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DETROIT – When Amy Peterson worked as the Associate Counsel for the Detroit Tigers, she’d walk past a women’s shelter next to her building each day on her way home from Comerica Park. She became friends with the employees and the women staying there and was eventually inspired by them.

“I would come home from the games and I got to know the women, I got to hear their incredible stories and I wanted to create a company that was dedicated to empowering women,” Peterson said. “This was in 2012 when Detroit was in the midst of bankruptcy and a lot of the support that used to exist was no longer there for these women.”

Peterson wanted to create a safe space where women could gain employment and life skills to prepare them for the traditional workforce and help them hold a full-time job. To complete that mission and provide all the services she wanted to offer, Peterson needed a product to sell.


“At the time, I used to run along the Dequindre Cut, a well-known bike and running path in Detroit,” Peterson said. “There was a lot of crumbling graffiti and street art laying all over the ground. I picked a piece up and I thought it was so beautiful. There’s all this history in these layers. This is reflective of Detroit and the rest is history from there; I turned it into a piece of jewelry.”

That’s how Rebel Nell was born. The company employs women, teaches them educational and life skills, provides support and resources and lets them make jewelry to sell and support themselves. Since 2013, jewelry sales have supported more than 37,000 skill development hours, more than 140,000 workforce hours, 36 graduates into the traditional workforce and employment opportunities for 43 creative designers.

Peterson is the third 2024 Women’s History Month honoree of the Game Changers series, which celebrates community members making a profound difference for people in Detroit. In partnership with Comerica Bank, the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers are recognizing one Game Changers honoree per week during select months throughout the year to receive a $1,000 grant dedicated to the charity of their choice.


“Discovering an incredibly unique way to harness memories of historic venues through wearable art with a lifechanging purpose, Amy Peterson embodies the true spirit of a Game Changers honoree,” said Ilitch Sports + Entertainment Director of Community Impact Kevin Brown. “Through Rebel Nell, Amy has provided hundreds of local women and families with employment opportunities and wraparound support focused on unlocking everyone's full potential.”

Rebel Nell has now grown to include a nonprofit arm called T.E.A., Teach. Empower. Achieve., which provides women with resources like stable housing, financial education, business classes and legal aid. Peterson is proud of the growth of Rebel Nell, T.E.A. and herself, but more importantly, she is proud of all the women who are currently in the program, have graduated into the workforce or have yet to start.

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“Just keep swimming, like Dory said,” Peterson said. “Life is a journey – a wild ride – and we all go through so many ups and downs and you don’t have to do it alone. There are people out there who can support you and it’s OK to ask but just keep going. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will get through this.”

To learn more about Rebel Nell, visit