Challenge Detroit was founded in 2008 by Doyle Mosher and Deirdre Groves in response to the exodus of young talent leaving Detroit and Michigan. Doyle, father of two young professionals, was the visionary behind the idea. Deirdre, a recent college graduate at the time who witnessed friends and peers leaving the state en masse, had the youthful energy to put action to the idea. Both saw the need to attract and retain young talent in the greater Detroit area. And, in the true spirit of entrepreneurialism, the two made countless sacrifices to bring the idea to reality.

To support the idea of Challenge Detroit, Doyle and Deirdre brought together ~75 of the region’s top entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial thinkers desiring to make an impact and contribute their intellectual capital to the revitalization efforts of the community, in a deep recession at the time. These individuals together formed an organization called The Collaborative Group and, through the Group, developed the strategy for Challenge Detroit and found initial companies to employ program participants along with funding to launch the initiative.

After several years of strategic planning, creative thinking and plenty of hard work, Doyle and Deirdre launched the program’s first recruitment cycle in early 2012. At that time, Deirdre met Shelley Danner by happenstance. The two hit it off immediately recognizing their shared passion for Detroit and making a difference in their home state of Michigan. With well balanced skills and attributes, Deirdre and Shelley came together to further design and implement Doyle’s vision for the program.

As we celebrate our fifth year, the success of the program, in many ways mirrors the momentum of Detroit. When the program launched in 2012, the city was facing its largest population decline in history and was on the brink of an economic disaster. Since that time, Challenge Detroit has attracted nearly 4,000 applicants from our own backyard and across the country, and drawn nearly 175 leaders to join the program as Fellows. Following each year, approximately 75% of the fellows receive offers from their host companies and 85% make Detroit their home.

Our alumni are still contributing to Detroit and are playing leading roles in the city’s evolving story. Challenge Detroit has developed a strong network of talent and today our alumni fellows are launching businesses, starting and serving nonprofits, playing leadership roles in their organizations (including working at Challenge Detroit!), and loving living in Detroit.

Learn more about our past programs:


Challenge Detroit – Year Five Program (2016-2017)


Challenge Detroit – Year Four Program (2015-2016)


Challenge Detroit – Year Three Program (2014-2015)


Challenge Detroit – Year Two Program (2013-2014)


Challenge Detroit – Inaugural Program (2012-2013)