Challenge Detroit: Week 1

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September 1, 2012 by Caroline Dobbins

It has officially begun, my year long experience with Challenge Detroit. It promises to be a year of living, working, playing and giving in the City of Detroit. Myself and my cohort of 29 other amazingly talented and diverse Challenge Detroit Fellows just finished our week long orientation and boy was a a whirlwind week.Challenge Detroit 2012- 2013

Day 1: We started the year off with a bang with inspiring speeches from Mayor Bing, the founder of Challenge Detroit and Doyle Mosher all at the beautiful offices of Urban Science.  It was jam a packed day of breaking the ice, getting acclimated and starting our year off on the right foot.

Day 2: Off to TechTown! We spent the day focusing on communication. How to communicate the message of Challenge Detroit, how we will communicate with each other as well as how to communicate in leadership roles and team dynamics. All valuable things to learn as we begin a year (if not a lifetime) of communicating the amazing things that are happening in and around the City of Detroit.

Day 3: Business Professionals, that’s what we are! We spent Day 3 meeting with our host companies in the morning learning the ropes and in my case getting to work! In the afternoon we had the opportunity to be welcomed by The Collaborative Group as well as learn about the importance of our personal brand from Mr. Hajj Flemings, and having a conversation about ethics in the workplace.

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

Day 4: It’s “pure Detroit” day.  We spent the morning together helping the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy clean up the site of the old Detroit Free Press building in preparation for their development of the West Riverfront in the coming months. We then ventured back to TechTown to learn about the past, present and future of the city from some very bright minds.  We heard from authors and professors that have devoted their lives to studying what Detroit is all about and what it has the potential to be.  It was inspiring to say the least and certainly got my wheels turning.

Day 5: A day of fun! We spent the day at one of the coolest places in the city, the M@dison Building! We started our morning with a city scavenger hunt in teams of 4 (my team didn’t win) and then spent the afternoon getting to speak with the movers and shakers who work at the M@dison every day.  Bizdom, Detroit Venture Partners, Detroit Labs and many more.  We ended the day with a great panel discussion on how we can immediately make a difference in the city in which we now reside. Again, another awesome day!

Those are certainly just the highlights there was much much more going on through the week.  To sum up the week I would use the word INSPIRING.  A week of coming together for a common cause, to change and influence the conversation that the city, the state, the country and the world is having about Detroit. I am more confident than ever that Challenge Detroit is exactly where I am supposed to be for this year in my life.  I’m eager to get started, make a difference and get dirty with the city that is now my home.


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