In the debut episode of “A Drink With – Detroit”  The Podcast, Hillary Sawchuk, the founder of “A Drink With,” has coffee with Emily T. Gail. Emily is the original Detroit ambassador and creator of the “Say Nice Things About Detroit” movement. Very quickly you’ll realize why she has a Shinola watch named after her. Listen in on her stories about Detroit from the 70s, 80s and today.

In the Foundation Studio at the Detroit Foundation Hotel we’ll be drinking with Detroiters and those visiting the Motor City. We guarantee you’ll hear stories you haven’t heard before and feel the spirit of the city. Cheers to Detroit!

Listen to full podcast interview on iTunes here.


“Say Nice Things About Detroit” wasn’t where we sat down and came up with a slogan to put on t-shirts or anything. There were no Detroit T-shirts at the time … What we were saying with that was, “Tell a story! If you have a nice story to share about Detroit, share it.” Wherever you live, work, or play, you can be an ambassador…

The city is a collective energy of individuals. When people are talking about me, I know I have shortcomings, and I’m working on those shortcomings, but I don’t want them to focus on that when they’re telling nice stories about me. We all have parts that we’re working on, and the city is the same way. It doesn’t mean everything’s perfect, it just means there’s always a nice thing you can say. Also, acknowledge all the people whoever did, still do and will in the future work on the many challenges.

[My] dark times have been just such a fabric for my feeling joyous about life now. So, I’m grateful. At the time, you’re not very grateful, and you wonder if you’re ever going to get through those hard times … It never gets easier. What gets easier is your acceptance that it’s always going to be hard. Life is hard. It’s not always joyous, and that’s what I’ve learned from everything that I got out of my days at [my store], Emily’s, and the Emily Detroit Runs. I feel very grateful for my bad times because I have more compassion for other people when they go through hard times. I’m kinder to myself, I’m not as hard on myself about trying to accomplish things…

Detroit is a roll-up-your-shirt-sleeves town. You cross paths with people who are making a difference. I’ve always said, “It’s a big enough city to make a difference in the world, but a small enough city that an individual can make a difference.” You really notice that today. Everybody has an ordinary life, and you can make it extraordinary in your own way.

Photography by Bryan Carroll
Cover Image by Ben Bator

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