Our Board of Directors
PASTRY CHEF AND CO-OWNER // Good Cakes and Bakes
From the early age of 9, April Anderson knew she wanted to be a baker and started making treats for her family on a regular basis. As April’s curiosity grew she began exploring more sophisticated recipes and started a home-based baking business in 2008 while also taking her first Wilton’s Cake Decorating Class.
In 2010 April attended Macomb Community College for Pastry Arts, gaining knowledge on Pastry Techniques, Artisan Breads, French Pastries and Recipe Development. It was during this time that April knew that she wanted to open a bakery in Detroit, discovered D:hive and graduated from the organization’s February 2013 BUILD class – a business and project planning class for aspiring entrepreneurs. In September 2013, April along with partner, Michelle Anderson, opened their first bakery in Detroit on the historic Avenue of Fashion.
Incorporated in 2013, Good Cakes and Bakes’ mission is to provide quality baked goods that are wholesome and organic in nature; and to provide baked goods in an environment that is positive, creative, educational and friendly to employees and the community.
In 2015 April, along with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Kresge Foundation President Rip Rapson and former President Bill Clinton, participated in the Clinton Global Initiative America’s closing plenary session Comeback Cities which explored Detroit and highlighted its local businesses.
A native Detroiter, April Anderson is a graduate of Chadsey High School and holds both a Bachelors of Science from Spelman College and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. April has baked for Oprah Winfrey and President Bill Clinton.
ATTORNEY // Miller Canfield
Jeff Aronoff is an attorney at Miller Canfield in Detroit, specializing in public finance and economic development law. He also serves as director of Wayne State Law School’s Detroit Collaborative Law Project, which links the law school’s resources with community entrepreneurs in Detroit.
Jeff has been practicing law with Miller Canfield since 2004, but from 2012-2015 he took a “sabbatical” to serve as executive director of D:hive, a connection point and welcome center for people looking to live, work, engage and build businesses in Detroit—which also turned out to be the incubator for BUILD Institute.
Jeff also created Sidewalk Ventures, a project that helped local entrepreneurs raise capital from community-based investors.
DIRECTOR OF REGIONAL OPPORTUNITIES // ACCESS
Hassan joined ACCESS in 2008, bringing with him nearly two decades of combined experience in leadership, project management and various business, economic and workforce development roles.
Hassan began his tenure at ACCESS as a member of the Business Services Team in the Employment and Training Department, eventually managing a pilot project known as Earn + Learn. This workforce development initiative served formerly incarcerated men of color in Detroit and included a collaboration with the then newly launched State of Michigan Community Ventures initiative. Most recently, Hassan oversaw ACCESS’ small business incubator and idea accelerator known as the Growth Center, which focuses on managing a business micro-loan portfolio and developing immigrant, refugee and minority owned businesses in Detroit and its surrounding communities.
A first generation immigrant and serial entrepreneur, Hassan launched his first business in his early teens, and has since guided various ventures from inception to growth. Hassan founded and currently operates a boutique talent booking agency that represents a roster of national and internationally renowned musicians, and has booked rock and jazz concerts nationally and internationally. Hassan serves on various local collaboratives and worktables focused on business development, economic revitalization and inclusive innovation. Hassan is an Aspen Institute 2015 Ideas Scholar, and currently serves on the board of directors at the 125-year old Detroit Eastern Market, one of the oldest and largest year-round public markets in the U.S.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER // Halo Group
Toni Beaubien is a finance professional, business owner and investor. She currently holds the position of CFO at Halo Group, a premier provider of IT talent. She was one of the original owners of Halo Group which grew from a local IT staffing firm to a $27 million firm with a national presence. She has managed the accounting, financial reporting and administration functions of the company. Halo Group was recently acquired by Farhenheit IT, a national IT staffing firm. Toni was instrumental in preparing Halo Group for acquisition, as well as Great Lakes Technologies Group in 2002.
Through her experience as a business owner, she has also become an advisor to entrepreneurs, particularly those located in Detroit.
Her private industry experience includes Director of Accounting and Finance at Etkin Equities, as well as the Divisional Controller of LogicaCMG, formerly known as Great Lakes Technologies Group. She worked several years in commercial banking for ABN AMRO in Troy Michigan and Harris Bank in Chicago Illinois. She started her career in public accounting working initially for BDO Seidman in Troy Michigan and then to Deloitte & Touche in Chicago Illinois.
Toni is a CPA and received a Bachelors in Business Administration with a Major in Accounting from the University of Detroit in 1989. She lives in Huntington Woods with her husband Chuck, and their two children, Annie and Louie.
