You were a Challenge Detroit Fellow two-years ago, please share highlights of your fellowship year such as a favorite project or experience.
My favorite project during my fellowship year was done in partnership with EcoWorks and the West Village Association. This project emphasized the value of design thinking–specifically empathy and the ability to be agile. What started out as a mobility project turned into one focused on the concerns of residents. Had we moved forward with pushing our agenda, we would have completely missed the mark. We instead provided deliverables that informed community leaders of their residents’ barriers to maximizing alternative forms of transportation, as well as a toolkit to help better inform and engage their community in their mobility, sustainability and economic development efforts.
What have you focused on, personally and professionally, since completing the program?
Since completing the program, I have focused more on my relationships and all aspects of my health. For me, those two areas are critical to allowing me to be my best self. Professionally, I have focused on continuing to build my leadership skills, empowering communities by connecting them to resources and sharing what I’ve learned with others.
As Challenge Detroit’s (CD) Talent & Engagement Manager, I will be leading efforts to recruit potential candidates, engage communities and provide Fellow support. In this role, I hope to increase CD’s visibility and attract a diverse and talented pool of candidates from Detroit and beyond. I also hope to reach new audiences and engage them to become a part of the CD family of support. As part of this entrepreneurial, women-led team of three, I expect to grow exponentially, contribute to CD’s growth, and support communities.
What compelled you to participate in Challenge Detroit and continues to keep you engaged today?
I was compelled to participate in Challenge Detroit because having been away for some time, I felt disconnected to the city I grew up in. I saw CD as a way to learn about current efforts and initiatives, connect with communities and make a meaningful impact in Detroit while developing professionally and building my network. I continue to be engaged because of the people I have met. From the leadership team to the Fellows in my cohort, from Alumni to community leaders and members, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for having crossed paths and being able to learn from them all. In addition, I believe in the work that CD has undertaken and value the contribution it is making to empower communities and leaders.
The community of people from diverse backgrounds working together to create opportunities and empower communities, the contagious and positive energy that is generated and the thoughtfulness and intentionality of efforts are what excites me most about Detroit. It’s the people that really make a place, and as long as there are people who care and build on the work that has been done, Detroit will serve as an example of what can happen when communities listen and support each other.