Challenge Detroit Finalist

Doyle Marsh

This past weekend was a whirlwind of excitement for the future for me. Professionally at Michigan Energy Options we had a great week and weekend, individually I had one of the most intense interviews days of my life with Challenge Detroit so let’s get into it.

To recap the professional pieces the Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability website is now live! I worked with Gravity Works Design & Development in Old Town, Lansing on the content creation and front-end development of the site. Integrating into the site the interactive map, events calendar, and posting news articles are just a couple pieces I was tasked with completing before launch. There will be a more detailed professional piece in my portfolio shortcoming but I’d like to talk about the really exciting portion of the weekend.

Challenge Detroit Finalist

Doyle Marsh This weekend I had the extreme privilege to be a finalist for the Challenge Detroit program. After numerous efforts to get votes and a rigourous application process the 75 finalists gathered at the DoubleTree Hotel in Downtown Detroit for a 2-day interview and networking session. Thursday May 1st we had lunch and were introduced to the founder Doyle Marsh (pictured) before we embarked on a marathon of interview sessions. I had the privilege to interview with ePrize, United Way Southeastern Michigan, Macro Connect, and Marketplace Homes. All of the interviews went extremely well thanks to my efforts in bringing questions, notes, and my resume (printed on fancy paper) to each different company. I tried to make an impression for all my interviews so that I was memorable because each company met with 5-8 finalists and each finalist had 4-5 interviews. The nonprofit sector was represented very well with many people excitedly speaking about United Way and the 8 Mile Boulevard Association interviews.

After the stress and excitement of interviewing four times in 6 hours the finalists were treated to a wonderful dinner and presentation from Veronika Scott who has developed an incredible model for manufacturing winter jackets that double as sleeping bags for Detroit’s homeless community while also employing Detroit women as seamstresses to empower them to change their place from homeless shelter to home owner. You can check out more of her story here. After a much needed night of rest (and a quick drink at Anchor Bar) we had an early wake up call for an incredible bus tour of the city from D:Hive.

Heidelberg  House Fire Oddly enough for timing after the requisite trip to the River-walk and photo by the Renaissance Center we traveled to the Heidelberg Project. Over the night previous, somewhere between 3-4am the ‘knick-knack’ house suffered a major fire. We arrived as the firetrucks were pulling away from the scene and the back of the building was still smoldering. A very poignant quote our tour guide brought up was the Detroit flag emblem sayings, Speramus Meliora and Resurget Cineribus – “We hope for better things” and “It will rise from the ashes.”  Most people on the tour were immediately struck with sadness and I know I was brought near tears as I took the photo you see to the left.

But as every exciting period comes a hard-laden truth, the weekend was a place where young people built, learned, and participated in a mini-challenge with the current year 1 Challenge Detroit Fellows. I know I gave out more than 40 businesses cards to other finalists and of course my interview companies and immediately joined the networking group built for the finalists to stay in touch. It is exciting to see the amount of work and dedication that Millenials like myself share about Detroit and to finally be in a space where everyone wants to see Detroit thrive instead of nay-sayers or business elites looking for their prize I knew that with-out-a-doubt Detroit will be my home for the next decade and I cannot wait to begin my building and work there. I hope it is with Challenge Detroit, but I know that I will be there regardless of how the last round of decisions and hosting shake out.

I’m grateful for the opportunity and cannot thank my friends and family for supporting me through these past 2 months as I have worked to become one of the finalists for Challenge Detroit, and hopefully one of the fellows for 2013.

Michigan Energy Options Communications Management

During the fall of 2012 I was brought on as an intern for the non-profit Michigan Energy Options (MEO).  The primary goal was to work in communications and development for the organization as a whole and for the new project, Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability.  These two projects have been the focus of my internship course as well during my last semester at Michigan State.  I joined the communications team of Tim Nester, Becky Jo Farrington and Katey Joe Desantis at the beginning of September.  Since that point I have worked with the social media (links below) and helped to manage the official site. (Linked above.)  MEO uses the Joomla content management system which has been extremely helpful to learn since many non-profits work with that CMS.  Additionally we have created a comprehensive media plan and social media strategy for the organization which has slowly been rolled out at the end of this year.

Official Facebook

@MiEnergyOptions

As a social media coordinator I have helped facilitate an fairly impressive amount of growth over the past four months. We have consistently posted related articles and news to energy, sustainability, Michigan current topics, and of course our own original content.

This internship and working for the communications team has taught me that you have to be on your toes at all times and ready to work.  That means meetings, web site updates, quick take-downs of spam posts, and  to have consistent messaging.  It has been a very rewarding internship and I will transition into a full-time employee after graduation with MEO.

 

 

Writers’ Bloc Social Media Management

The student board for Professional Writing is known as Writers’ Bloc and as any student group needs a fairly involved social media manager to convey messages to fellow students, organize media, and continuously post.  I was elected into the student board during the 2011-2012 school year as a representative for the Digital and Technical field with the Professional Writing program.  Following a good year learning the structure of the Board I was promoted to social media coordinator for the 2012 school year.  Since taking over the Facebook page I have been able to greatly improve the audience and reach of Writers’ Bloc through the metrics provided by Facebook. (See Below)

Along with Facebook I also have managed the Twitter account which unlike Facebook doesn’t have consistent metrics.  Managing both has taught me that there are numerous messages and voices even from the same organization.  Twitter constrains the abilities of people’s posts on purpose to force users to be as terse as possible while Facebook allows for great deal of information with links and events.  This has been a valuable learning experience since I have learned how to utilize HootSuite an online service meant for managing multiple social media accounts.  Also valuable has been learning how posts and regularity are key to growing audience, even if it isn’t necessarily original content. Reposts and Retweets for other organizations can result in very strong links with those organizations that will become your megaphone when you post your own content.  I will continue to grow this skill and plan on being a social media coordinator for whichever company I work for in the immediate future.