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MSU alumna uses her communication degree to help Detroit

February 23, 2018
Pictured is Little Caesars Arena in Midtown Detroit on Jan. 2, 2018.
Pictured is Little Caesars Arena in Midtown Detroit on Jan. 2, 2018. —
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

Detroit native Chloe Seymour grew up in the Motor City with hopes of moving back one dau to pursue her career. Making her dreams reality, the MSU alumna has kicked off her career in Detroit with her MSU degree in hand.

Seymour graduated from MSU in 2015 with a bachelors degree in communication with a specialization in public relations. Seymour spent most of her days at MSU going from class to class, working at The State News in the advertising department and walking around campus giving tours as an AOP tour guide. 

After graduation, Seymour combined her love for Detroit with her experience as a tour guide by joining the Detroit Experience Factory.

Seymour went from giving tours on MSU's campus to giving tours to locals and visitors in the city she loves—Detroit. 

“I was in public relation agencies right out of college,” Seymour said. “I worked in one while I was at State still and I wanted to use my degree, so I tried to do that for a while and I just felt like my heart wasn’t in it ... I really hated having a 9 to 5 desk job. I just wasn’t finding it satisfying at all.” 

Seymour left her desk job and started out having a part-time position at Detroit Experience Factory, and now works full-time as an experience coordinator. 

The non-profit organization has given more than 95,000 people tours to locals and visitors since its launch in 2006, according to its website. Seymour said she knew she always wanted to work for a non-profit organization she believed in. 

“We are all about exposing people to the city, but not only the city, but the people and the projects and the places that you can’t see if you come down here for just a Tiger’s game or a Red Wing’s game,” Seymour said. “We really want to encourage people to explore outside of the downtown core area.” 

Detroit Experience Factory uses interactive experiences and innovative resources to help newcomers and locals. Seymour said attending MSU helped prepare her for her position at the non-profit organization in more ways than one. 

“I got made fun of a lot because people don’t believe communication is a real degree, but it definitely is,” Seymour said. “It helps me every day. I can’t count the amount of times that I reference my degree. ... Giving tours to freshman was my first big step into this kind of thing.”

Seymour said one of her favorite things about the job is being able to learn more about the locals who live in the city. She said many people don’t realize how much the city is thriving. Her goal is to keep spreading the positive message about Detroit. 

“I think we are taught that you get the degree and then you go get the job and that's what you're supposed to do, but just because I am not directly using my degree every day doesn’t mean I am not using it,” Seymour said. “Detroit is so different from moving to any other big city because it's like a small town in a big city. ... It’s really good for recent graduates who are looking for something different, who might not want to go super far away from home. Detroit is calling their names.” 

Tour Program Manager Kaylan Waterman started at Detroit Experience Factory more than two years ago. She is originally from the westside of Detroit. Seymour is a part of Waterman’s tour team. 

“One of my passions is revealing the neighborhoods to people who might not be aware of them,” Waterman said. “(Seymour) is really passionate about what we do, so it’s a real pleasure having her a part of the team. She just brings an incredible work ethic.”

Executive Director and Founder Jeanette Pierce said she started the non-profit organization 12 years ago, so she could connect locals and visitors to the city of Detroit. Pierce herself is a lifelong city resident. 

“I didn’t know anything about business or starting a non-profit, but I knew that there was a need to tell the real story of Detroit from the perspective of people who actually live here,” Pierce said.

Pierce said her goal is to open people’s minds and allow them to go beyond downtown. She said there is something in Detroit for everybody, including in neighborhoods people don’t often visit. 

Pierce said she married her husband, who attended MSU, after they met on a tour in Detroit. Seymour is another MSU connection Pierce has. She said Seymour has a Spartan work ethic. 

“Other people who we might have had in the past, I have had to remind them about something 1 million times, and Chloe either does it before I even ask her to or does it beforehand,” Pierce said. “She always goes above and beyond.”

Pierce said her favorite thing about Detroit Experience Factory is the people she gets to meet and work with on a daily basis. 

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“We know our neighbors and we know the owners of the shops, bars and restaurants because they frequently are our neighbors,” Pierce said. “We have this community that you don’t normally get in a place that also has all of these big amenities. The one thing that brings everyone together is that desire to be a part of something bigger and give back to their community.”

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