Ahvae Richards is a 2022-2023 Fellow. She is a Project Engineer at Mosher Dolan. Learn more about Ahvae below.

Live, Work, Play, Give, Lead

Me, kayaking the Detroit River off of Belle Isle with the city skyline in the back!

The Pillars of Challenge Detroit are Live, Work, Play, Give, Lead. At this point throughout the Challenge Detroit fellowship the pillar that has stuck out to me the most would have to be live. This may be a simplistic notion but to me it holds a deeper meaning. Prior to starting the fellowship, a drastic change happened in my personal life that really changed how I would have to live my life going forward. Being set on a certain path for the past four years in terms of school and partnership, it can be really disorienting when both of those paths come to an end. The fellowship has really given me the opportunity to further develop not only my career, but my personality in a time where change molds you into a more evolved version of yourself. Fully leaning into the experience that Challenge Detroit offers without putting a guard up and deciding to show up authentically has helped me to be more comfortable with myself as an independent, whole person. I think at this point in my life, as I enter a new era of sorts, it has been empowering in many ways. Being surrounded by a cohort of people that fully support each other has really impacted me.  

As a Fellow that left college pretty unsure where to go next, joining the fellowship has been a great way to enter my career with like-minded people and a good amount of recent grads. It is also encouraging to know that all of us understand the feeling of imposter syndrome, which can haunt us all at different times. Entering the fellowship has felt like a safe space for me and having (Challenge) Fridays feel like a mental reset after a long four days at my host company. So far, Challenge Detroit has encouraged me to feel comfortable in larger group settings, lean on my coworkers for advice, and that I have the ability to create safe spaces for myself and the people around me. All of these developments have helped me live more authentically in my professional life.

 About Me: My name is Ahvae Richards and I am originally from Jackson, Michigan but moved to Detroit when I started school at Wayne State University. I graduated in the spring of 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Urban Studies. Ever since touring Wayne State in 2018, I fell in love with the city of Detroit and I knew that this is where I wanted to start my adult life and career. With that being said, staying in the Detroit area and participating in a Detroit-centered fellowship only makes sense for me and where my path has led me thus far. 

Some things that I enjoy doing outside of work would be spending time with my amazing support system of friends and family, cooking, kayaking, yoga, getting tattoos, and video games! I am really passionate about wellness and prioritizing mental health. I am a huge advocate of therapy and I believe that mental health is just as important as your physical health and should be a normalized discussion especially in a professional setting. I am also a cat mom!

Why should someone apply to be a Fellow?

I would encourage someone to be a Fellow if they are someone who wants to push themselves to understand and empathize with different communities that they may not interact with otherwise; If they are looking to challenge themselves professionally by developing leadership and public speaking skills; If they are looking for a community to support you in a career transition or beginning. If that person resonates with any of the above, I would encourage them to apply to Challenge Detroit and get excited about a once in a lifetime experience.