Shelley Danner4.jpg


Founding Program Director
Challenge Detroit

To me, limitless leadership is about learning, listening and having a willingness to explore and evolve by designing and iterating on your own leadership. I talk a lot about the importance of reflection as a leader, both creating space for self-reflection and for reflecting on your work. I also believe empathy and connecting with your community are key.

With seven cohorts of Challenge Detroit Alumni, it is rewarding to keep supporting and mentoring alumni as their careers and contributions unfold. Whether alumni work in the private or social sector, I know they will bring a community-minded lens of leadership from their experience in Challenge Detroit.
— Shelley Danner

A Michigan native, Shelley helped launch nonprofit Challenge Detroit in 2012. As program director, she has used her management consulting background to co-launch, design and run a fellowship program that develops community-minded leaders in our city. The program model, which aims to retain and attract talent, centers around impact, leadership and innovative capacity-building for nonprofits. Some of the local nonprofits she has collaborated with to serve Detroit’s neighborhoods include the Mayor's Office, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, Detroit Public Schools, Forgotten Harvest, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Downtown Youth Boxing Gym and Coalition on Temporary Shelter. Shelley is also an adjunct professor at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, teaching design thinking in the Integrated Design MFA. She was recognized on the 2018 Crain's Detroit Business Notable Women in Nonprofits list, is an alumna of the 2017 AMEX Nonprofit Leadership Academy at the Aspen Institute and was invited to the Obama White House in 2016.

How Shelley Gives Back:

Shelley is passionate about the arts and serves as a co-chair for the Detroit Opera House BravoBravo! fundraiser. Shelley is on the founding advisory committee of the Detroit Women's Leadership Network and also sits on the advisory board for the University of Detroit Mercy Masters of Community Development program. Shelley is engaged in various city-wide forums on community development, leadership and talent as well.

Shelley’s Blue Sky Goal:

I would like to continue to amplify my contributions to creatively ignite, develop and support a pipeline and ecosystem of talent that will make a positive difference in our communities - particularly women leaders, diverse leaders, and impact-focused leaders.