As part of Challenge Detroit, each fellow works for a host company Monday-Thursday, and then their company allows to take Fridays to participate in projects for Challenge Detroit. These projects are called, “challenges” and they are in partnership with nonprofits. or community development organizations in Detroit. My host company is Brooks Kushman LLC, an intellectual property and technology law firm that represents clients nationally and internationally, located in Southfield, but with offices across the country

When I first started the fellowship, I assumed that my work at Brooks Kushman would be separated from the fellowship, and that the firm would have little involvement with my commitments and activities with Challenge Detroit. Over the past few months, I’ve learned how wrong that assumption was. In my position as a marketing coordinator, a lot of the practical skills I’m learning at my company translate into our challenge projects. In particular, my comfort level and knowledge of different design programs has increased, and as a result I have become a better resource for my challenge project teams. I’ve also learned more about working with and having to incorporate the ideas of multiple people through Brooks Kushman. This has been valuable when it is important for me to incorporate the ideas and concerns of not only our challenge partner, but the multitude of communities that they serve into our final recommendations.

Brooks Kushman has also supported the fellowship by sponsoring one of our quarterly group activities. In June, the firm supported our trip to the Holocaust Memorial Center that I helped coordinate. This visit included a discussion with a Holocaust survivor and a guided tour by a docent. Fellows found the experience not only informative, but invaluable. This visit would not have been possible without my company’s support, and their quick willingness to sponsor our visit was greatly appreciated by all the fellows.

I am very grateful for the support of my host company, and I look forward to continuing to work with them!