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Young success: Grasso to hold leadership workshop for young girls

Katlyn Grasso has been piloting a leadership camp for girls that will be held in Hamburg this summer. She has developed the program herself, surveyed and researched in 50 states and 3 countries.

An Immaculata alumni and only a sophomore at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Grasso is a fresh 20-year-old who hopes to bring out confidence in the young women of our society.

“Why aren’t more girls pursuing more unique, versatile positions?” This is a question that Grasso asks herself frequently and hopes to make a change. She is passionately driven to inspire strength and empowerment in women; she truly begins her journey here in Hamburg, her hometown.

The Leadership Camp for Girls will help young women grades 9-12 with their development of their leadership skills with the help of Ivy League students and local professionals. Weekly classes will be held Monday from 7 - 8 p.m. from July 15 until August 5 at the Be Healthy Institute located at 40 Main St #3, Hamburg.

About 10 girls are registered but she hopes for around 20 or more. She is also actively seeking speakers for future leadership workshops.

With an Ivy League research grant from the Wharton Social Impact Group and the Wharton Innovation Fund, Grasso is able to provide this program completely free for girls who wish to attend.

There are four pillars of the camp to be discussed and explored: innovation, social impact, confidence, and public speaking. The panel will be comprised by business professionals from Buffalo, along with successful contacts from University of Pennsylvania who will speak of their experiences starting their own business, service trips in the Philippines, etc.

To prepare for this endeavor, Grasso orchestrated a numerous amount of focus groups; her research was done on her own and as of right now she is in the process of building a team at her school for the future.

“Being an entrepreneur is my passion,” she said with an unwavering smile. From her past experiences she has grown a special focus for advancing the role of women. A modern feminist with a realistic outlook.

“I think that women sort of bring a more holistic approach to leadership. They’re a little more sensitive and compassionate. A lot of times people say ‘feelings cloud your judgement.’ I think women look at it as feelings enhance your judgement, because when I’m making decisions I always think ‘how do people feel about this?’ and I think that’s really important,” Grasso said.

A touchy topic that is surprisingly still amidst us in the 21st century, society still bares witness to women who will settle, will not achieve higher than they believe. The once heavily debated topic of women in the workplace still remains underlying whispers in corporate hallways.

“I’m more for women and men can do the exact same job. I don’t think women are better then men in any sense, but I just think its bringing them to the table and bringing them the same opportunities to do the same job.”

It is clear that the proverbial glass ceiling has nearly vanished; women hold their head high and have become some of the most powerful leaders today. Grasso thinks there should be more.

“What’s the best way to get women to run for these leadership positions? It’s not going to be a 40-year-old woman who suddenly steps up and says ‘I want to be a leader!’ You have to tell 14-year-old girls that you have to be a leader,” said Grasso.

Her philosophy on life reflects the program itself. A Girl Scout for 13 years, she has done plenty of service. The most inspiring for this program was the “Comfort Kits” service project, delivering toiletries to women that have become victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

“Really being able to see you can make a difference in some else’s life is really inspiring,” she said.

At the Wharton School she is majoring in Economics with a concentration in finance and a concentration she developed on her own, strategic globalization. Steering clear from Wall Street, she hopes to use her education to solve global problems with entrepreneurship.

She strives to break the cycle that women have become encumbered by. To take those underlying passions that every human holds and creating something.

“I really admire people who start from nothing, and build something and turn it around,” she said. Reminiscent of Notorious BIG, the lyrical inspiration of “Juicy” rang through my mind; just one of the many big name successes who started with nothing.

Grasso is a humble hustler, a go-getter and a deeply driven woman who knows what she wants and will work until she gets it. When she wasn’t rattling off phenomenal quotations of her own, she was quoting her role models.

She spoke of Arianna Huffington; Grasso longs to impart the gained advice from one of her role models to youthful girls. Always take risks. You’re never improving unless you’re failing. Taking a risk is the only way to succeed.

To register and for more information, contact

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