043: Empowering the Future GenHERations

Kathlyn Grasso is the founder and CEO of GenHerationKathlyn Grasso recently joined me on Chatting with the Experts to talk about  her passion and joy of  empowering young girls to become the leaders of tomorrow by connecting them with  female executives who could serve as their role models.

Kathlyn Grasso  is the founder and CEO of GenHeration  an interactive media company for young women that provides high school and college students with access to career exploration, female executives, skill-building activities, and scholarships.

Some of the things we spoke about included:

What is GenHERation?

GenHERation is an interactive media company for young women that provides high school and college students with access to career exploration, female executives, skill-building activities, and scholarships. We have empowered more than 60,000 girls and hosted 16 events across North America through partnerships with Comcast, espnW, Yahoo, Adobe, Macy’s, the American Heart Association, and Women in Toys.

How did GenHERation get started?

As a social entrepreneur, I have always been passionate about empowering girls and wanted to create a business that provided an experiential learning platform for leadership. During the summer after sophomore year, I received research grants from the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and Wharton Innovation Fund to study leadership development in high school girls to gain a better understanding of my target audience. I interviewed more than 700 high school girls, 40 female executives, and 30 educators in all 50 states, 9 countries, and 4 continents to analyze the factors that influence girls’ perception of leadership. I also founded the Leadership Camp for Girls 2013 that summer to test my research hypotheses with a group of 30 girls in Buffalo, New York. Every week I would bring in a different female executive to speak to the girls and lead them through interactive exercises. Upon returning to school in the fall, I was accepted into the Wharton Venture Initiation Program. I spent the semester developing the website, establishing partnerships with corporations and nonprofits, and recruiting girls to join the pilot program in the spring. We launched a pilot program with 250 girls in the Northeast during the months of March and April. During the past two summer, we hosted the GenHERation Summer Leadership Series, during which my team and I visited 10 cities across the United States to hold workshops for more than 5,000 girls.

Can you tell us about your upcoming summer tour GenHERation Discovery Days 2016?

GenHERation Discovery Days 2016  powered by BoltBus are immersive day trips that provide high school and college women with the opportunity to visit the nation’s most innovative companies, engage with female executives, participate in skill-building simulations, and earn scholarships. Participants will travel by bus throughout each city, which will serve as an educational incubator complete with guided discussions by industry mentors. More than 30 companies across the country are participating including, EY, Hartford Funds, BoltBus, Twitter, Sephora, Adobe, PayPal, Facebook, Google, San Francisco 49ers, Tracy Anderson, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., William Morris Endeavor, TOMS, Uber, The GRAMMY Museum, J.P. Morgan, the United Nations Foundation, U.S. Congress, U.S. State Department, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NASA, GMMB, NBCUniversal, Good Housekeeping, The New York Yankees, Urban Outfitters, Inc., Morgan Lewis, Comcast, and First Round Capital. Students will gain exclusive access into these companies to discover how they can advance their collegiate and professional aspirations. GenHERation Discovery Days 2016 will expose young women to powerful role models across different industries to inspire the advancement of women in leadership positions.

Why is this cause so important to you?

Although women now outnumber men in earning collegiate degrees, there are still a scarcity of women in the highest positions of power in the United States. In order to close this leadership gap, girls must realize they have the potential to change the world at a young age before they fall victim to their own self-doubt. I want girls to have the confidence to pursue their dreams in the face of criticism and challenge the misconceptions about women in leadership.

How can young women get involved with GenHERation?

They can register on our website or attend one of our upcoming events!