Calyssa, after living in many different cities across the globe, what makes Detroit unique?
Detroit’s rich history and unmatched cultural heritage is what makes Detroit unique in my eyes. I’ve lived in places like the D.C area, which as our nation’s capital has a rich history, but Detroit’s story is truly one of a kind. For instance, I knew that Ford and GM had its headquarters here, but I had never heard about the luxury Packard cars that use to be manufactured here as well. Detroit truly is the Motor City! Historically, I also wasn’t aware that Martin Luther King delivered his ‘I Have a Dream Speech’ right here in Detroit, before delivering it in Washington D.C. Musically, I knew about Motown, but I just recently found out that two of my favorite artists growing up, Anita Baker and Aaliyah, grew up right here in Detroit. Of course there’s the architecture, riverfront, gorgeous neighborhoods and historic buildings that physically make Detroit one of the world’s most gorgeous cities, but there is so much history here! Detroit was and still is the place to be. I’ve always been a history nut, and while living here I’ve learned something new every day; it has proven to be a true cultural experience.
What are some of your favorite places to go/things to do in the city?
One of my goals when I moved here was to meet new people and try a new restaurant at least twice a month. On the weekends, you can find me either having lunch at Buddy’s Pizza in Hamtramck, or Zocalo’s in Mexicantown. And I love breakfast at the Coney Island on 8 Mile. But to have fun, I either go to a place on Livernois Avenue to hear their live band, or Bakers Keyboard Lounge. I just discovered Bakers last weekend! It’s the oldest Jazz club in the world, operating since 1934 and it’s right on Livernois, the historic Avenue of Fashion. Food and good music are my idea of a good time, so I usually find places with one of the two, if not both. In general, I usually like to get outside of downtown and explore other parts of the city.
Tell us about your host-company and what you do?
My host company is the Detroit Lions. As a marketing fellow for the Lions, I assist with the development and coordination of marketing materials and assets. These marketing materials are for game day activities and non-game day events, such as concerts and fundraisers. In addition, I assist with prize giveaways, on field promotional activities, and supervise eight fan ambassadors responsible for promoting fan engagement on game day. Lastly, I work with the Community Relations department to help integrate games that have significant involvement with community initiatives.
What makes working for the Lions unique?
Working for a National Football Team is unique in itself, but I would say the most unique part of my job is attending every home game that’s played at Ford Field! We put in a lot of work to make every game a great experience for our fans, and it’s always great to see how our product comes together. I also love meeting Lions fans and the away team’s fans as well. It’s amazing how sports, especially football, can bring all different types of people together. You have the ability to really move people, and that’s another reason why working for the Lions is so special.
What do you enjoy most about the challenges?
It’s just been a great learning experience. Our first two challenges: Community Arts and Multi-modal Transportation have been about two topics that I don’t consider myself very knowledgeable about, and it’s been great learning about them and hearing how they affect the city of Detroit. I was a part of the event team for the first challenge, and helped put on a barbeque for the Lindale Gardens neighborhood to increase community engagement. This was the highlight for me: having community members talk to one another, and seeing kids excited to have a moon bounce in their neighborhood. The contact that I get to have with the community has been the highlight of the challenges for me.
What are you up to outside of Challenge Detroit and the Detroit Lions?
Outside of Challenge Detroit and the Lions, I am a member of Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a public speaking and leadership development organization. We have meetings at the Riverfront Towers every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. Once you join, there are certain levels and speeches that you have to make to become a competent communicator. I’m probably one of the youngest, if not the youngest member in my club, but I have really enjoyed it! And it’s really helped me to get outside of my box and polish my public speaking skills.
Check out Calyssa’s personal blog here, and her spotlight video.