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Meet HBS Leadership Fellows: Katie Rae Mulvey, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

By: Katie Rae Mulvey 22 Jun 2017

During the year, we’ll be connecting with some of our 2017-18 HBS Leadership Fellows, to hear about their backgrounds and their experiences in the Fellowship year. First up is Katie Rae Mulvey (MBA ‘17) who will be starting this summer at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

Tell us about the organization and your role for the Fellowship year.

Next year, I will be working with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), a nonprofit that has been leading economic development and real estate work in the city of Detroit for 35 years. DEGC works closely with the Mayor’s office to attract corporations and investments to the city, to build up the small business community, and to facilitate public-private partnerships that create jobs and strengthen the local economy. In my role as Special Assistant to the President and CEO, I will be creating internal structures and systems that allow DEGC to better measure and communicate its impact. I will also support DEGC’s work on the ground in in the city to accelerate the revitalization efforts in Detroit.

What is your background pre-HBS?

Prior to HBS, I spent three years in consulting at Booz Allen Hamilton, followed by three years in venture philanthropy at Strategic Grant Partners, a foundation in Massachusetts. My stint in consulting helped me build critical analytical, problem solving, and project management skills that I will be able to use throughout my career. During my time at the foundation I discovered my passion for social impact work and learned how to effectively translate a promising mission or idea in the social sector into an actionable plan and a high functioning organization.

What most excites you about the Leadership Fellows opportunity?

It’s an extremely exciting time to be living and working in Detroit, especially in economic development and real estate. These are new focus areas for me and I feel very lucky to be able to do this work in a city like Detroit that is rebuilding from the ground up and trying to redefine its identity and economy while honoring its rich history. The DEGC team is also very impressive, having amassed a wealth of experience leading economic development efforts in Detroit and in other cities across the US; I am eager to learn from them.

Why is the Leadership Fellows Program different from other post-grad opportunities?

The Leadership Fellows Program’s emphasis on impact, access, and leadership is unique, especially at this point in my career. Not only does the program offer the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on an organization’s trajectory, work on meaty, mission-critical projects, and have access to impressive senior leaders from whom I can learn about leadership and running effective organizations, but it does so within a one-year timeframe. The cohort experience is also a big draw – I am excited to be part of a community of like-minded alumni who want to work in the social sector and hope to use the group as a sounding board as we all transition into this next phase of our careers.

What do you hope to achieve during the year? 

I hope to help DEGC evaluate its impact in Detroit and develop tools to communicate that impact both internally and externally – not only to help deploy its resources more effectively but also to share its lessons learned and best practices with other cities across the country. I hope to gain insight into how to develop a city in a sustainable and equitable way so that existing residents of Detroit benefit from the new economic activity as new residents like myself also benefit from the growth. I also hope to use this fellowship as an opportunity to build strong relationships with managers, mentors, and advisors within DEGC, in the Mayor’s Office and across Detroit.

In one word, what is the Leadership Fellows Program to you?

A gateway.

The HBS Leadership Fellows Program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a select group of graduating students to experience high-impact management positions in nonprofit and public sector organizations for one year at a competitive salary. Learn more about the HBS Leadership Fellows Program.