Emi Mitsusada-Boylan is a 2020-2021 Fellow at Clark Hill. She was born in Higashiomi, Japan and grew up in Trenton, Michigan. Emi attended college in Detroit where she established her closest friendships, first learned to explore, and where her passion for people grew. She is excited to continue to engage with a city that has given so much to her.

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

Clark Hill PLC is located in Downtown Detroit in the Ally Building.

My host company is Clark Hill PLC, a multi-disciplinary and international law firm. I am a part of their Business Analytics team as a Financial Analyst. In my role, I provide support to the firm’s business unit leaders and directors through data analysis and develop strategic recommendations to support the firm in achieving their goals.

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

We recently finished our first Challenge Project. This round was a whirlwind to say the least, but in such a great and impactful way! Each week, we dove deep into the different stages of the Design Thinking Process. In this first iteration, Challenge Detroit supported Focus Hope’s Generation of Promise program which “aims to build a community of young leaders who celebrate diversity and are dedicated to the elimination of discrimination in metropolitan Detroit.” My project team was specifically tasked with designing an event to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Generation of Promise and their impact in the community. My team and I needed to think deeply and creatively when considering how to achieve human connectivity and engagement safely during a Pandemic.

Through this process, I’ve learned so much about collaborative work, and even more so, the importance of vulnerability and

Working together with my project team and Generation of Promise’s Staff, Shayla & Alexa!

story-telling. Centering our human experiences is what brings us together, provides opportunities for bridging gaps, and propels us forward. Generation of Promise’s work is rooted in this, and it is why their work is so successful. It was incredibly powerful and relevant to be reminded of this in a time where we feel so polarized and human connection is made even more difficult during a pandemic.

How do you hope to impact the community as a Fellow?

As a Fellow, I hope to share with others the fantastic opportunities and work happening in Detroit and use my unique personal experiences and perspectives to develop innovative solutions for our non-profit partners with my cohort.

What are you most looking forward to as a Fellow this year?

As a Fellow, I am most looking forward to continuing to engage in and learn from a city that has given so much to me. Detroit is where I attended college and established my closest friendships, it is where I first learned to explore, where my passion for people grew and where I’ve returned to work and serve. I strive to build upon the skills I have gained in my previous corporate business and non-profit work to strengthen effective community engagement.

Share the most memorable moment you have experienced so far as a Fellow. Why was it memorable and how has it impacted you?

One of the most memorable moments I have experienced so far as a Fellow was participating in the Ideation Process with my project team on our first challenge project. In this phase, after conducting interviews with staff, alumni, and board chairs of Generation of Promise, we used the feedback and information gathered to come up with our potential solutions. It was so fun engaging in creative brainstorming. Though each member of my group had been a part of the same interviews, I loved seeing that the solutions we individually came up were all so wildly different. This exemplified the power of collaboration and the value of diversity. Our final deliverable was stronger because of our combined innovation and amplified community voices.

If someone is reading this and considering applying to be a Fellow, why would you encourage them to apply?

Challenge Detroit is such a unique and intentional experience. It has only been two months, and in this time I have already heard from many brilliant community leaders, and been challenged to think and use my skills in ways that I had not considered through the Design Thinking process. It continues to expand my understanding of the opportunities available, not only to myself, but to the city of Detroit. Local leaders, entrepreneurs, and communities are doing incredible work and they are shaping the city in innovative and beautiful ways. If you are passionate about Detroit, open to learning from others, and supporting community work, then this is the place for you.