Speaker encourages students to follow dreams, work toward goals

Katlyn Grasso, founder and CEO of GenHERation, spoke at assembly this morning about entrepreneurship and working for equal representation of females in executive positions.

Guest+speaker+Katlyn+Grasso+speaks+to+students+about+her+startup%2C+GenHERation.+Grasso+started+the+organization+two+years+ago%2C+in+an+effort+to+connect+young+women+and+girls+with+women+in+executive+positions.

Claire Kosewic

Guest speaker Katlyn Grasso speaks to students about her startup, GenHERation. Grasso started the organization two years ago, in an effort to connect young women and girls with women in executive positions.

Students gathered for a compact presentation this morning focusing on female empowerment and entrepreneurship, with the theme of encouraging students to go after their career dreams, even in male-dominated fields.

Katlyn Grasso, founder and CEO of GenHERation, an interactive media company that encourages young girls to dedicate themselves to careers in leadership, spoke about her experiences as an entrepreneur and her work to give high school and college females access to career exploration, female executives and skill-building activities.

“I think her idea of connecting girls to high-powered females is a really good idea,” freshman Kelly Chan said. “I really feel that boys and men have an advantage in fields like finance and engineering, and it shouldn’t be that way.”

Grasso spoke about the steps for creating a successful start-up, which she identified as extensive research, many iterations, the “‘perfect’” pitch and persistence.

“It can be really easy to fall victim to your own self-doubt,” Grasso said. “So, you have to promise me to always go after your dreams and never let those doubts stop you.”

Grasso later invited two students to practice their “perfect pitches.” Senior Chloe Lovato proposed her idea of starting a book club with members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, while junior Izzy Pontecorvo shared her idea of a modeling agency where the models have “real bodies” and the pictures are not photoshopped.

“Her presentation, and also hearing those other girls get up there on the spur of the moment to give pitches made me think that really, if I can dream about something, I can go for it and make it happen,” Chan said.

History teacher Michael Stafford concurred with Grasso that women are definitely underrepresented in certain fields, and that connecting girls with other influential women leaders is very inspiring.

“Look at Barack Obama, and all of the African Americans he inspired,” Stafford said. “All it takes for someone to be inspired is to see someone like them doing something awesome and go ‘Wow, I could do that too.’”

In concluding her presentation, Grosso again reiterated how important it is to be driven and self-motivated, and to have a goal in mind to work towards all the time is imperative.

“If I, the nerdy girl with two backpacks from Buffalo, New York can go on and create a startup, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t either,” Grosso said. “So go out there, and change the world.”

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