In May 2016, I vividly remember sitting across from my mentor in a coffee shop in my hometown and expressing my deep interest in Marketing Associates as a host company. I had just been accepted as a finalist and received the host company job guide. I needed to rank the opportunities based on my level of interest in each and submit my rankings to Challenge Detroit so that they could determine who I would interview with. Marketing Associates was #1 on my list, and at the time, there was a chance that I wouldn’t even land an interview with them. Sitting here a little over a year later, it’s hard to believe that I ended up exactly where I wanted to…and had a better experience that I could ever have imagined.

If you’ve kept up with my blogs, you’re probably already sick of me gushing about Marketing Associates. But I’m going to need you to bear with me, because more gushing is about to happen.

When I started my fellowship in August, one of the first projects I was given was a request from our CEO, Mark Petroff. He wanted me to design a Challenge Detroit wall display for an empty, curved wall right off the main lobby of our office. If I’m being totally honest here, the thought of designing something that would be printed that large and permanently placed on a wall was terrifying to me. Let me tell you…sadly, you don’t actually print that much in design school. It’s an adjustment to go from dropping PDFs of your project into your professors email to: “wait…you want this to cover a wall?”

Last month, the wall display was put up. It was so amazing to see it come to life. Every time I walk by it, I can’t believe that I was given the opportunity to execute such a large, unique project. It’s definitely one of my shining moments to date as a designer.

And the best part? Displaying five generations of Challenge Detroit Fellows on Marketing Associates’ wall…and getting all of those fellows together for a photo with Mark…because all of them are still working there. If that doesn’t convince you that it’s an incredible place to work, I don’t know what will.

This project came to fruition with perfect timing. With my time as a Challenge Detroit Fellow coming to a close, I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on the past year. This project is a great representation of the personal and professional growth I’ve experienced and the amazing company and people who have supported me throughout the process. I imagine that next year we’ll be taking the same photo, with Marketing Associates’ sixth Challenge Detroit fellow by our sides!