An enriching partnership in Detroit

Challenge Detroit Fellows have the opportunity to work with some amazing host companies. These companies are thought leaders in their industries, they’re committed to philanthropic initiatives in Detroit and believe in the importance of attracting and retaining innovative, entrepreneurial thinkers. To shed some light on how our partnerships work and how grateful Challenge Detroit is for their support, we want to start telling Detroit about these incredible companies. First up, Hamsa Daher, Chief Operating Officer of Mango Languages.

What is Mango Languages?

Guided by our core purpose to enrich lives with language and culture, we create lovable language and culture learning programs for individuals to use through their local library, school, work and just for plain old fun. We’re based in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and are proud to be a part of the lively Detroit-area technology scene. The Mango team includes people from all over the world, and our staff is made up of linguists, programmers, artists, a former rocket scientist, and past and current fellows from Challenge Detroit.

Why did your company decide to host Challenge Detroit Fellows?

Mango has been based in the Detroit area since our inception, and we strongly believe in supporting the community that has given us so much. We’ve been active in philanthropic endeavors around the city, and identified early on with Challenge Detroit’s mission. Mango employees and Fellows have a similar commitment to celebrating different cultures and languages and spreading that joy throughout the community. As a young company with a young staff, we couldn’t be more excited to have Fellows come join us and take an active role in sparking Detroit innovation!

What does a typical day look like for a Challenge Detroit Fellow at Mango Languages?

Fellows work in different departments throughout their year with Mango, depending on need. Right now, we have two fellows: Jason Aoraha and Jessy Wang. Jessy is an HR coordinator in our HR department. She’s integral in recruiting passionate, qualified candidates to join the Mango team. Jason is a member of our Homeschool team. We make sure that Jessy and Jason have the freedom not only to do their work as Fellows, but also to help us continue to be good corporate citizens–and they’ve risen to the challenge in amazing ways. Jessy has already spearheaded a recycling program in our office and Jason has given us great ideas for new philanthropic efforts. How they squeeze all this in between their work in HR and Homeschool and their Mango Arabic, Mandarin and French lessons, we’re not sure–but they’re doing a great job!

In what ways do Fellows bring value to Mango Languages?

Fellows do fresh, imaginative work at Mango, and their grit and drive help us grow in exciting, sustainable ways! Like Jason and Jessy are currently doing, Fellows help Mango in many ways, and are a great addition to our overall culture. After years of hosting Fellows, we’ve been able to see how these efforts have grown and compounded on each other, helping establish Mango in the community. We can also say, Fellows have great work ethic and a real loyalty to the city and to the company. We even have a Fellow who joined our team following their Challenge Detroit commitment, and we love having her as a permanent member of the Mango family.

What positive impact do you see Challenge Detroit having on Detroit?

For the last three years, Challenge Detroit has proven its ability to attract and retain young talent–something that we can personally vouch for. Challenge Detroit has made it easier to work and play in our city, and the influx of talented people we’ve seen because of the program has made a real difference in how Detroit runs. We’re excited to live in a city with a program like Challenge Detroit, and can’t wait to see what the future holds!