It is very common in college towns for there to be a large population of accompanying spouses and partners, and Ann Arbor is no exception. There are countless individuals who have relocated to the region supporting their loved ones while they pursue graduate and professional degree programs.
Madeline Shepherd is one such spouse. “When my husband Jeremy decided to pursue his MBA at University of Michigan Ross School of Business, it was a joint venture. My first time ever in Ann Arbor was Jeremy’s interview weekend. I spent the day wandering around by myself, went into the West End bookstore, over to a café and read the book I just bought, and wandered around Main Street. Right away, I felt this would be an excellent place for us to begin our next chapter.”
The reality for accompanying spouses is that while they willingly move to support their loved ones, they often leave their own careers behind. Madeline, an urban planner with a master’s in urban planning and policy left a five-year employment without her next job lined up. “I had always worked in the transportation policy space and when we moved, I sought opportunities within that space, knowing I may not find something similar to that exact role.”
Fortunately for Madeline, the job market in the Ann Arbor region is flush with opportunities. It wasn’t long before she joined the City Solutions Team for Ford Smart Mobility, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. “A lot of my team works remotely in cities across the country. On days that I don’t travel to our headquarters in Dearborn, I work out of FordLabs which is located in downtown Ann Arbor. A lot of what they are doing is testing new concepts and it’s a fun way to be embedded with innovations going on within the company.”
Now, Madeline enjoys working with cities and stakeholders to address transportation challenges and working together on supporting their efforts with Ford solutions. “The Ann Arbor region has a vibrant mobility ecosystem,” observed Madeline. “The number of companies located here that are using technology to help people move better and more efficiently is really impressive.”
The city itself holds a lot of charm for Madeline. “Ann Arbor is a small town in size yet feels very cosmopolitan. It’s very hip and culture oriented, diverse with lots of different perspectives, and even stands out amongst other college towns. When I first arrived, I was just shocked by how many trees there are! To be able to take a quick drive out of the city and discover such beautiful scenery, red barns, apple orchards, and rolling hills — it’s just beautiful.”