For Aprelle Duany, balancing the demands of motherhood, a career and rigorous college studies has been a transformative journey. Success, as she discovered, is not only defined by professional achievements but also by personal fulfillment and growth.
That’s why she decided to leave her corporate job managing multi-million dollar projects for large enterprises and started her own boutique consulting firm to work with small businesses. As a business strategist and artificial intelligence enthusiast, she helps small businesses grow with consistent sales using AI, processes and automated systems – all while being a trusted advisor to small business owners.
“I am passionate about sharing my experiences and insights with others, especially aspiring entrepreneurs, working mothers and small business owners to inspire and support their journeys,” said Duany, who launched her company, ADI LLC, in January.
“I am also embracing the role of a working mom,” she added. “This dual role has brought a unique set of challenges and joys, underscoring the importance of achieving a balanced and fulfilling life.”
Duany is also enrolled in Florida Atlantic University’s executive Ph.D. program in business administration. But she got her start studying her passion of information management and technology at Syracuse University.
“I was fortunate to be recruited by Syracuse’s esteemed program, and it was truly a dream come true when I earned a full athletic and academic scholarship,” she said.
Duany was captain of Syracuse’s track and field team and received three degrees from the university – a bachelor of science in information management and technology in 2002, a master of science in information management in 2003 and a master of science in in new media in 2004.
“Syracuse offered the ideal blend of academic rigor and athletic excellence,” Duany siad. “It was the perfect setting for someone who was not only passionate about technology and entrepreneurship but also committed to excelling in athletics.”
One standout influence during her time at Syracuse was Professor Emerita Susan Bonzi, who teaches information presentation and computer programming.
“Her expertise in information presentation and computer programming was unparalleled, and her guidance and mentorship left an indelible mark on my academic and career trajectory,” Duany said. “Professor Bonzi’s dedication to her students and her innovative approach to teaching were truly inspiring.”
Duany hopes to inspire her small business clients the same way. She offers AI-powered audits, identifying key areas for business growth, and provides strategies and tools to help her clients thrive.
“My primary goal is to continue expanding my influence as a thought leader and expert in the field of AI entrepreneurship,” she said. “I believe that representation is essential for growth and impact. As a Black working mom in technology, I aspire to empower an increasing number of female entrepreneurs to achieve financial success and wellness through the strategic application of AI.”
If she could offer any advice to current Syracuse students, it would be to take a multifaceted approach to their college journey and future careers. First, she says, place an equal emphasis on personal development alongside learning new skills.
“Your growth as an individual and your ability to adapt and thrive in diverse situations are just as critical as your technical competencies. In the ever-evolving tech landscape, it’s the combination of your personal development and skills that will set you apart,” Duany said. Next, approach challenges with an “and” perspective, not an “or” perspective. Pursue academic excellence and explore your passions. Seek opportunities for specialization while also broadening your horizons.
Finally, spend time getting clear on what you want to achieve, both academically and professionally. Set specific goals and aspirations, but be equally prepared to embrace flexibility in your journey. And when you do achieve them, help others, especially by giving back to your alma mater and the community.
“In essence, success in college and your future career isn’t solely about the destination; it’s about the journey of personal growth, resilience, and adaptability,” Duany said. “Embrace every experience, both inside and outside the classroom, as a chance to learn, grow, and discover your unique path to success.”
Duany encourages Syracuse students to reach out to her on LinkedIn and on her website.