Challenge Detroit kicked off our third year back in September, but with such a busy first few months, we hadn’t gotten the chance to celebrate the excellent class of fellows until Tuesday, November 18. The Compuware building downtown was kind enough to host the event, and Fountain Bistro in Campus Martius hosted the after party. Compuware was full of the city’s best and brightest, with current fellows, as well as inaugural and second-year fellows, and host company representatives all supporting this year’s class.
Marlo Staples, an inaugural fellow who currently works at TechTown, one of the city’s most established business accelerators, spoke of her experience with Challenge Detroit. She grew up in the area and after leaving to attend college, she found her way back to the city through Challenge Detroit and two years later is still quite active in the city.
“Without Challenge,” she said in her speech, “I wouldn’t have the informed perspective that I do now.”
Other speakers included another inaugural fellow, Cornetta Lane, who has also stayed active in Detroit, discussing a program she started called Detroit Dialogues which focuses on having tough conversations about important topics in an interesting setting.
Year-two fellows Fares Ksebati and Corissa Leveille also spoke about their experience with Challenge Detroit and the impact the program had on them, keeping them in the city of Detroit after the fellowship ended and for the foreseeable future. Though this year’s fellows haven’t been with the program very long, the impact the city has made on them thus far is apparent. Current fellows Sarms Jabra, Sarah Robb, Branden Bufford, and Jessica Wang, who thanked the program for “taking a chance on a random Canadian girl,” spoke about how the first few months of Challenge Detroit are treating them.
In addition to words from past and present fellows, guests at the event were fortunate enough to hear words from Challenge Detroit co-founder, Doyle Mosher, board of directors’ chairman Frank Angileri, executive director Deirdre Greene-Groves, past program director Shelley Danner, and new members to the staff Brittany Sanders and Caroline Dobbins (also both alums of the program).
Challenge Detroit prides itself not only in connecting leaders to opportunities to live, work, play, give and lead in the city, but also on keeping them there. The retention rate of past fellows continuing to live the values of Challenge Detroit once their time with the program is over is over 90 percent. “And we expect nothing less of this year’s class,” said Greene-Groves. After spending a year in one of the most culturally diverse and tenacious cities in the country, who would want anything else?
View the original post at Challenge Detroit‘s blog.