What does it take to be an entrepreneur? Head-down focus. Inspiration. Passion. The drive to make the world a better place.
According to Cathie Wood P’15, these elements, among others, can lead a Gettysburg entrepreneur to success, just as they launched her company, ARK Investment Management, to more than $7 billion in assets under management (AUM) in just four short years.
Wood, whose daughter Caroline Wood ’15 was an art history major and Spanish minor, saw an opportunity to use her entrepreneurial experience to assist Gettysburg students in creating their own businesses.
So she donated to support Gettysburg’s Entrepreneurial Fellowship, a summer fellowship where venture ideas can be explored and students develop the experience, connections, and skills necessary to help them view entrepreneurship as a career.
The Entrepreneurial Fellowship is part of the larger Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Initiative (E-SII) at the College. “At Gettysburg, we believe the diversity of our experience enhances our ability,” said Economics Prof. Drew Murphy, the program’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. “E-SII endeavors to teach, through experiential learning, the skills of applying one’s talents and educational training to tackling real world problems.”
Wood is one example of how The Gettysburg Network comprises a variety of individuals, including alums, friends, and parents who provide numerous career connections for Gettysburg College students. Over the past few years, Gettysburg has worked with parents, like Wood, and alumni to provide over 8,000 opportunities for career exploration.
Wood, who was also involved in the Parents Leadership Council and the Center for Career Engagement’s seminar and shadowing programs, began her career in finance while still in college and moved to New York City in 1980 to become an economist and equity analyst.
“As an analyst, I had to find my own universe, stocks of my own,” she said. That’s when Reuters and Telerate, precursors to the internet, hit the market and no one wanted them but Wood. Similarly, when Vodafone went public, Wood jumped at what would become a leader in wireless.
So began Wood’s fascination with innovation and how it plays into the world of investments. In 2014, Wood decided to start her own firm focused on producing growth through researching and investing in disruptive innovations.
Though Wood had no hesitancy in starting the firm, many of her friends thought she was crazy to venture out on her own at that point in her career. There to cheer her on in the beginning were the connections she built at Gettysburg College, especially Betsy Duncan Diehl ’84, P14, the associate vice president of development and donor relations. “Betsy and Janet [Morgan Riggs ’77] so believed in what I was doing to start my business and were personally excited,” said Wood. “I was equally impressed with their sincerity and desire to make a difference in young students’ lives.”
Just as Gettysburg offered her support, she has returned the support. Wood’s dedication to Gettysburg’s student entrepreneurs continues today, providing a vital connection in the invaluable Gettysburg career network.
Wood’s daughter Caroline ’15 now works for ARK Investment Management as a marketing associate, harnessing social media to reach a broader population in ways completely new to the financial industry.
The E-SII program is introducing an alumni-parent mentor program aimed at promoting the value of connecting student interest and alumni-parent expertise. Learn more about participating in or donating to Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation programs at Gettysburg College.