Heather Miller (C’15) PoverUP in New York, NY


Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board Intern Fellow

How did you find the position?
I found PoverUP directly through the co-founders Charlie and Elie Javice who asked me to join their team.


What was your motivation for working at a start-up this summer?

In joining the PoverUP team, I was eager to gain industry experience on the business side of a sector I have always enjoyed volunteering in.
What advice would you give to students interested in working at a start-up this summer?


Start the process early! If you are thinking about working on a startup or want to create something of your own, be sure to attend entrepreneurship speaker series and look around the room. You will often be surprised how many people you know who are already working on startups without your knowing it. Through my work, I have found the community of startups that are founded by people under the age of 25 to be quite late but still extremely close knit and helpful to one another. Never be afraid to ask questions, as they will often be able to lead you in the right direction for finding a new and exciting opportunity!

About my summer:

The experience I had working on the PoverUP team this past summer is one for the record books. No matter how much information I was provided with for what to expect, my experience was better. The people I met, the learning I experienced firsthand and the exhilarating feeling each new day brought was unparalleled to anything I had ever previously been apart of. My happiness and success working for PoverUP stemmed from a combination of the energy our team exhibited on a daily basis (whether it be during our daily morning recaps or during our group adventures for new lunch spots near our office) to making sure everything we did centered around our mission. The 10 weeks I spent with the team were a whirlwind. I surprised myself by picking up the terminology for tech coding, learning to adapt my elevator pitch depending on the audience (doing several pitches in the elevator of our office space in fact), taking conference calls with individuals who thought I was an MBA student at Penn not an undergrad and figuring out how to conduct market research without any previous experience and developing financial statements and team timelines.

PoverUP was created by students for students with a mission to ignite a grassroots movement around sustainable social action; connecting young adults, professionals and scholars to learn, connect and invest in market based solutions to help alleviate poverty everyday with the click of a mouse. For someone like me who thrives on healthy competition and putting in 110% effort to every experience, the start-up life (which I had no previous experience to draw upon or pre conceived notions of) was unknowingly exactly what I was looking for.

I met Charlie Javice, the co-founder of PoverUP in a Huntsman Group Study Room after midnight on a Tuesday while studying for a macro economics exam when she came to drop something off for her business partner and younger brother Elie. As my friendship with Charlie grew and she learned of my role on the Penn Women’s crew team (I am a coxswain), a true fan of early mornings with an interest in investment, branding, current events and acting as a general sounding board for people’s ideas asking all the annoying, due-diligent questions, Charlie approached me in mid-March asking if I would like to join the team and serve as the COO for PoverUP. Together we would explore ways to get our platform out there and get students and individuals around the world excited about what our launch would offer the greater community of both micro-finance and social impact.

PoverUP served as the foundation for furthering my current passions and interests, propelling my desire to make an impact on the lives of those less fortunate from a hobby to a career. Now back on campus, I have kept my position as COO of PoverUP, putting in roughly 10 hours a week coordinating team members, taking conference calls, drafting grant proposals and cultivating new talent for our ever expanding team. With the BETA launching in a matter of days, I can safely say the summer experience was life changing and well worth the 40+ hour weeks I endured.