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JCU Students and Alum Organize Dare to Dream Retreat to Empower Young Girls

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

JCU senior entrepreneurship students Katie O’Connell and Julia Ruggiero, JCU alum and entrepreneur Leah Berdysz of Empowered & Poised LLC, and Laura MacMinn from the Flourishing Leadership Institute organized this day of major impact to empower girls to follow their dreams.

These four women served as guest speakers and mentors to students participating in the Dare to Dream event as well. GrooveRyde founder, Anjua Maximo, kicked the day off with an energetic keynote, and Rock the House Entertainment keept the energy flowing throughout the daylong event.

“I hope that this event helped young women feel confident and empowered to share their voice and live authentically,” says JCU student Julia Ruggiero. “I am excited that the young women were able to interact with both student and graduate entrepreneurs, as well as meet other attendees to connect and learn with along this journey.”
“I hope that the Dare to Dream event lit a fire in the young women and empowered them to take the steps to turn their dreams into realities,” says co-organizer Katie O’Connell, a John Carroll University senior passionate about entrepreneurship. Katie describes the event as a “chance for students to step away from the traditional classroom structure, find community with other creative, curious, young women, reflect on their dreams, and learn skills to start living out their dreams.”

The goal of the event was to give each attendee:

  • confidence in their ability to execute on ideas

  • creative thinking strategies

  • enhanced leadership skills

  • concrete steps to further their entrepreneurial ideas

  • ability to connect with other young women to discuss their ideas

For more information on the event that took place on November 13, 2018, contact Dr. Doan Winkel at, or Learn more about the Dare to Dream Retreat here.

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