University News

Entrepreneurship Coach at Denison – Students Put Ideas into Action

Design Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Student Life
January 18, 2018

Building on the foundation of a premier liberal arts education, Denison University’s Red Frame Lab is the college’s center for innovation, creative problem-solving, and entrepreneurship.

Kerry Shea Penland has joined Denison as entrepreneurship coach. She will support students in cultivating a solutions orientation and learning the skills to move ideas from model to market. In addition to coaching students, Penland will coordinate campus workshops and facilitate coaching of students by visiting entrepreneurs, including Denison alumni, who come to campus to share their talent and the wisdom of their experience.

“Entrepreneurship is both a mindset and a skillset,” said Penland. “Entrepreneurs get excited by the challenge of identifying and solving problems; they apply initiative to overcome risk. But they also need to know how to market their ideas and generate support for their enterprises so they can see them through to implementation,” she added. “Our goal is to encourage and support future professionals in the field of entrepreneurial ventures.”

“Kerry Shea speaks the language of entrepreneurship, and models the outlook of a person driven to find solutions and make them sustainable. She knows from experience what aptitudes our students will need if they want to succeed as entrepreneurs,” said Julie Tucker, assistant vice president for student development at Denison.

“With Kerry Shea’s support, our students will learn critical skills, discover other like-minded students, network with entrepreneurs, and visit startups, business accelerators, and investors.”

“Kerry Shea also will leverage two unique Denison assets: our incredibly vibrant network of alumni entrepreneurs, and the growing ecosystem of entrepreneurs throughout the Columbus metropolitan region,” added Tucker. In addition to interacting with students at the Red Frame Lab, Penland will spend time at the NeWork Space on the Square in Newark, Ohio, building connections to the economic activity that is driving development in the city.

Penland has more than 10 years of entrepreneurial experience in both for-profit and nonprofit arenas. In 2011, she developed and founded All’asta, a lifestyle brand that provided business opportunities through direct sales and auctions of items in curated collections, including pieces from global artists and craftspeople. Penland took the business to market and onboarded consultants nationwide, generating $2 million in revenue, with 2015 projections reaching almost $4 million. She recently launched her own nonprofit, Whole Living Recovery, a 501c3 that supports women and children whose lives are affected by addiction.

“I’m looking forward to using my ability to be effective and creative as an entrepreneur and my business connections to help Denison students bring their dreams to life,” Penland said.

Penland holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration, computer information systems, as well as a Master of Business from East Carolina University.

The Red Frame Lab is Denison’s center for creative problem-solving, innovation and entrepreneurship. It offers workshops on elements of design-thinking, from listening to prototyping and testing. One-on-one coaching and the cultivation of mentoring relationships support young entrepreneurs and leaders. Red Frame Lab students examine problems and develop solutions by working with professional staff, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and with each other. They develop skills that can be applied across all professions, in the world of business and nonprofits, and in many aspects of personal life.

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