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YFI Graduate Success Story by Cathy

A New Idea

Cathy’s idea is a novel curling wand as well as a customized hair gel that when used together will help people save time. She loved researching and developing her ideas but she struggled to communicate them, due to her shy nature. It was only through programs like YFI, that she was able to come out of her shell and present her ideas in front of people with confidence.
craft

Building Confidence

The Youthful Impact program facilitated Catherine’s confidence.

“Because of YFI, I can look anyone in the eyes and talk about something that I’m really passionate about, and I know that in the future with any project, whether it completely succeeds or fails, that I will be able to communicate and get my point across with a smile. I think communication is a really important life skill, because a good group of people is better than a lonesome leader.

- Cathy

Cathy’s idea was a novel heatless and curved curling as well as a customized hair gel that when used together will help people save time. This will make things easier for black women who spend too much time on their hair. ““If I could use three words or emojis to describe how it feels to work on my project, I would choose..:
hair spray
smiley
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Communication is Key

To her, the most fun part was Research and Development. R&D was the most fun because she got to use the 3D printer at her local library for free to print out new prototypes. The least fun part to her was the business communications aspect of it. Cathy is very shy and she didn’t feel comfortable talking in front of people at first. Then she did the UConn Innovation Quest and practiced my elevator pitch numerous times in front of her mentors. It was really scary but fun.

She learned how to speak at a proper cadence and really focus on the important stuff when she’s talking. She learned how to focus on the problem; what problem are she’s really solving for consumers? In her case it was saving women time. She really became engrossed in communicating that need or benefit.

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Soon, the communication aspect also became one of her favorite parts of developing her business. She believes programs like Youthful Impact can also develop this skill in their students because students often do the same things she did in her Innovation Quest program. They think about the problem from the customers perspective, what do they think, feel, see, hear or even taste? Depending on how their businesses work, this can really help them reach their customers.

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To learn more about Youthful Impact and its entrepreneurship program, or to participate as a business partner or sponsor, call Dr. Khaitsa Wasiyo at 203.445.6084 or email coach@youthfulimpact.org.