As I Graduate: Katie O’Connell

“My college experience was flipped on its head in the best way possible when I started this program and I am forever grateful for the opportunities I have had because of the Muldoon Center.”



Katie O’Connell, who took her first entrepreneurship course in the fall of her junior year, will graduate from John Carroll in the spring of 2019 with a minor in entrepreneurship. Despite getting involved in entrepreneurship late in her academic career, she felt an instant connection with entrepreneurship.

“In that first class, something clicked,” says Katie. “I received creative freedom I had not found in other classes.”

Katie created and pursued an idea to start her company, JesNET, and says that in pursuing the idea, “I learned more about myself than I ever had.” This experience also led her to take advantage of new opportunities, including attending the How I Built This Summit in San Francisco, joining the Women’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Council, and becoming a published author.

As she graduates, Katie enters the working world with a curiosity around people and what makes them tick, the music and travel industries, and business in general. Questions she has include:

  • How can businesses be more socially responsible?

  • What is better, shopping local or shopping with big name brands?

  • How do we simplify and create less consumerism in an age of capitalism

  • How do we balance technology and humanity?

“After graduation, I believe my work will be more fulfilling because of what I have learned about myself in the entrepreneurship program,” says Katie.

In addition to what she’s curious about with graduation around the corner, there are several things she’s afraid of.

“I am afraid of this whole work-life balance thing. At the beginning of college I thought that was something I really wanted — a job that I could go to and turn off when I went home. I’m seeing now that if I find a job that I am truly passionate about, it is going to bleed into my personal life. I am just trying to see how there can be a balance.”

To new JCU students who are interested in entrepreneurship, Katie says:

“You are going to face problems in life both professionally and socially. The entrepreneurship minor provides students with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills to understand a problem, develop and communicate a solution.
Maybe you don’t want to be an ‘entrepreneur’ in the literal sense of the word and start your own business, but you can learn to be an ‘intrapreneur’ and spark innovation from within an existing structure, something which employers find great value within. We all must be thinking forward and that is what you will learn in the entrepreneurship program (and have fun doing it!).”
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