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Engage With Passionate Changemakers and Make a Difference in Detroit

J’Adore Detroit
Kelsey Hubbell
March 9, 2022

When people ask me why I live in Detroit, or better yet, why I stay in Detroit, I don’t hesitate with my answer. My response is, and always will be, the people. We all know that Detroit has faced major hardships, and certainly hasn’t always had the best reputation as a hotspot for people looking to grow their careers. But the city continues to shift dramatically, in part because there’s something about the people here that makes it a magnetic place you just don’t want to give up on.

Born and raised on Detroit’s east side, and with parents deeply embedded in their community, I felt pretty well-connected when I applied for Challenge Detroit in 2016. I was looking for a career boost and the fellowship looked like a great opportunity to strengthen my leadership skills and make a larger impact in the city.

I found both of those things as a Challenge Detroit Fellow, but also so much more. Yes, professional development and career growth are a huge part of the year-long commitment, but the people I met and the relationships I nurtured were what made it such a pivotal experience. Not only was I now a part of a cohort of 30-plus other leaders, but I also became connected with the extended Challenge Detroit family. That family is made up of hundreds of Challenge Detroit alumni, current and past host companies, nonprofit partners, industry leaders, and more.

My Challenge Detroit cohort was made up of over 30 Fellows, each unique in their experiences, places of origin, talents, and abilities. But we all had one thing in common: we were (are!) changemakers.

Throughout our year as Fellows, we were assembled into teams to work on projects with our non-profit partners, allowing us to work closely with almost everyone in our cohort. The experience of collaborating with one another taught valuable lessons in teamwork, negotiation, and perspective. It also provided us each with a new network of allies, advocates, and friends that extended far beyond our one-year fellowship. Whether it was preparing for a presentation, participating in a social event, or just chattering over lunch on a Leadership Friday, invaluable friendships were made as a result of Challenge Detroit. In fact, one of my current creative endeavors, an annual event called Camping on the Cut, was born from a conversation with Detroit Riverfront Conservancy staff during a conference I attended as a Fellow.

Challenge Detroit is a transformative opportunity for driven and passionate people. As a Fellow, you are afforded many chances to connect, expand, and give back to your community. Whether you’re a lifelong Detroit resident, a newcomer to the city, or an out-of-towner looking for a change of scenery, this fellowship is an incredible way to get the ball rolling on creating bigger and better things for yourself and the city of Detroit.

The organization is heading into its eleventh year and is currently recruiting Fellows for its next cohort. Passionate changemakers are encouraged to apply for a chance to enhance their leadership skills, make an impactful difference in Detroit, and grow their network of friends, colleagues, and partners with Challenge Detroit! Applications are open until April 13. Apply now at

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