Two University of Michigan alumni were chosen in October as some of Crain’s “40 Under 40.” Crain’s, a publication dedicated to Detroit business and industry news, publishes the list annually to honor some of the best young businesspeople in the city.
Detroit native Emily Linn, who graduated from the School of Art & Design and LSA in 2000, is a co-founder and creative director of City Bird, an art gallery and shop in Detroit’s Cass Corridor. Run by Linn and her brother, who is also a University alum, City Bird has sold locally made art, apparel and handcrafted goods since 2009. Now, Linn is focused on growing the business. She and her brother have begun selling their locally made products online to nearly 100 shops and museums around the state. With this expansion, their revenue is expected to reach $2 million this year.
In a 2013 interview with Michigan Today, Linn said she liked working in the Cass Corridor, as the neighborhood shops all worked together as a community. She noted business owners even get coffee for one another when their shops are busy.
“We support each other’s stores,” Linn said. “It’s helpful for all of us to have more businesses so the area becomes a shopping destination.”
Rebecca O’Reilly, who graduated in 2000, earned her spot on the list as a partner and co-chair for the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group at Bodman PLC, a Detroit-based law firm. While she left Bodman in 2015 to start her own practice, she soon found her business was too successful for just one person to handle. O’Reilly considered merging with another firm, and Bodman jumped at the chance to have her back on its team.
“They came back to me and said, ‘We love what you've done with your practice, we see how it's worked, and we believe in what you're doing,’” O’Reilly told Crain’s. “‘Just bring it all back — we'll do it the way you want to do it.’”
She took the company up on its offer, and this year she established Bodman’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group. She loves living in Detroit.
“If you really want to be involved, to be part of the community, there are endless opportunities here,” she said.