Andrew Moss, one of our 2019-2020 Fellows, comes to us from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He is a University of Michigan alum with a Bachelors in Political Science and International Studies and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning. He is also a Masters Candidate for Business Administration at Wayne State University.

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

My host company is DTE and I work in Public Affairs on the Neighborhood Revitalization team. My work focuses around how DTE, as a company, can leverage resources and our presence in the community to impact positive community transformation. My role is focused both in Downtown Detroit, specifically around the headquarters, as well as in the communities in which DTE’s tier-2 coal plants will be retired in the coming years.

Tell us about the challenge project you’re currently working on; what are you learning from the experience?

The halls of Pershing High School during classes. A huge part of empathy is spending time walking in others’ shoes, including going to the places in which they spend most of their day.

I am currently working on a project with the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) Family and Community Engagement (F.A.C.E.) team in which we are tasked with planning a youth leadership conference. I am part of the Partnerships and Outreach team, which is creating a strategy for partnership development and a template for how partners and their resources can be tracked. Individually, I am working to create a process that enables DPSCD to effectively gauge and identify students’ needs that can be filled by community partners. Much of my work focuses on applying, modifying, and documenting the design thinking process as a means to identify the needs that DPSCD students have.

How do you hope to impact the community this year?

The people we meet and organizations we work with have been doing this work in Detroit for far longer than I have and are the experts in this field. While staying cognizant of that fact, I hope to use my knowledge, skills, and time to help incredible community organizations increase the capacity of our challenge partners. I hope to help move the needle in a positive direction for these organizations and all of the people they serve.

Since becoming a Fellow, what have you learned that you didn’t know previously?

Challenge Detroit has been the ultimate lesson in humility and empathy. Regardless of how much formal experience and education you may have, you can’t learn someone else’s experiences. CD has given me the ability to feel comfortable being a novice while empowering me to do everything I can to learn, engage, support, and understand what others are experiencing. So much of life is about empathy, and CD is built around that value.

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

I think the amount of emphasis on design thinking will be a huge boon to my career. CD teaches you how to think in a very community-oriented way, and that will benefit me and the people I work with for the rest of my career. I also think that the network that CD is enabling me to build is crucial in being able to make a difference in Detroit and beyond. 

If someone reading your interview is considering in applying to be a Fellow, why would you encourage them to apply?

Challenge Detroit is an incredibly unique opportunity, both in Detroit and nationally, to make a positive impact on communities while improving your personal leadership skills. CD is a constant lesson in humility and puts you in the uncomfortable position of being a beginner in an incredibly complex social, political, and economic setting while providing opportunities to speak with, learn from, engage with, and support the experts. The level of access you have to incredible change makers is unprecedented, and you spend a year getting to dive deeply into what is happening in Detroit in a way few, if any, other opportunities provide. Plus you get to meet and work with some incredible people both in CD projects and at your host companies.

Want to learn more about Andrew? Listen to his radio interview with WWJ Newsradio evening anchor, Jason Scott, here