Haley Jakabcsin, a 2019-2020 Challenge Detroit Fellow, grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She attended Northwestern University in Chicago where she graduated with a Bachelors in Economics and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications.

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

I currently work for Lear Corporation, a global automotive leader for seating and technology. I am a Sales Coordinator and my team is responsible for developing strategies to drive revenue and growth for the organization.

A perfect example of empathy: This is an example of a conversation starter a teacher at Pershing High School used with his ninth grade history class.

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

We just completed our first challenge with Detroit Public Schools Community District where we were tasked to develop a district wide conference that promotes leadership and student voice. I was on the Marketing and Evaluation team, which developed tons of marketing materials, guidelines, strategies, and timelines to drive student engagement in the conference. My biggest takeaway from this challenge was empathy. We worked very closely with students from multiple schools to learn their preferences on everything from colors to buzzwords to social media use (or lack thereof). Because of these insights, we were able to connect with the youth we sought to engage in a much more meaningful and effective way.

How do you hope to impact the community this year?

I hope to impact the community in a way that lasts beyond the duration of this fellowship. As a cohort, we have the opportunity to change the trajectories of the lives of the people we’re serving, and my goal for this year is to make sure this potential is realized.

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

Haley loves admiring all of the artwork on buildings throughout the city. This one is from Arts & Scraps on the east side of Detroit.

Haley says that these are some of the best tacos she’s found with her Fellow cohort in the city.

Although I’m from Ann Arbor and spent plenty of time in the city growing up, Detroit has changed a lot since I moved back to Michigan from Chicago. I’ve been having so much fun exploring different parts of the city with the other fellows — everywhere from coffee shops to restaurants to community gatherings to lots of different nonprofit events!

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

I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of people (fellows, partners, stakeholders, and everyone in between). Everyone comes from completely different backgrounds and has their own set of unique experiences that shape their particular perspectives. I’m looking forward to continuing to listen to and absorb as many of these stories as I can over the next year.

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

Challenge Detroit is an incredible opportunity to grow both personally and professionally — it will challenge you to listen to diverse perspectives, engage in communities you may not typically have the opportunity to interact with, and execute tasks you may not have any background in, but you’ll be experiencing it all with a cohort of peers that are equally as excited to learn, engage, and experience as you are.