Entrepreneurship-In-Action: A Day with GenHERation®

Entrepreneurship-In-Action: A Day with GenHERation®

Last week’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) GenHERation® field trip gave 22 hard-working SCHers access to professional powerhouses. CEL Upper School students spent the day with female leaders hand-picked by GenHERation®’s partners: Hartford Funds in Wayne and Tangen Hall, the University of Pennsylvania Wharton’s Venture Lab. From ideation to investments, this field trip was about active listening and absorbing as much professional knowledge as these female high schoolers could retain.

These enterprising students spent the morning learning about leadership at Hartford Funds. The event started with a panel of financial experts, including a quantitative analyst, chief compliance officer, head of equity research, and head of public relations, who answered questions about personal missions, living into one’s truth, and diving into digital networks such as LinkedIn. The students then got on their feet and performed improv activities, a professional practice to train better listeners and ideators, and stayed on their feet while Hartford Funds’ digital strategist and digital marketing coordinator introduced how to create a podcast. In groups of five, the SCHers created their own podcasts and pitched the ideas on the spot. The morning at Hartford was capped off with a dozen students presenting their own Capstone and Venture Accelerator two-minute speeches to another robust Hartford panel who, in turn, provided feedback. 

Sophomore Marlee Howard was thrilled to take part in the morning’s activities. “My favorite part of the trip was being able to see all of the amazing women thriving in the business field,” she said.”It was a very inspiring experience.”

After a rousing keynote speech by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson from Wellington Management and a company and global investment strategist at Hartford Funds, students headed to West Philadelphia where a tour of Penn’s Tangen Hall awaited. The students went floor to floor, poking their heads into fab labs triple the size of SCH’s and smelling the delicacies coming from the test kitchen. GenHERation® then presented yet another panel of female leaders representing Venture Lab, ESG Initiative & Baker Retailing Center, and women’s health initiatives at the Penn Nursing Center for Global Women’s Health. The day concluded on Tangen’s top floor in small break-out groups, each female business leader (financial experts, entrepreneurs, engineers, sports and entertainment leaders, and biotech and pharma professionals) paired with four or five students for an “ask me anything” format. 

Some of the resounding takeaways from entrepreneurship-in-action include:

  • Surround yourself with people who think differently from you, those who allow you to be creative and challenge you.
  • Develop small goals and build towards bigger ones.
  • Know your constituents and continually be learning; be able to be efficient and multitask.
  • Use patience, research, and be resourceful.
  • Entrepreneurship is for everyone! Anyone can be entrepreneurial and innovative.
  • Find a way to take care of yourself so that you can commit to your true work.
  • Burnout is real. If you don’t care for yourself you can’t produce on the highest levels.
  • To borrow from the 76ers, “Trust the process.” Safety is knowing that failure is OK. 
  • Take a risk wherever you see it!
  • When you are faced with a risk, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” 
  • When you are faced with a setback, remember the beauty in the world, love yourself, and look to your friends and family for support. 
  • Do not undervalue the hiring process. Surround yourself with the best of the best. 
  • Believing in yourself and having confidence can set you apart, but it’s OK to ask questions. 
  • Never be afraid to raise your hand!

Thank you to Katlyn Grasso, GenHERation® founder and CEO, and Samantha Grasso, GenHERation® Chief Operating Officer/Chief of Staff, for organizing this entire experience for our SCH students. We can’t wait to partner with GenHERation® again soon!

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