Lex Lavatai sits down with Katie Hughes, the founder of Girls Build, a nonprofit summer camp that instills “curiosity and confidence in girls as they explore the world of building”.

Lex and Katie discuss the importance of teaching girls not only building, fixing, and engineering skills, but also curiosity and confidence. Katie was a participant in ‘The Social Pitch’, a quarterly Hatch program which brings together community members to fund innovative ideas.



Katie Hughes is passionate about girls exploring the world of building. From hammering to taking stuff apart, she wants girls to learn to be fearless. With 10 years of teaching building summer camps under her belt, this carpenter hopes every little girl gets to fall in love with swinging a hammer.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Katie gathered together a group of women (carpenters, tree trimmers, laborers, plumbers and electricians) to run the camp
  • What Katie thinks about high school counselors who encourage all kids to go to college, when college isn’t for everyone
  • How well-paid the trades really are
  • How Katie’s sister turned her financial situation around when she became an electrician
  • The importance of instilling the confidence to try something new in young girls
  • The self-esteem gained and money saved that comes from being able to fix things yourself
  • “Well someone has to do it” – How Katie’s mom charged her three daughters with the responsibility of putting things together and fixing broken things.
  • How society instills perfectionism in girls that dissuades them from trying new things
  • How important it is for girls to see women in the trades
  • Why we shouldn’t just have one idea of what femininity looks like
  • How discouraging women from entering fields like engineering decreases the talent pool and intellectual capital and costs society progress
  • How participating in the Social Pitch helped Katie jumpstart Girls Build with experience, funding, counsel and connections