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DEGC’s young leaders use innovation to redefine leadership

Sep 21, 2018

From Kyla Carlsen, Small Business, Senior Operations and Finance Manager

Like former President John F. Kennedy, the DEGC believes that “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Putting those words into action, the DEGC promotes learning opportunities for even its youngest leaders. As a member of the DEGC’s Small Business team, I’ve had the opportunity to improve my skill set and grow my understanding of the many aspects of our business through various training programs and continuing education.

Beyond my role at DEGC, I am an active change-maker serving the Detroit community through a variety of organizations including Alternatives for Girls, Detroit Young Professionals, Detroit PAL, and Detroit Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum that connects a network of young leaders driving dialogue, action and change in their communities. The World Economic Forum’s, Global Shapers Community empowers young leaders to play an active role in shaping local, regional and global agendas.

Last month, I attended the Global Shapers 2018 Shape North Americaevent in Sacramento. I was able to exchange ideas with exceptional young leaders, representing over 30 countries, and bring those concepts and ideas home to my Motor City Match team to spark creative thinking, challenge traditional leadership roles, create robust and sustainable business strategies, and shift how we think about providing education and technical resources to business owners.

A few weeks ago, I was one of 50 Shapers selected to present a project proposal to World Economic Forum leaders in Geneva, Switzerland during an annual Global Shapers conference. The project challenge: build a city of the future in which every person (regardless of race, gender, age and income) can thrive. Our proposal: leveraging FourthIndustrial Revolution (4IR) technology to address inequality. You can read more about the Detroit project here.

Due to our successes in promoting equitable development through small business investment, I was also selected to participate in a two-day workshop prior to the global conference with 150 other entrepreneurs and start-up ecosystem stakeholders. During the workshop, multi-stakeholder workgroups developed a business model and implementation strategy to develop the world’s foremost innovation accelerator platform. I also participated in insight lab training sessions on Inclusion in Startup Ecosystems and Social Entrepreneurship for Systems Change, where I learned techniques to enhance the effectiveness of our programs within DEGC.

Lastly, the conference provided personal development training sessions such as mental health awareness, avoiding burnout, and embracing failure, where I gained the holistic skills, tools and bonds needed for leadership in an increasingly complex world.

This generation has inherited enormous global challenges, but has the drive and ability to confront the status quo and offer youth-led solutions for change. I’m very thankful the DEGC understands the importance of this challenge and supports leaders at all levels stretching their abilities to strengthen our organization.

Five things you should know about the DEGC:

  1. Kyla Carlsen selected as 2018 DBusiness 30 in their Thirties recipient
  2. Motor City Match awardee Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply Co to celebrate grand opening on September 25
  3. Motor City Match awardee Pink Poodle Dress Lounge to open on September 25
  4. President & CEO Kevin Johnson to give keynote address at Downtown Detroit Partnership Fall Stakeholder Meeting Sept. 27
  5. DEGC president & CEO Kevin Johnson joins Michigan Governor Snyder on trade mission to China, attending the World Economic Forum

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