Josh Hubbard is a 2021-2022 Fellow. Josh grew up in Detroit and Southfield, Michigan, then attended Howard University, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in Washington D.C. where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.

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

For the duration of my Challenge year, I’ll be serving as the Manager of External Engagement for the Marygrove Conservancy in Detroit. The Marygrove Conservancy formerly existed as Marygrove College for over 100 years. Since the college’s closure, the campus has rebranded as a community-serving nonprofit focused on offering educational resources for students from early childhood to high school and beyond. My role consists heavily of marketing, graphic design, communications and helping to connect the many tenants on the 53-acre campus.

Aerial view Marygrove campus

The beautiful Marygrove Campus located in the Livernois/6 Mile area of Detroit.

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

Our cohort is currently working with the Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance. My team has been tasked with developing strategies, from events to interior design, to attract more visitors into the Alliance’s Downtown Detroit gathering space. My biggest takeaway from this experience so far has been the unintentional collaboration. The cohort has been divided into separate teams, all with different areas of focus in relation to the Business Alliance. As the challenge progresses, many of the supposed separate teams have found the need to collaborate to best serve the Alliance in our suggestions. I’ve found it interesting that the teams seemed to carry such individual agendas at the challenge’s start, yet we now are beginning to all blend together to reach a common goal.

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

One thing that impressed me about Challenge Detroit was their selection of host companies. Each available company is making real differences in the Metro Detroit Community. My role at the Marygrove Conservancy, in addition to my role as a Challenge Fellow, has already allowed many opportunities to give back to those in need, which is something very close to my heart. Through the coming months, I look forward to being able to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate through my work as a Challenge Fellow.

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

Earlier this year, the cohort was taken to Focus: Hope, a Detroit-based nonprofit geared toward providing education and resources to underrepresented communities throughout the city and beyond. During our day at Focus: Hope, one aspect of our morning was facilitating a food giveaway for the community. We created signs to draw traffic, packed boxes with non-perishables, and handed out as much free food as we could to those in need. Giving back to the less fortunate is something that I always cherish at any opportunity. The chance to be face-to-face with those we were helping was a huge plus for me. We even heard stories of those who weren’t in need, gathering food to transport to those who were. It was giving back in the most literal sense, and I look forward to volunteering with Focus: Hope in the future, even beyond my time as a Challenge Fellow.

An example of the creativity born through collaboration during design thinking training day. This was the final prototype of a functional mobile application developed by my team and I within a couple hours for presentation.

How do you believe your fellowship year will shape your career moving forward?

My Fellowship year is less than halfway complete and has already presented an innumerable amount of connections. Members of the cohort present and provide resources and opportunities for each other on a daily basis. There is a sense of family in which we all aim to help one another succeed; not to mention the connections that have been developed outside of our cohort. Challenge does an amazing job at placing us in positions to shake hands with persons of influence, generate connections, and take part in opportunities much bigger than ourselves. It’s clear that my time as a Challenge Fellow will maintain a positive impact on my professional career for a lifetime.

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

Challenge Detroit presents a community unlike any other. The benefits you begin acquiring from day one immediately prove to be invaluable. You will learn skills you didn’t know you needed and develop skills you didn’t know you already had. The personal and professional connections you make along the way are a nice bonus, too.