Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni: Katlyn Grasso, founder of GenHERation

Katlyn Grasso, Wharton Undergrad ’15

EMPOWERING GIRLS TO BECOME LEADERS

A Startup Internship Award inspired Katlyn to become an entrepreneur after graduation.

In 2012, the summer after her freshman year, Katlyn received an intern fellowship to intern at a startup which supports women interested in running for public office. Her already strong interest in social entrepreneurship became certainty. “After working [at this startup], the only career path I can see myself pursuing is that of an entrepreneur,” she wrote in her report on the internship.

Katlyn launched GenHERation in 2014, as a Wharton junior.

Driven by her desire to help young women realize their leadership potential, Katlyn founded a female empowerment network for high school girls. GenHERation was accepted into the Venture Initiation Program during the fall of 2013, and Katlyn became an active member of Penn’s entrepreneurial community: “Wharton, particularly Wharton Entrepreneurship, exposed me to so many opportunities by giving me access to mentors, and an incubator, and funding—it really made my dreams a reality,” she described.

Funding from a Summer Venture Award, a Snider Seed Award, and a Penn Wharton Innovation Fund grant helped Katlyn move GenHERation forward.

Katlyn spent the summer of 2014 working full time on GenHERation, supported by a $10,000 Wharton Venture Award. She focused on expanding GenHERation across the nation, running a Summer Leadership Series that visited five cities and held workshops for more than 500 girls. That summer, the GenHERation community grew from 250 to 5,000 girls across the country.

In spring 2015, Katlyn was one of five winners of the inaugural President’s Engagement Prize.

The prize gave Katlyn $150,000 to develop GenHERation in the year after graduation. In the summer of 2015 she expanded the summer tour to ten cities, with a goal of reaching 15,000 girls through this conference series, which featured more than 60 female executives and awarded $20,000 in scholarships.

As a Wharton alumna, Katlyn continues to impress, with a steady stream of entrepreneurial successes.

Katlyn is a Seventeen Power Girl and was also named to the magazine’s list of “Real Girls Doing Amazing Things.” Katlyn was selected to participate in the 2015 Millennial Trains Project, a cross country trip for 25 social innovators from around the world sponsored by NBCUniversal. During the journey, she was named one of the “5 Innovators to Look Out for on the 2015 Millennial Trains Project” by Innovator’s Peak. After the trip, she was awarded a 2015 Impact Grant from NBCUniversal to produce webisodes of the GenHERation Summer Leadership Series 2015 as one of the most innovative, socially-impactful projects that came out of this year’s journey. She was featured on the cover of Philly Biz Magazine as the youngest woman on the “Women to Watch” list.

Follow Katlyn and GenHERation on Twitter.