Inside Rensselaer
“Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained” Speaker Series Highlights Women in Entrepreneurship
The “Risk and Reward” speaker series — sponsored by “Women in Entrepreneurship (WIE),” a program initiated by the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, located in Rensselaer’s business school — is introducing Rensselaer students to dynamic and entrepreneurial-minded women from the Capital Region and beyond who are successfully weaving together their personal passion with their practical training, to shape their professional lives and redefine business as usual.

The series, held during October, aims to build a diverse and supportive environment that recognizes the unique needs of women in the management and development of their careers.

“While everyone might not own their own business, one of the key thrusts at Rensselaer is to educate students to think like entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship comes in unexpected forms. These women have faced interesting challenges throughout their lives, and used those challenges to succeed personally as well as professionally. Exposure to these women is invaluable to the student investigating his or her future,” noted Jean Howard, associate director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship.

In addition to the speaker series, WIE provides mentoring, workshop, and educational opportunities for women. The Herman Family Fellowship is one such effort that supports WIE program goals by identifying female college graduates with demonstrated science and technology backgrounds, as well as a strong interest in entrepreneurship, and then supporting them through their MBA studies.

The speaker series will culminate with the 2008 Annual Women in Entrepreneurship Symposium, “Advancing Women’s Health,” on Nov. 7. At the event, 30 high school juniors from across the country and Canada will receive the 2008 Kathleen M. Severino Future Leader Award in recognition of their leadership interest in science and technology at the Symposium.

According to a report by the Kauffman Foundation, entrepreneurial activity among women dropped sharply from 23 percent in 2006 to 20 percent in 2007, while rates for men and immigrants surged, showing an increase from 35 percent in 2006 to 41 percent in 2007 among men.

So far, the series has featured Jennifer Kho, founding editor of Greentech Media, an integrated online media source covering the cleantech industry that launched in September 2007; and Carol Alm, founder and business strategist, ENVISION.

Two dates remain in the series:

Oct. 22 — Paula Mahan, supervisor, Town of Colonie. Previously, Mahan was a long-time educator with 22 years of experience in the North Colonie School District. She remains an active member in several local groups. Mahan is the founder and chairperson of Citizens Organized for Responsible Government (CORG).

Oct. 29 — Kat Koppett, founder and corporate trainer, Koppett & Co, speaks on "The Leadership Performance: Tapping the Skills and Wisdom of the Theater on Your Stage." Koppett is the eponymous founder of Koppett & Co. (, a training and consulting company specializing in the use of theater and storytelling techniques for individual and organizational performance. She has worked with such diverse clients as Chanel, Merck, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and The Farm Bureau in India, Brazil, Paris, and Oklahoma.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 2, Number 17, October 17, 2008
©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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