IT In The D – Episode 50: Assemble, Girl Develop IT, Detroit Labs, Brightwing and More

IT in the D, Episode 50.

We were going to call it “Girls, Girls, Girls”, but then we realized that we’d probably get “Slapped, Slapped, Slapped”, and so…yeah, no.

As we knew it would be, this episode was a blast.

We were joined in-studio by Kate Catlin of Assemble: Giving Small Businesses a Bigger Chance, Elyse Turner from Brightwing, and Erika Carlson of Girl Develop IT – Detroit and Detroit Labs.

It was a wild ride from the get go…


As always, our first segment ran through the introductions around the room, and then dove into some news and events that have caught our eye over the past week.

The links to find those stories…and some we didn’t get to due to time constraints but are still worth taking a look at…can be found down below.

Kate Catlin
Kate Catlin

For our second segment, we hopped in with Kate Catlin to talk about her project geared towards helping small business downtown improve the way they do things.

She’s got a Rockethub (kinda like KickStarter) campaign going to help fund site development of an online marketplace and exchange for local businesses to partner and work together.

There’s a whole host of cool incentives for donors, including coffee mugs from Great Lakes Coffee, a great lunch, a spin class, a tour of historic downtown bars, flower delivery, something for foodies, and tons more.  Even though she hit her original goal, she’s now aiming higher to get even more done, so check it out and donate at

Elyse Turner
Elyse Turner

Our third segment focused in with repeat guest Elyse Turner from Brightwing.

We talked about the job market and the kinds of positions that Brightwing is currently on the hunt to fill, as well as what they’re seeing in the local industry scene with regards to contract, contract to hire and permanent placement positions.

We also dove into some common ground that we’ve all walked over from time to time – helping out college students (and others) who are woefully unprepared for the real world upon graduation.

Students with 3.8 and higher GPAs that should be a lock for the jobs that they’re not getting, and the feedback coming in says it’s because of the lack of softer skills – they can’t communicate properly, they don’t know how to talk with people, they can’t express what it is that they actually do or want to do…or even worse, they’re showing up unshowered, completely unprepared…

…or they have their mom keeping tabs on the recruiter and the interview process…

…yeah, that’s a great idea.  Check out Brightwing and everything that they have going on out at

Erika Carlson
Erika Carlson

We saved the best for last (no offense to Kate and Elyse, of course) and our fourth and final segment roped our other repeat guest for the night, Erika Carlson, on to center stage.

Erika has her hands in just as many (if not more) things as we do, and so it’s always good when we get can our schedules to sync up so we can play catch up with her.  And get a new drop or two for future usage…

Her two main areas of focus these days are her work as one of the founders of Girl Develop IT – Detroit and her “real world” job at Detroit Labs.  For those not in the know, she not only talks the talk, but has walked the walk herself.  She was studying clinical psychology just a few years ago (which probably explains why she knows how to manipulate the three of us so easily and well) when she made the gutsy decision to switch gears and head into coding.  Her frustration with finding good resources led her to partnering with a few others to start the Detroit chapter of Girl Develop IT, a 501c3 charitable organization dedicated to getting women more involved and engaged with technology by teaching them how to develop in various languages and get them up to speed for a new career track.  That whole backstory can be heard way back in Episode 2 of our show here.  She then took what she learned both through her own studies and while teaching, and is now working at Detroit Labs, a great company downtown that’s doing something we harp about constantly – solving their own talent shortage by creating what they need.  Their Apprentice program just recently closed out the latest round of applications, where they had over 200 people apply to be a part of a program that actually pays people to learn on the job and gain the skills that Detroit Labs specifically needs as an employer.

What a novel concept.

Jazz Fingers. They happened.

So listen live and hear all about what Kate, Elyse and Erika have going on, as well as every Freudian slip you can possibly make during a two hour broadcast and other random mayhem.

Tune in next week as we’re joined by the CKC Agency and Dom Riggio of Mess Bucket Comics.  Because no, we’re still not done talking about our Comic Con adventure just yet…

As always, we can be found:
On the web:
On Meetup 
On LinkedIn: 
On Facebook: 
On Twitter: 
On Soundcloud: 

Kate Catlin’s Assemble fundraising drive can be found at:

Elyse Turner’s company, Brightwing, can be found at

Erika Carlson’s work with Girl Develop IT – Detroit can be found at, and Detroit Labs is at

News stories that caught our attention:

Tech Company That May Not Exist Is Worth $5 Billion:

Smallpox is deadly.  Probably should’ve have just been laying forgotten about in a random closet in Maryland, CDC:
Avast buys 20 phones from people off craigslist, finds 40,000 photos, 750 women naked, 250 pics of schlongs, 4 full identities and a fully completed loan application:
Hackers / SEO black hat go after google maps, destroy businesses…including FBI and Secret Service:
Amazon wants exemption from FTC to launch drones for “Amazon Prime Air”
The NSA – remember when we said we only collected metadata?  Yeah, well, it’s 80% of all phone calls.  Everything.
– France bans free shipping on books to screw with Amazon.  Amazon says “ha ha”, begins charging a penny for shipping:

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