Startup Week panel to focus on profitable Penn State ladies in entrepreneurship


UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. – There are 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States today. This accounts for 40% of businesses across the country and is a prime example of how women-led organizations are a driving force in the country’s economy.

On Monday, March 22nd, 7:15 pm-8:15pm during Penn State Startup Week sponsored by PNC, successful Penn State alumnae will share their path to success and the challenges they face along the way encountered, describe in detail during an expert plenary session entitled “The future is female.” No registration is required for this virtual event, which takes place via Zoom. It is open to all Penn State students.

Featured panel members include:

  • Jess Weiner (Born 1995), CEO of Talk To Jess: Weiner runs a consulting firm, Talk To Jess, who works with Fortune 500 companies to better reflect people in their media, marketing and advertising, and the workforce. She is a celebrated writer and has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the most creative people in the business world in the fields of diversity and education.
  • Melissa Schipke Marzano (born 2009), founder and CEO of Tassl: Schipke runs a Philadelphia company dedicated to building technologies that strengthen alumni networks and recognize graduates for contributions to their alma mater. In 2016, she was named to the 40-under-40 list of the Southern New Jersey Business People and the 40-under-40 list of Rowan University, and won the top prize in the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan competition $ 60,000.
  • Kathryn Dougherty (born 2009), founder of Spritz Beverages Co .: As the founder of Spritz Beverages Co., Dougherty develops and markets a range of sparkling, boldly flavored craft tea infusions. She developed the company after recognizing a niche in the market for non-alcoholic beverage alternatives, especially those that appeal to women and athletes.

Lee Erickson, chief rep for PNC Bank’s Happy Valley LaunchBox, will host the event. On the Happy Valley LaunchBox, Erickson provides business consulting, connecting startups with the resources, experts, and support they need to compromise their business and accelerate time to market. She was previously a serial entrepreneur and has worked with hundreds of new tech startups and some of the largest venture capital firms in the world.

For more information on this virtual event, see

Last updated on March 15, 2021