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BLOG:On the Road: Universal Mind Sponsors Digital Summit Detroit

On the Road: Universal Mind Sponsors Digital Summit Detroit

I’m heading to the Motor City this week for what promises to be an exciting conference, as Universal Mind is sponsoring the Digital Summit Detroit, taking place on Tuesday, October 11 and Wednesday, October 12 (full agenda here).

I’m excited to see Detroit, the innovative city that put the world on wheels, home to Motown, and birthplace of the middle class, as its contributions to the American zeitgeist over the years has been immense.

But for me, heading to Detroit is a homecoming.

I grew up in the immediate blue collar suburbs, a 15-minute drive from the city, and, as an adult lived in and worked in and around Detroit my entire life. Having to relocate to Denver in 2015 due to my husband’s employer, I’m still a crazy proud Detroit Girl through and through…I refuse to give up my 313 mobile number and I’ve paraded my Wings gear all over Denver (people don’t forget). But those are only small, obvious things that speak to my Detroit ties…see, Detroit stays with you in many invisible ways, always operating on some level beneath the surface…

Detroit can teach one many things. It can teach you to be resilient. It can teach you to be protective. It can reveal the depths of one’s interior grace and fortitude; it’s not a place for the weak-willed, yet it can humble you greatly if allowed, bringing you to your knees and testing every aspect of your character.

I love Detroit for that - give up your fancy, high-minded ideals, and get ready to get real: get ready to learn what you’re really made of.

While writing this blog, I was afraid it would incite a riot of sentimentality. That it would be impossible to write about the legendary Cobo Center, where the Summit is taking place, without mentioning that Cobo is where Martin Luther King first gave his I Have a Dream speech in 1963. It’s also where KISS played a historic, sold-out, three night Detroit Rock City set back in the 70’s. That thinking about going to Cobo as a kid to check out the Auto Show with my dad who worked at Ford Rouge would elicit a wave of memories, infusing every sentence, every word, with a snapshot in time from my personal history.

It is. It’s doing just that.

It’s no secret Detroit has struggled. For years. And for MANY reasons: from corrupt politicians to industrialized racism and classism to the death of American manufacturing, the challenges faced and transitions endured by Detroit in the 20th century are staggering. Everyone knows it, everywhere. From being the punchline all over TV and in movies, in media and in the press…in European airports, on return flights to Detroit, people around me in line, waiting to board the plane, would talk trash about my city. Sneers, shame. Pity. Looks of disbelief. Looks of ‘oooh…yuck.’

All of that known, cumulative and collective disdain can easily tinge the view and identity of those receiving the focus of this demeaning gaze. Because of this, I’ve always felt like the underdog, being from a place so many wrote off or laughed about. And, it isn’t easy there…the most challenging, yet most resiliency-building times of my entire life unfolded in a southwest Detroit flat or in Del Ray, sitting in the broken down social services office…

But it’s those tough times that make you stronger. Being an underdog can make you scrappier - it can make you hustle harder just as one of the most highly regarded commercials ever made reveals, “only the hottest fires make the hardest steel.” In my experience, I’ve found that desperation and survival are conjoined mothers, often bearing forth the fraternal twins creativity and inspiration. Could that be why Detroit produced Motown and Techno? Aretha, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder? Eminem? Iggy, Madonna, the White Stripes? I could go on and on…so much talent hales from this often rebuked city!

Detroit has been home to and inspired countless artists, actors, and activists. How? Why? Perhaps it’s the city’s inability to hide the brutality of life. It’s honest and real and being honest and real can also be ugly at times. Paradoxically enough, that’s part of the beauty of Detroit: for even in the struggle, in the darkness, there can be gifts…

Needless to say, I was excited back in April of this year when learning that Universal Mind and the Digital Summit Detroit would summon me home. Over 800 people are slated to visit the streets of the city to attend the nearly sold-out event featuring over 40 presentations from digital thought leaders at top brands including Google, Pinterest, Salesforce, Visa and Pandora.

And, we’ll also be taking the stage. On Tuesday, October 11, at 4 pm, Universal Mind’s Joe Salowitz will address the crowds, revealing The Eight Mindsets Shared by Companies that are Excelling in the Digital Age. Joe will speak to the mindsets wielded by successful organizations and share how any organization can leverage these mindsets to optimize digital value delivery.

Detroit and the Digital Summit will definitely expand one’s worldview and knowledge base while helping attendees stay current on trends and best practices from the digital landscape. In a nutshell, here are the details:

Where: The Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226


  • The intensive pre-conference workshops begin Oct 11th at 8:30 a.m. and finish at 12:45 p.m.
  • Registration for the main conference opens at 12:45 p.m. and the first session starts at 1:15 p.m.
  • On Day 2, there will be morning coffee networking at 7:30 a.m. and the first session starts at 8:30 a.m.

And, if at the Summit, make sure to stop by the Universal Mind booth. We’d love to talk more with you about how Universal Mind can help your business reach its ideal business state. And, of course, I would love to talk all things Detroit with you.

Interested in visiting Detroit and checking out the Summit? Please feel free to use our VIP discount code of DSDETINSIDER75 for $75 off any pass level when registering here. The event is nearly sold out so register here today!