Susan Hopkins lives in Detroit where she works as a program manager at the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP). Her position at the DDP is part of the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program, a two-year program administered by Wayne State University and funded by the Kresge, Hudson-Webber, and Skillman foundations. Before moving to Detroit, Hopkins worked for ECONorthwest, an economics and finance consulting firm based in Eugene.
What Community Service Center (CSC) program(s) did you work with?
What year(s) were you affiliated with the CSC?
My most memorable experience or greatest accomplishment at the Community Service Center and its programs was…:
Working on a CPW project in Redmond, OR as a first year, I realized as our team gave results to the City Council of Redmond how different it is when the stakes are more or less higher than a typical student project. My eyes were opened to the way it feels to be accountable for the information being delivered, the anxiety (or motivation) to make sure everything is accurate because it’s your reputation on the line–and these are real clients paying real money for the work. You cannot manufacture that kind of real world experience in a typical academic setting. It’s something you have to experience and feel to fully understand.
The most critical skill(s) I learned from being engaged in CSC programs are/is….:
Learning to read a complex situation. For example, the dynamics and interactions with paying clients. What are people in a meeting saying vs. thinking? What does our client really want? The value of CPW is that you can participate in that kind of real world interaction and then afterwards debrief with the team and someone like Bob Parker, who can then help you dissect what just happened.
Basic Skills : Learn Microsoft Word and Excel. Knowing 20% more than the average person will get you far. Though it’s not rocket science, colleagues have remarked that I am a magician just because I know how to use styles, can figure out page breaks and can create pivot tables.
What was your first job after engaging with the CSC, with what organization and where?
My first job was a full service development firm in Portland, Oregon called WRG Design. My role was to coordinate the pre-development process, pulling together all the different pieces that go into a development project: site selection, market studies, traffic studies, site plans, and civil engineering plans, architectural plans, zoning permits, environmental permits, etc. It was a fantastic place to work. I loved working with all the talented and committed people in that field. And it was a wonderful way to learn about all aspects of the development process.
What professional organizations do you belong to?
What advice would you give someone just entering this field?
Don’t hold out for the job that perfectly aligns with 100% of your ideals and principles. Keep an open mind to possibilities and explore your job opportunities.
Call to Action / Plug Something: Find me here, Register for my workshops, Subscribe to our newsletter, Visit my website, Follow us on Facebook, Support us, Attend this event , Find out more here, etc.
Want to participate in the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program?
The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program will soon begin its search for the second cohort of fellows. The program combines two years of full-time employment with executive development-style education. There will be extensive networking opportunities, along with professional coaching and mentoring. http://wayne.edu/detroitfellows/program.php
More about the Community Planning Workshop(CPW)