Community Development Practitioner Spotlight! See the career and education trajectory of Orlando Bailey, Director of Community Partnerships at The Eastside Community Network

There is a biblical reference that rings true in my head when I think about my career in community development in Detroit; it says "...speak those things that are not as though they were…" Very early on in my life from about 10 years old or so I knew I wanted to work in my community and I would say it all the time. Little did I know the path that I would embark upon. The road to how I got to where I am currently is filled with twists and turns. I currently serve as the Director of Community Partnerships at the Eastside Community Network (ECN) formerly the Warren/Conner Development Coalition. When I was about 10 years old, I enrolled in ECN's Youth on the Edge of... Greatness program. From there the organization could not get rid of me. I was a first-hand change agent in helping neighbors beautify their streets, start block clubs, and restoring pride to our communities on the Eastside of Detroit. Still unaware that a career in community development awaited me, I went on to Eastern Michigan University and studied broadcasting and journalism. I wanted to write news and anchor the news! I was going to be that familiar face either in the morning or evening newscast. Even while in college, during the summers I would do youth development work for ECN under contract and when I graduated, I needed a job and couldn't find one. ECN took a chance on a fresh faced kid straight out of college and from there my love, fondness, and dedication to community development grew and crystallized. "Warren/Conner University" as it is affectionately known has given me a myriad of experiences in the field including but not limited to urban planning, community engagement and organizing, publishing scholarly research, youth development, project management, and economic development just to name a few. I've concluded that I may not have taken the traditional route to become as successful professional community developer but blazing new trails is something I enjoy and I'm not necessarily sure if there is one traditional route for a career in community development!