Not only am I blessed with a strong, beautiful mom, but I am also blessed to have a multitude of strong women in my life who do nothing but empower me to achieve my highest potential. From my grandma and aunt, to my Girl Scout troop leaders and best friends’ moms and bosses in Durham, I have no shortage of female role models and mentors. From my summer in Detroit, I can add my bosses at Build Institute to my list of Wonder Women who prove women can do anything.
April Boyle, executive director of Build Institute, co-owns Detroit restaurant, Gold Cash Gold, and is a partner in Indonesian pop-up restaurant, Komodo Kitchen. When she is not busy with all of her business ventures (or even when she is busy with all her business ventures), there are always her “works in progress”, or 3 children, who demand the attention of a full time job. But, before the restaurant business ventures and running a business dedicated to inclusive growth and entrepreneurship in Detroit, she was a “city [girl], born and raised in south[west] Detroit”.
Born, raised, and educated in the city, she finds her passions in equity, inclusion, and small business entrepreneurship- “empowering people to activate their ideas, and not just any people, but people who have been disenfranchised or typically felt not included. Women, mothers, people who have a significant challenge or barrier to participate in that.” Detroit’s race problem, and really the country’s race problem, also creates another type of excluded group. When I asked about the most important thing Detroit needs to work on, April mentioned concerns about Detroit’s still-standing history of segregation. Yet, there were hints of optimism that Detroit could figure it out and become an example for the rest of the country and the world. Rather than seeing a problem, she sees an opportunity for Detroit to grow, both economically and as a community.
April knows she plays a role in Detroit’s inclusive growth as she takes Build Institute to the next level, making sure Build can reach as many people as possible. She admits the work is hard and terrifying at times. The fear of failure is never a distant thought and multiple responsibilities make her question if she can be a successful businesswoman and mother at the same time. But, her passion for Build and it’s mission and the moments of gratitude from people who have been touched by Build overshadow any fears or doubts.
“This is all hard. I’ve never done this before. I’ve never run an organization of this size like this and taken it to the next level… I couldn't do it if I didn’t really believe in the work and didn’t feel so passionate about continuing this and how successful we are and how we’ve helped change people’s lives, the stories. You know what keeps me motivated? When I go to lunch in Ferndale and some Build grad comes in and says ‘oh my god!’ and gives me a hug and tells me how much we’ve helped them, that’s what keeps me motivated.”