Eboni Thomas is a 2022-2023 Fellow. Her host company is DTE where she works on the HR Workforce Development team. Learn more about Eboni below.

Step Into Your Try Era

Whether it is the fear of looking foolish, being afraid to fail, or just plain old scared, trying new things is hard. For someone who considers themselves to be very outgoing and curious, when it comes to trying new things I’m either 100% terrified and will have to be pushed and pulled to follow through or I’m hopping in feet first, no in between.  

I would have missed this if Kellie had not caught me at the right moment (Campus Martius Christmas Tree).

Challenge Detroit lives up to its name. I like to think of my time in the program as the beginning of my Try Era. I know that each Leadership Friday we have and each project we do with organizations in the city, I’m going to be challenged and I’m going to be trying. I know I will take those learnings with me long after Challenge Detroit is done. I’ve already had the opportunity to meet amazing leaders in the city and previous fellows, but I would like to spotlight a current Fellow who has inspired me, Kellie Wasikowski.

Due to the pandemic, I had unintentionally isolated myself from other possible friendships outside my immediate friend group. Going into Challenge Detroit I was a bit scared that I would fall back into my old habit of taking myself out of new experiences. Kellie, like the gem she is, started our first conversation during our Challenge Detroit orientation period and immediately helped me feel at ease. We share similar hobbies, we introduced each other to new music, and I know she is there to support me when I need to talk, and vice versa. She made me feel proud and excited to explore my city like I never had before, through new eyes.

Other than friendship, my experiences and connection with Kellie has really inspired me and taught me some valuable lessons:

  • Lean into looking foolish and discovering the raw uncut versions of yourself, you might find someone to look foolish with you. 
  • Rediscover things you have always seen and known through someone else’s eyes. 
  • Start small. When you start small every little thing becomes a bigger piece of your full puzzle.

Trying new things is still scary, but that fear won’t stop me. If you let the fear stop you it can cut you off from so many new opportunities, sights, and dope friends like Kellie. Step into your Try Era knowing that it is lifelong and can manifest itself in many different ways that require you to jump feet first.

About Me: My name is Eboni Thomas and I was born and raised in Detroit. I attended Oakland University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication. I enjoy reading and recently I have been learning how to roller skate, knit, and crochet. I am also a massive fan of rock and punk rock music and dancing!

 Why should someone apply to be a Challenge Detroit Fellow?
“The best way to grow is through new experiences. Not only will those new experiences shape who you are, they can lead to lifelong friendships and connections.”