FOUNDER // Canvas Legal, PLC
Erin Bonahoom is the founding member of Canvas Legal, PLC, a law practice based in Detroit that is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal services to established businesses, startups, and nonprofits in Southeast Michigan. Erin advises nonprofit organizations and businesses from across a wide range of industries on formation, governance, employment, general operations, commercial real estate, construction, and compliance issues. She spends most of her time working with business leaders on the challenges and opportunities they encounter, which she understands first hand as a business owner. Erin works with a number of organizations in the City of Detroit to provide low cost and free legal education in order to assist small business owners and nonprofits with the foundations necessary to start and operate their business. Erin is also a facilitator and a member of the Board of Directors for the Build Institute in Detroit, a nonprofit focused on economic development empowering the citizens of Detroit and other cities to start their own businesses. As a facilitator, Erin works with creative and enthusiastic entrepreneurs learning how to fine tune and start their small business. Erin was previously an attorney at one of Detroit’s largest corporate law firms where for almost a decade where she represented and counseled national corporations, government entities, and small businesses.
Principal Accountant, LLC Consulting
LaShonda was born and raised in the city of Detroit and am a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy. She has 24 years of professional accounting experience serving large corporations, non-profit organizations, financial and educational institutions, and most importantly, the striving and thriving small businesses and entrepreneurs. She works with small business owners under the umbrella of her consulting firm, LLC Consulting.
She is also part owner of ARC Transportation Services, one of Detroit’s premier passenger transportation companies serving community organizations, corporations, and passengers. This is a family owned business that she operates with her brother.
Finally, she has served as Senior Director in grant administration with Wayne State University for the last 17 years. Her team focuses on assisting the faculty and researchers apply for and managed funds they receive from various sponsors. She is passionate about community, small business and non-profit organizations and would love to serve Build Institute in any way she can.
MANAGING PARTNER // Zingerman's Bakehouse
Amy grew up in a family-owned wholesale grocery business and was aware of the benefits locally-owned businesses can bring to a community. She was also always interested in food – its roots, how to cook and bake, and the positive impact food could have when it was shared.
Amy studied American social movements at Harvard College. She is interested in understanding what makes some movements successful and others not and how radical social change happens.
In 1992, Amy joined Zingerman’s Community of Businesses as one of the original bakers at Zingerman’s Bakehouse. Here she could combine her interest in food, business and community. In Zingerman’s, Amy found a group of people who wanted to use business to have a positive impact on a community while making full-flavored traditional food. She personally benefited from Zingerman’s interest in giving staff the opportunity to grow, develop, and start their own ventures. Amy became a part-owner of Zingerman’s Bakehouse in 2000.
Amy attended L’École de Gastronomie Française Ritz-Escoffier cooking school in Paris in 1991 and received an MBA from Columbia Business School in New York City in 2000. She is now well-versed in managing the operational aspects of a dynamic business. Her greatest business lessons have come from participating in the nuts and bolts growth of Zingerman’s Bakehouse from an eight person, one customer wholesale bread bakery to a 150 person bakery selling to over 100 customers, with a retail store, a baking school for home bakers, and a positive contributor to the not-for-profit community in southeastern Michigan.
Amy is also the co-author of the cookbook Zingerman’s Bakehouse.
PRESIDENT // Pearl Planning
CHIEF STRATEGY AND LEARNING OFFICER // Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS)
As an active leader in Detroit’s Social Innovation movement, Delphia Simmons has spent her career helping others access resources through public and private programs, including government and charitable foundations.
Delphia currently serves as the Chief Strategy and Learning Officer at the Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS), an organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Detroit, where she has been key in developing and implementing the organization’s theory of change, Passport to Self-Sufficiency™. Launched in January 2015, Passport to Self-Sufficiency™ uses best practices to provide support across five life domains: Housing and family stability; Employment and career; Education and training; Financial empowerment; and Health and well-being to support families as they transition from poverty to self-sufficiency.
Delphia is also the founder of Thrive Detroit, L3C, and publisher of Thrive Detroit Street Newspaper. Thrive’s mission is to develop and facilitate micro-enterprise ownership for low-income, un-housed or vulnerably-housed Detroit residents to participate in entrepreneurship.
A big proponent of both entrepreneurship and micro-enterprise as vehicles to economic empowerment, Delphia serves as the chair of both the Build Institute and Kiva Detroit’s advisory boards, teaches classes on entrepreneurship and business plan development at Build Institute, is a Detroit Revitalization Fellow alumni, and is a member of the Detroit Hockey Arena Development’s Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC).
Delphia holds a Master of Science in Business Administration from Madonna University, is a graduate of the University of Michigan – Dearborn’s Center for Labor & Community Studies and D4’s Civic Leadership Institute, and earned a Lean Sigma Green Belt from Wayne State University.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR // Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program at Wayne State University
PRESIDENT AND CEO // Walker-Miller Energy Services, LLC
As founder, president and CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services, LLC (WMES), Carla Walker-Miller is a savvy entrepreneur and a visionary leader determined to change lives through energy. Established in 2000, the Detroit-based firm develops and implements energy efficiency solutions for utility, residential and commercial building owners.
