Executive Director

A passionate advocate for Detroit with a diverse background in urban planning, community development, and nonprofit management, Deirdre Groves is the founding executive director of Challenge Detroit. In this role, Deirdre oversees strategic planning efforts, interacts with Fellows in a one-on-one capacity to help them achieve their goals in the program and in Detroit, and liaises with all partners including host companies, nonprofits, the Board of Directors, donors, and a community of supporters.

Prior to launching Challenge Detroit, Deirdre was the founding executive director of The Collaborative Group, a non-profit organization with a mission of bringing together the intellectual capital of the region’s top talent to collaborate on business and philanthropic efforts aimed at spurring economic growth, job creation, and overall prosperity in the region. Challenge Detroit was launched as an initiative of The Collaborative Group. Deirdre also focused much of her career on real estate development, construction management, and community planning efforts.

Deirdre’s work has garnered the recognition and support of government, business and community leaders. She was awarded by Crain’s as one of it’s 2015 40 under 40, is a 2015 recipient of the Detroit Young Professionals Vanguard Award, has been recognized by Governing Magazine as one of the top 10 people who could save Detroit, is a 2014 Honoree of the Women and Leadership in the Workplace award, was an invited speaker at TedX Traverse City, and is a past participant in the Urban Land Institute’s Larson Leadership Program. Deirdre serves as a Trustee for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and has held positions as co-chair of the Communications Committee for the Urban Land Institute Michigan, participant in the UM/ULI Real Estate Forum Planning Committee, member of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s B.I.N.G. Institute Emerging Leaders Roundtable, member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s NextGen Committee, board member for The Work of Art, and volunteer for the Highland Equestrian Conservancy.

Deirdre holds a Bachelor of Construction Management from Michigan State University and a Masters of Urban Planning & Real Estate Development from the University of Michigan.