Green Garage Member Stories – Rainelle Burton

The Green Garage is home to a strong, diverse, and supportive community of professionals. We work across a wide array of industries but share a commitment to each other and to minimizing the environmental impact of what we do. We believe that people are more likely to succeed when they’re surrounded by a supportive community, and we’ve seen that proven out as our members tell us time and again that the Green Garage has changed their lives. This series, Green Garage Member Stories, explores how.

The Green Garage is well known for being a home to both small businesses and nonprofit organizations, but did you know that we are also home to a handful of creative professionals like novelists?

Rainelle Burton is one such Green Garage member. After a career as a systems analyst, she turned full-time to writing and published her acclaimed novel The Root Worker in 2001. Burton wrote the book about a young girl in Detroit in the 1960s who faces the problems of the real world, while fighting her own demons and the thoughts that everybody around her has about her.

Rainelle speaking at our Martin Luther King Jr. day reflection

Rainelle leased a desk space at the Green Garage for a year, but family obligations made it so that she wasn’t able to spend as much time here as she would have liked. Funnily enough, once her lease ended, she started to come back every Thursday for the sustainable small business conversations that we host so she could still be part of the community. She says that those conversations (which are open to the public) are one of her favorite things about the Green Garage. She loves having the ability to talk to community members, hear new ideas, and connect with the people around her more. She’s now a regular at those conversations, and her unique perspective help shape the ongoing conversation about topics like justice in the workplace.  

Interestingly, it was only after Rainelle officially “left” the Green Garage, and started to come back for the Thursday conversations, that she began to form deep relationships with the people around her. Ironically, she became good friends with Adrian, a coworker who sat right in the office space next to her old desk. They became closer, and even had Christmas dinner together. They now meet regularly to talk and critique each other’s writing. Making deep connections to help move each other forward in life and work: that’s what the Green Garage is all about!   

Green Garage Member Stories are written by Nicolas Perales, a student at Detroit Cristo Rey High School who’s working at the Green Garage this year.

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