Plain and simple, why now and why DFC?
I served as executive director of GRDC for over 25 years, and as much as I loved my job there, I feel that the knowledge and experience I have gained working in one community can be applied to issues on a city-wide scale. The DFC Implementation Office offers me the opportunity to help address some of the city's most pressing issues in the context of a long-term, strategic framework for equitable and sustainable city development.
Did you use the DFC Strategic Framework to inform your work at GRDC? If so, how?
At GRDC, we organized our community to be actively involved in the Detroit Future City planning process and we felt that the final Strategic Framework reflected many of the goals and strategies we felt were appropriate to our neighborhoods. We used the Framework to understand how our neighborhood level revitalization activities fit within an overall strategy for the city.
What excites you most about your new role with the DFC Implementation Office?
I am excited about the opportunity to delve more into questions of policy and how revitalization programs and services can be delivered to effect change for the better. As a director of a community development corporation, there never seemed to be enough time to do the research into innovative ideas and long-term strategies that I wanted and needed to do. I am most excited about the opportunity to collaborate with other local and national thought leaders to think through and tackle some of Detroit's biggest challenges.
In the interview process, what did you learn about the DFC Implementation Office that caught you by surprise?
I was pleased to learn about the level of collaboration between the DFC Implementation Office and city government, and the work that has already been done to define where the organization can add the most value to redevelopment processes in Detroit.
What are some best practices and/or programs at GRDC that you are looking to utilize at the DFC Implementation Office?
I feel that I have some real expertise when it comes to neighborhood stabilization strategies, including both residential and commercial revitalization programs. Every neighborhood is a little different and needs strategies tailored to its specific assets and circumstances. However, my years of experience in community-based development, working on the ground with neighborhood residents and business owners, has taught me a lesson or two about effective community planning that I think can be applied to work across the city.