Ms. Walker-Miller is a proud Detroit booster, and champions issues related to water affordability and the intentional recruitment, training and employment of black Detroit residents. Her firm has grown to more than 60 team members, and is on track to gross more that $25 million in 2017 revenues. An engineer by degree, Carla Walker-Miller led her business to double-digit growth after the recession, earning both local and national recognition as an innovative company. Over the past few years, WMES received several accolades, most recently awarded by DBusiness magazine as a 2017 Champion of the New Economy and honored by Ernst & Young as the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year for Michigan and Northwest Ohio region in the category of Business Consulting. Other recognition include an honor by The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) as a trailblazer with the 2016 Alice Parker Award and by the Women President’s Organization (WPO) as one of the 50 Fastest Growing Women- owned business in America for 2016. Also recognized by Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (MiEIBC) as 2016 Employer of the Year and by the Michigan Small Business Administration (SBA) as the 2015 Woman-Owned Business of the Year. In addition, WMES has been featured in national publications such as FORTUNE, EBONY, JET, Black Enterprise and Crain’s Detroit magazines.
As a sought after speaker on issues relating to energy efficiency and sustainability, she is determined to bring underserved populations into the important energy dialogue. Her goal is to help communities make informed decisions regarding their own energy destinies. In keeping with this objective, WMES was awarded a 2-year contract in 2015 to implement residential energy efficiency programs in the Michigan service territory.
As part of her strong commitment to the Detroit community, she started a nonprofit organization in 2003 called The Water Access Volunteer Effort (WAVE) Fund. WAVE provides water bill assistance to low- income Detroit citizens and has distributed over $2 million to help over 9,500 families. Carla currently serves as the organization’s Founder and Executive Director.
In 2014, Carla was elected President for the Michigan Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE). She also serves on the Board of Directors for various organizations including the Detroit Regional Chamber, TechTown Detroit, University of Detroit Jesuit High School, and the Wayne State University Physicians Board. Carla is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., InForum Michigan, the Michigan Minority Supplier Diversity Council (MMSDC), the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), the Women’s Informal Network (WIN), and the NAACP. She is a former member of the Board of Water Commissioners for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, and a 2014 graduate of Detroit’s Inaugural Cohort for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. She and her family reside and work in the City of Detroit.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR // Washtenaw Contractors Association
Kimberly has more than 30 years of experience in sales and relationship building at large and small for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Her expertise includes non-profit leadership, fundraising, marketing, communications, program management, and board development.
After beginning her career with Marriott Hotels, Kimberly transitioned to the nonprofit world and has contributed to the fundraising and alumni relations programs at some of the region’s most respected educational and cultural institutions, including the Detroit Zoological Society, Cranbrook Educational Community, the College for Creative Studies, Case Western Reserve University, and the Cleveland Institute of Art and is currently responsible for leading the strategy and programs that engage and support members of the Washtenaw Contractors Association, a professional association of commercial contractors.
Kimberly is also a Build Institute graduate (BUILD Social cohort 3). As an entrepreneur and maker, her company, Owen & Abbey, creates furniture and home goods using wood salvaged from abandoned homes in Detroit.
In addition to serving on the Build Institute Advisory Council, she contributes her time and talent as a member of the National Advisory Council for Central College (Pella IA) and as President of the Research Lofts Association (Detroit MI).
Kimberly earned a B.A. in Business Management from Central College in Pella, Iowa. She also completed some graduate level studies toward an M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University.
J. Mathew Yohannan
Founder/Managing Member // Brown Oak Media
J. Mathew Yohannan brings 20+ years of experience in sourcing, structuring, investing and raising capital across industries, geographies and asset classes. He has completed 60+ transactions, raising and investing over $3 billion in capital. Most recently, he spearheaded the Origination & Investments efforts at ShareNett – a family office investment platform founded by Jim Pallotta (Raptor Group).
Matty founded Brown Oak Media, an investment and advisory company with a focus on the Entertainment, Media, Consumer & Technology space. He serves as an Advisor to several companies, entrepreneurs, athletes/celebrities and family offices.
Matty invested in and produced the film “Newlyweeds” which was selected to and sold at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Currently, he serves as an Investor/Advisor to: Quantified Culture, Innervation Finance, Roasting Plant Coffee, Roxi and Salido, among others.
Prior to 2016, Matty spent over 12 years in the investment management industry with a focus on Tech/Media/Telecoms (TMT). He was part of the Founding Investment Team and TMT Sector Head at Charter Bridge Capital – a long/short equity fund that he helped grow from $25M to over $300M in less than two years.
While pursuing his MBA, Matty worked for Caxton Associates and Olympius Capital, an alternative asset management firm started by Ronnie Lott and Joe Montana. Prior to business school, Matty was a Senior Associate with Robertson Stephens, focusing on investing/raising capital for early-to-mezzanine stage VC- and PE-backed companies.
Matty earned his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business with a Certificate in Public Management & Social Innovation, and graduated magna cum laude with a BS in Finance & Economics from the Stern School of Business at NYU. He is an Alumnus of the SEO Career Program, a Toigo Foundation Fellow, a Finalist for the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans and a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10k Small Businesses Program in Detroit.