Katlyn Grasso founded and heads GenHERation: a female empowerment network for high school-aged girls. She was a participant on the 2015 Millennial Trains Project’s trip across the American South, and an NBCUniversal Impact Grant winner. (Applications for the 2016 Train are open now.) Here, she shares her experience from the journey and working with Comcast NBCUniversal.
Comcast NBCUniversal believes in the power of "Open Possibilities." As the guiding theme of the 2015 Millennial Trains Project, this phrase was proudly displayed throughout the vintage rail cars that transported 25 global innovators across the country in pursuit of igniting social change.
Thanks to the support of Comcast NBCUniversal, the lead sponsor of the trip, I was selected to participate in the 2015 journey to advance the work of my startup, GenHERation. We provide young women with access to career exploration, female executives, and skill-building activities through our digital platform and national events. GenHERation received the inaugural Penn President’s Engagement Prize from Dr. Amy Gutmann at the University of Pennsylvania, which provides graduating seniors with $150,000 to develop projects that have the potential to change the world.
Before graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania last May, I attended a Wharton Entrepreneurship demo day where I met Sam Schwartz, Comcast’s Chief Business Development Officer, and Danielle Cohn, Comcast’s Senior Director of Entrepreneurial Engagement. I learned that Comcast is actively developing innovative ways to support entrepreneurs to revitalize the community and stimulate economic growth.
Shortly after our first meeting, Sam and Danielle sent me on the Millennial Trains Project to prepare for the GenHERation Summer Leadership Series 2015, a ten-city tour across North America that engaged 2,500 high school girls and awarded $20,000 in scholarships. My journey aboard the train was a transformative experience that allowed me to explore a diverse range of entrepreneurial ecosystems and to learn how to activate different communities to initiate sustainable business development.
GenHERation was recognized as one of the most socially-impactful projects that came out of last year’s journey and was awarded a 2015 Impact Grant by NBCUniversal. My team used this grant to produce more than 40 "ConvHERsations" webisodes of the GenHERation Summer Leadership Series 2015, which air weekly on The Huffington Post.
The Millennial Trains Project was my first introduction to the inspiring work Comcast is doing to foster entrepreneurship. Since then, Comcast has been one of GenHERation’s greatest advocates. David L. Cohen, Comcast’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chair of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, has helped me identify ways to promote GenHERation’s work on a national scale. Danielle Cohn served as a panelist at our GenHERation Summer Leadership Series in Philadelphia. Comcast’s Vice President of Community Investment and President of the Comcast Foundation, Charisse Lillie, has provided insight on how to measure the impact of our work.
As a young entrepreneur, I know that with Comcast NBCUniversal’s support the possibilities for all entrepreneurs are endless.
This story was originally posted on Comcast’s Inside CI Blog.