Why She’s Interesting: Buda started Kids of 216, an organization that helps students develop a career in the construction trades by working on residential projects for low-income families, the elderly and disabled residents in the Cleveland metropolitan area.
Quitting Time: After reading Start by Jon Acuff, Buda had an epiphany. “I remember thinking, If my plane crashes tomorrow, people probably won’t write about my job or the granite countertops in my house,” she says. “What people are known for is really how you treat people.” So she quit her job and focused on grad school, where she zeroed in on the idea for Kids of 216.
Failure to Launch: But it wasn’t so easy to get her plans off the ground. She pitched her project at the Cleveland Leadership Center Accelerate Conference and didn’t win. She presented it to her class to lackluster response. But she didn’t give up. Instead, she refined the business model, founded a board and got to work. “Sometimes in business, you just have to put a stake in the ground, make a decision and go with it.”
Hard Hats: Buda has developed a curriculum, project schedules and partnered with companies such as Dominion to hire the 20 students in the program. Guest speakers also talk about real-life applications, job readiness and going through Occupational Safety and Health Administration certifications. “The students actually learn about construction. We really work on community engagement and really nurture these relationships, trying to get people to see these kids as very productive and able-bodied young people.”
Girl Boss: While many of Buda’s friends find time for trips to Europe, she’s dedicated to her job 24/7. “I usually work from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and before and after that. Including weekends, I’ve probably had nine or 10 days off in 2017.”
Kitchen Rehab: Cooking isn’t one of Buda’s fortes. “I decided to make myself some chicken nuggets in the toaster oven, and when the timer went off, I realized I hadn’t even plugged the thing in. If it’s not microwavable, it’s not for me. I just truly can’t cook.”
Note worthy: Every morning she reads Rudyard Kipling’s poem If. “It kind of helps me to get into the mindset and prepare for what I have to do, because every day is different. It helps remind me that I need to keep working on myself more than I work on my job.”Interesting Fact: Buda competed in 2 marathons in 2017.