Emerson College used the Innovation Women database to invite several women to deliver individual presentations on various aspects of entrepreneurship. Speaking to students taking a graduate course called Exploring Entrepreneurship, Barbara Clarke, Julianne Zimmerman, and Cynthia Gilbert, shared their knowledge on launching startups, being a founder and navigating the various hurdles that come with the territory.

Emerson created the course for graduate and undergraduate students to meet a need they saw in the space. “Emerson has watched the interest in entrepreneurship surge over the last few years,” said Yuri Cataldo, executive-in-resident and Emerson’s director of the Business of Creative Enterprises. “This course takes graduate level students from the process of starting a company through the actual launch.”

The Innovation Women that spoke to the class have a wide range of experience in entrepreneurship. Barbara Clarke is an angel investor at Astia Angels. Julianne Zimmerman is a Managing Director at Reinventure Capital. Cynthia Gilbert, the founder of Hyperion Law, a Boston-based firm specializing in high technology patents, spoke to the class about risk-taking, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property law.

“What made these presentations stand out is that each of these amazing women spoke openly about their own experiences and gave real world examples,” said Cataldo, when asked about the impact of the presentations on his students. “The class was 95 percent women so it was good for them to hear from other women who are doing amazing things. It really gave the students the confidence to pursue their own dreams.”

Using the Innovation Women database was also an opportunity for Cataldo to connect with members of the Boston entrepreneurial community.  A recent transplant to Boston, he is still in the process of meeting people in the local entrepreneurship community. When he reached out to founder Bobbie Carlton looking for speakers, Innovation Women was able to provide plenty of great options for him to choose from.

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