YFI Graduate Success Story by Cathy
A New Idea
Cathy has come up with an innovative solution to save time – a customized hair gel paired with a novel curling wand. Despite her passion for researching and developing her ideas, her shy nature made it challenging for her to communicate them effectively. Fortunately, programs like YFI helped her break out of her shell and confidently present her ideas to others. Thanks to YFI, Cathy can now confidently share her ideas with the world.
“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’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 the ones below:
Communication is Key
Cathy finds Research and Development to be the most enjoyable aspect of her work. The thrill of utilizing the 3D printer at her local library for free to produce new prototypes brings her great pleasure. Conversely, Cathy finds the business communications element to be the least enjoyable aspect. As a shy person, she initially found it difficult to speak in front of others. However, after completing the UConn Innovation Quest program and delivering her elevator pitch to her mentors on numerous occasions, she learned to speak with confidence and focus on the most critical points.
Cathy discovered the importance of identifying the problems she aimed to solve for her consumers, which in her case involved saving women time. This realization prompted her to immerse herself in effectively communicating this need or benefit.
Eventually, the communication aspect became one of her favorite parts of her business development journey. She believes that programs such as Youthful Impact can assist their students in developing this skill since they follow similar problem-solving approaches as her Innovation Quest program. By considering the customer’s perspective, including their thoughts, feelings, sensory experiences, and even taste preferences, students can better understand and reach their target audience depending on how their businesses operate.