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Detroit has long been at the center of local, national, and even global conversations on the ability of a once-thriving metropolis to reestablish itself as a hub for innovation and growth. As industry rebounds and entrepreneurs flock to the city, the discussion focus has shifted to what business owners, colleges, universities and individuals can do to act as force multipliers of the city's recent success. For those eager to contribute, try these approaches:

1. Translate experience into action

Walsh College students are among those people who are taking what they have learned inside the classroom and outside of Michigan to make an impact locally. Recently, a group traveled abroad with Dr. Linda Hagan, chair of Walsh's Business Communications Department, to experience the ways in which their studies can be applied in a global marketplace.

As part of their travels and conversations with various organizations and business leaders, the C&A Foundation challenged the students to take a grant, grow it, and devote it to an organization in their own community. Upon their return, the group presented the donation to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s Earthworks Urban Farm, which feeds the city's homeless, sells organic, locally grown produce to Detroiters and equips both youths and adults in the community with skills to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Not only was the donation the organization's first ever received in euros, but it demonstrated the opportunity for Detroiters to be worldwide ambassadors for the region, taking what's learned and experienced outside of the city and using it to enrich and empower local organizations.

Consider that your educational or professional experience could be used to help those in the community. Whether it's volunteering to chair a committee or engaging with your alma mater to mentor students, you have the power to influence positive change.

2. Get inspired

Since it was established in 1984, the TED conference has inspired audiences with short talks that demonstrate the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives, and, ultimately, the world. Locally, TEDxDetroit – presented by Walsh College this year – has become a preeminent stage for the area's "leaders, thinkers and doers" to come together, share what they're passionate about and encourage collaboration to make Detroit a better place. For leaders such as Dr. Rita Fields, a Walsh alumna (DM '12) and speaker at this year's event, that means taking the stage to share her ideas. (Check out her perspectives starting at the 1:56 mark.)

For others, it can be as simple as offering a new idea in a weekly team meeting that will help a company in the region grow or volunteering to spearhead a fundraiser that will benefit a local charity. If anything can be learned from TED talks, it's that everyone can be a catalyst for innovation and change. Turn to these resources to gain knowledge and inspiration that you can spread to family, friends and your professional network.

3. Listen and share the positive news

The resurgence of the region is undoubtedly due to the hard-working nature of individuals who live and work here. But when everyone's nose is to the grindstone, it can be easy to forget to slow down and listen. Listening is the gateway to building relationships, identifying challenges and finding opportunities to contribute to solutions.

As former General Motors CEO John F. Smith once said, "Good things happen when you pay attention." When you hear something positive about all the great things happening in the Detroit region, share it through your social networks.

The new conversation about Detroit is gaining momentum, and it's driven by action. What may seem like a small contribution to one person is collectively what's to thank for the shift. Let's continue to show the region, the nation and the world what Detroit can do.

Founded in 1922 and celebrating more than 90 years of business education, Walsh College offers 19 business and related technology degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels that are responsive to student,  employer, and community needs. Walsh is a private, not-for-profit institution offering courses and services at locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township, Port Huron, and online. Learn more about how Walsh College blends business theory and real-world experience to deliver career success. 

This story is provided and presented by our sponsor Walsh College.

Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.

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