlight their contributions to the city as a nonprofit organization that raises money through the Grand Prix to help the Belle Isle Conservatory and other organizations throughout the city. The Grand Prix provides multiple opportunities for people throughout the City of Detroit to volunteer and participate in the development of the Island. Belle Isle is an icon for everyone within the city; many see this place as a space where memories are made for all generations to come. The Grand Prix is working to restore and conserve the space for generations to come through the funds raised and input from our volunteers and residents.

What are you most looking forward to in Detroit in 2018?

2018 is the year that I look forward to developing and growing myself and my career. I look forward to being a part of the growth happening in Detroit and finding self-care while on this journey.

How do you believe your fellowship will shape your career moving forward?

My fellowship is helping me develop a network within the city that is necessary for me to navigate while developing projects throughout the city. I hope to continue to use design thinking after Challenge to create programs and help other organizations throughout the city.

To learn more about Montinique’s Challenge Detroit experience check out her spotlight video.