As a year five Challenge Detroit Fellow, you finished your fellowship over six months ago, what are some of your highlights, personally and professionally from the past few months?
Well, a lot has happened for me over the last six months so it’s hard to choose. On a personal level, I’ve continued to come across creative opportunities surrounding video and photography, and even music too which has been fun. I also suffered a fairly painful back injury that last about 5 months so it’s a blessing to be healthy and working out again, especially before summer starts. On a professional level starting my new position at Hunt Street Station has been a highlight for sure. I’ve also been approached to join two different boards and feel like I’m in a challenging but good place.
You recently started a new position at Detroit’s newest coworking space, Hunt Street Station, tell us about your work, and how you continue to carry what you learned during your fellowship in your work today.
I started my position as Hunt Street Station’s Community Manager in early February and it’s been great. Since Hunt Street Station is a brand new coworking space I have the privilege of really exploring new ideas and the creative control that I desire in a job. Matt Morin, the co-founder of Hunt Street Station and previous host company partner to Challenge Detroit, has done a good job of both teaching me but also allowing me to grow on my own which has also been a blessing. I take care of all the day to day operations, programming, creating education for business and entrepreneurship, sales, and pretty much anything else you can think of if you were your own business owner, that’s how I feel sometimes. There are frustrations but that comes with any good in life. Challenge Detroit has helped me to learn how to cultivate professional relationships as well as human-centered design thinking. The whole premise of coworking is to fulfill the needs of individuals who are small business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs so I have to think about how to make the space best for them.
In what ways do you serve as an ambassador for Detroit in your work and life outside of the city.
I’m just trying to be one of many people who are changing the narrative of Detroit. The best way for me to do that is create the opportunity for dialogue and provide knowledge of the city. I don’t spend much time outside the city, but people who follow me on social media and see my life in Detroit often ask me about how it is living down here and that creates an opportunity for conversation.
What are a few of your favorite ways to play and explore in Detroit?
Personally I’m a huge extrovert, I love people, music, and art, so generally my ways of playing and exploring involve one of those elements. I also try to push my comfort levels by going to different types of events with people I maybe wouldn’t normally be around. I would say you’ll likely find me dancing at a Haute to Death event, making my friends feel awkward with my camera in their face, enjoying the sun on Belle Isle, and I never miss a Red Bull House of Art show. The best way to explore Detroit is 100% on bike.
What excites you most about Detroit’s future?
One thing that excites me most about Detroit’s future is tied to its past. There’s so much history and culture here and so much we can learn to better prepare ourselves for the future. We can look at the auto industry and perhaps foresee what happens when technology advances. We can look at techno music and learn about creativity. We can look at the neighborhoods and learn about resilience. We can look at Redlining, or black bottom, or the lack of regional transportation and learn about racism and segregation. There’s just so much to learn, good and bad, but with knowledge comes power. Oh, I also know a lot of people who care about the environment which excites me too.