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Dare to Dream Retreat

Empowering Young Female Entrepreneurs: Dare to Dream Retreat Coming to John Carroll November 13 

This November, young women from Cleveland high schools will explore their interest in entrepreneurship at John Carroll University during the Dare to Dream Retreat.

Dare to Dream Retreat

John Carroll University’s entrepreneurship program is establishing itself as the home of curious students who solve big problems using their creativity and passion. This is the beginning of a platform to change the conversation from what can "young people" learn from "old people" to what can young people create to excite and engage other young people to collaboratively build their future. The experts are our youth and we must help them find their voice.


“I hope this event will empower the young women who attend to have a greater sense of confidence in their abilities to accomplish their heart's desire,” says JCU alum and entrepreneur Leah Berdysz, founder of Empowered & Poised.


The event, which will be the first of its kind, aims to give young women in high school the opportunity to meet like-minded peers and participate in hands-on activities that explore and help students recognize their strengths and further develop their passion for entrepreneurship. The one-day retreat quickly met capacity with approximately 125 high school women signed up for the cost-free gathering. This will be the first of what JCU’s John J. Kahl, Sr. Chair in Entrepreneurship Dr. Doan Winkel hopes will be many successful events to introduce young women in the greater Cleveland area to entrepreneurship and help them develop an entrepreneurial mindset and skill set.


The Dare to Dream Retreat  is funded by the Veale Foundation, which offers student programs, events and experiences to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, and is presented in partnership with the John Carroll University’s Entrepreneurship Minor and the Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship,


Organized to Empower Young Women by Powerful Young Women


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 are organizing this day of impact.


These four women will be serving as guest speakers and mentors to the students participating in the event as well. GrooveRyde founder Anjua Maximo will kick the day off with an energetic keynote, and Rock the House Entertainment will keep the energy flowing throughout the daylong event.


“I hope that this event will help 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 will be 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 will light a fire in the young women and empower 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 is to give each attendee:


  • confidence in their ability to execute on ideas,  

  • creative thinking strategies,

  • enhanced leadership skills, and

  • concrete steps to further their entrepreneurial ideas.


For more information on the event taking place on November 13, contact Dr. Doan Winkel at, or Learn more about the Dare to Dream Retreat and sign up for the waitlist here.