BUILDing Boston: Meet Our Director of Philanthropy, Ed Wilson


Ed Wilson (far left) with his team Orphan Socks.

Ed Wilson, the Director of Philanthropy, has been with the BUILD family for a year and a half. He serves the organization as a guide to ensure the promise of BUILD’s entrepreneurial spirit among student participants.

What captured your interest in BUILD?

Having an organization that’s focused on making sure that underserved communities have the skills that they need to be successful in the workplace was very exciting to me!

I have always been interested in giving people the opportunity to reach their full potential. The fact that BUILD focuses on marketable 21st century skills that can translate into the business community can be a game changer for our students. If we want to change the face of the future workforce in Boston we need organizations like BUILD to prepare the next generation with the skills that employers are searching for.

What are the marketable 21st century skills?

They are a set of skills that are being used within the workplace such as public speaking, networking, adaptability, and resiliency. It’s not just about hard skills, the type of technology we are using today may change four or five years from now. I mean who would have thought that snapchat is something we would be using now. When the internet started email was all the rage but today online communication is completely different.

Long story short, technology changes. But if you have core interpersonal skills and can work collaboratively in a team then you can re-learn the hard skills as they shift and change throughout time. As long as you can maintain a positive attitude, build great relationships, and persevere, you will be successful.

What is your role at BUILD Boston?

In my role, my whole responsibility is to make sure we are sharing the BUILD story to help find more people to support the work we are doing in the city of Boston. My job is to inform and excite people to get involved with our students and become our partners in this work.

Who partners with BUILD Boston?

We work with people who really care about entrepreneurship and creating a pipeline of strong diverse candidates in Boston. Both tech and larger companies headquartered in Boston invest in our work because having more diversity and training youth to have an entrepreneurial mindset are going to help the future workforce of our city. It’s an easy message to pitch to corporations since they are looking to hire candidates that are equipped with the same skills that we are teaching our students, so there is a direct connection there.

What are some of the goals that you wish to accomplish while working at BUILD?

My goal is to make sure that everyone – students, employees, friends – everyone who is part of the BUILD family is in a position to reach their full potential. If we can create a culture and organization that is helping to give people the skills or experiences they need in order to reach their full potential then our entire city will benefit.

What motivates you to do what you do?

I mentored a team last year (Orphan Socks), who I still mentor today, which has given me ground level understanding of how much growth can happen for students that join the program.

Seeing students who were very introverted, insecure, not good at public speaking and then eight months later see them speak and inspire a room of 600 people motivates me to ensure that we continue to put students in a position where they’re learning outside the classroom, taking those skills, and making themselves more marketable and more confident as they move into the workforce.

It’s rewarding to know that my students can and do still use me as a reference on job interviews. Expanding our students’ networks and providing them with a caring adult who can connect them and advocate for them is extremely important.

The growth I see in our students is amazing! So being able to be part of this community is what fuels me every day.

You can join Ed’s work to help BUILD students reach their full potential by making a gift today.

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