Tell us about a few of your favorite places in Detroit and what makes them each unique.

I am definitely a fan of the restaurant scene in Detroit because some remind me of a taste of home. Located on the eastside of Detroit on Chene, you will find the restaurant Dani VI’s that sales the best Italian subs for cheap and they are the best. Then throughout pockets in Detroit, you will find at least one Coney Island restaurant which is a signature place of dining in Detroit. I really enjoy restaurants and attractions, where I feel welcomed and at home. The best things about my favorite restaurants in the city of Detroit is that you don’t have to spend an abundance of money to eat well or have a good time. Restaurants and attractions like Bucharest Grill, the Coney Island, Lou’s Deli, Pizza Papalis, Urban Soul, Greek town, the River Walk, Campus Martius, Mexican town, Harbor House and Slows Barbeque are unique Detroit spots that all real Detroiters should know. As you can tell, I like food.

What have you learned from Challenge Detroit so far?

As a Challenge Detroit Fellow, I work alongside a cohort of 42 diverse young professionals as a consulting group; addressing projects that are called “challenges.” Those challenges have brought a plethora of experiential learning opportunities and the platform to grow as a future leader in the Detroit community. Through the implementation of human-centered design concepts and core pillars of Challenge Detroit, I am learning that selfless acts in leadership are key driver for change in the community. I have also gained a greater understanding of team collaboration with consideration to the competitive advantage of diverse ideas and inclusive interactions.

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

The University of Phoenix is an institution who provides access to higher education opportunities that enable students to develop knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, improve the performance of their organizations, and provide leadership and service to their communities. While the school specializes in online programs, the Detroit campus offers additional programs and services that support student success. At the University of Phoenix-Detroit Campus, it is my role to plan, develop and coordinate community relations activities to support campus growth and to create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization, alumni, students, faculty, staff, partners, potential students, and the community at large. Within the Michigan market, the University of Phoenix has more than 3,000 students, 13,000 Metro Detroit alumni, and over 990,000 alumni nationally saturated within the workforce. I can honestly say that I love my job.

What kind of impact do you hope to have with your host company and within the city?

I hope to inspire others to achieve their life goals through connecting progressive resources and services including, higher education attainment and workforce readiness solutions. The University of Phoenix- Detroit has a history of supporting diversity in higher education and traditionally underserved communities. With the future of Detroit seemingly fertile; post-secondary attainment is important because it will help fuel Detroit’s viability, including answers to how to live, work and lead in Detroit. Others may believe that education is important because it teaches people about the world around them. On a day to day basis, I strive to create resources and connections for the students, staff, faculty and the community at large. I am confident that by creating right learning programs and concrete professional development services that lives can be changed for the better.

What are you most looking forward to as you continue your fellowship year?

I look forward to the many experiences that Challenge Detroit can offer. I’m most excited about the network and relationships that I will be built over the next year. As a fellow and knowing more people within the City of Detroit will provide greater access, facilitates the sharing of information, and makes it easier to influence others. I’ve really enjoyed the many networking experiences including the opportunities to create strong relationships and how one can connect when you engage people in your network.

What do you envision for Detroit 10 years from now?

The next 10 years in the city of Detroit are going to be awesome. According to the Detroit News, we will see advances in business, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, data science, synthetic biology and an interconnected world of sensors and computational intelligence. But all of these advances will mean nothing if we don’t use them to make the lives of people better. I envision Detroit being a come-back city for its people; evolved to a greater city that we never knew could exist. Our science, technology, communications networks, collaborative tools and funding mechanisms have progressed to the point where today we are only constrained by the limits of our imaginations.

To learn more about Jarrett’s experience as a Challenge Detroit Fellow check out his spotlight video below.