The Launch Project Connects Women to a Future of Fearless Leadership

by Diana Drake

Our Future of the Business World producers don’t often get to meet our podcast guests in person; our discussions are taped virtually. We’re happy to report, however, that we had a face-to-face chat with this month’s episode subject, Sahana Ahuja, while she visited the Wharton School’s Philadelphia campus in June 2023 for a summer high school leadership program. Sahana is a rising senior at the Medeira School in Virginia, U.S.  

Since we had taped our podcast conversation weeks prior about her work with The Launch Project, she shared that she and a partner have since started developing an app to accompany her entrepreneurial venture empowering young women — and she has welcomed several new chapters to her organization’s network. Oh, and she wanted to give an extra shout-out to her sister Ariana, whom she mentions in our conversation. She says that Ariana, who is also in high school, works so very hard to help The Launch Project succeed.

With that, we hope you enjoy our conversation with Sahana, which is episode 34 of our Future of the Business World podcast. Be sure to click the arrow above to listen to our conversation. An edited version of the transcript appears below.

Wharton Global Youth: Welcome to Future of the Business World, the podcast that inspires high school students to learn from other young innovators. I’m Diana Drake of the Wharton Global Youth Program at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Our Wharton Global Youth community grows by thousands each year, as high school students take part in our annual investment competition, our Pre-baccalaureate courses, and our online and on-campus summer programs.

This month, we’re welcoming a new group of business leaders to our college classrooms. And today’s guest is among them. Sahana Ahuja is part of our Leadership in the Business World program, where she is no doubt sharing experiences from her own entrepreneurship journey as the founder of The Launch Project.

Sahana, it’s great to have you on Future of the Business World.

Sahana Ahuja: Hi, thank you so much for having me.

Wharton Global Youth: What is The Launch Project? When and why did you start it? And how has it grown? Tell us a little bit about it.

Sahana: The Launch Project is an international nonprofit organization focused on building critical skills and providing equitable opportunities for girls in the areas of business, politics and STEM, regardless of socioeconomic differences. We address the prevalent gender gaps that exists for women by targeting these three underrepresented areas. Some specific facts are: only 2.3% of venture capital goes to women entrepreneurs. Additionally, for the first time this year, women run more than 10% of Fortune 500 companies. Although it is higher than the 8% it was for years, it is nowhere near the 50% where we need to be. Our goal at The Launch Project is to equalize these statistics by empowering, educating and developing girls to become future female leaders, changemakers and entrepreneurs.

Since our inception, The Launch Project has expanded to 50 chapters across four continents, with an estimated membership of approximately 2,500 members. We achieve our mission through the organizations, workshops, interviews with successful female leaders, educational programs, design challenges, summits and competitions and more. Our focus remains on creating a world where girls have the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of their gender or background.

Sahana Ahuja.

Wharton Global Youth: Fifty chapters…I’m definitely thinking about that. And that Inception started with you, correct? I mean, it all started with Sahana. Can you tell us about your inspiration for The Launch Project? And when this was and how you built from there?

Sahana: The inspiration for starting The Launch Project came from two significant experiences. The first one was my encounter with a girl abroad. She worked in extremely harsh conditions, while her brother had access to education. This was solely because of his gender. And this experience really opened my eyes to the stark realities of gender disparities, and the encounter left a lasting impact on me. This truly fueled my deep interest in addressing societal and gender equality. Additionally, attending a Girls in Leadership conference at the age of 13 made me realize the transformative power of bringing together successful female leaders as role models for teenage girls. Combining my passion for mentorship, education and gender equality, these experiences became the driving force behind the creation of The Launch Project.

Wharton Global Youth: Have you followed the progress of this young woman that you met abroad at all? And does she know that she was an inspiration for such a big, wonderful entrepreneurial venture?

Sahana: So, recently we try to contact the girl around the hotel where she was staying. We contacted them to try to reach out and provide some support to her. But unfortunately, she moved due to unforeseen circumstances.

Wharton Global Youth: So, she’s somewhere out there, and maybe she’ll discover you. I recently heard you talk about The Launch Project’s Female Empowerment Summit. Can you tell us more about this? And do you have a moment from that experience that really stands out?

Sahana: Definitely. The Launch Project Female Empowerment Summit took place at the United States Patent and Trademark Office headquarters. It showcased numerous female leaders and CEOs. Some of the speakers include the CEO of Accenture, Scout Bags, the Shatter Fund and Foundation, Marigold & Grey, and more. In addition, we were honored to have the director of the USPTO (United States Patent & Trade Office) and Senior Vice President of the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Assocation) speak at the event. The one-day event was strategically organized to fulfill the mission of The Launch Project. It was aimed to inspire and empower participants through aligning them with the mission of the organization’s overarching goals and objectives. By fostering a transformative environment through engaging activities and discussions, the event served as a catalyst for advancing the mission of The Launch Project.

Going back to your question, a standout moment during the event was receiving the positive feedback from attendees and the impact it had on them. And a specific piece of advice from the summit that really stuck out to me that a lot of the speakers mentioned was the importance of every single school assignment. The speakers discussed how an essay will turn into a compelling email that you must write to land a business pitch or to get a job, and the importance of developing crucial skills, such as being able to write and present well.

Wharton Global Youth: Did you organize this whole thing yourself? I mean, is this really critical to the work that you’re doing —  organizing these types of summits?

Sahana: Yes, I organized the event myself, along with the help of my younger sister, Ariana Ahuja. She is the vice president of The Launch Project and the assistant director of the summit.

Wharton Global Youth: How did you make all these powerful connections with businesspeople?

Sahana: So really, the most important thing that I’ve learned is just to reach out and really put yourself out there. I just created an email template, and I sent it out to as many successful business leaders and CEOs as possible. And additionally, going back to the Female Empowerment Summit that I attended when I was 13, I made some connections there. And I put myself out there for the first time at that summit. Some of the speakers I met were actually speakers at my summit.

Wharton Global Youth: Excellent. Great connections there. Part of The Launch Project’s mission is to provide equitable opportunities in business, politics and STEM, as you said. We’re throwing a lot of jargon out there in this conversation. What does gender equity mean to you? And do you really feel progress is being made in this area?

Sahana: Gender equality, as envisioned by The Launch Project, holds great significance to me. It really represents the fundamental principle that every individual regardless of their gender should have equal access to opportunities in the realms of business, politics and STEM. It truly goes beyond the mere equality and acknowledges the unique challenges and biases women and girls face. To level the playing field really means equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities and equal respect. I truly believe that progress is being made toward advancing gender equality. We have witnessed positive shifts in society with increasing recognition of importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, and efforts such as policy changes, awareness campaigns and initiatives focused on empowering women and girls. Additionally, four out of nine Supreme Court justices are women, and the Vice President is a minority woman. These have truly contributed to tangible advancements in society. Through initiatives such as mentoring programs, scholarships, and partnerships with the organizations that share the vision of The Launch Project, we are actively working to take part of changing these statistics and making more progress in society. A tangible way we are helping move the needle and drive change is through our recent partnership with the Shatter Fund to provide any young girl that is interested a free Entrepreneurship Certificate Program.

Wharton Global Youth: I really want to see the face of these young women that you’re helping. Can you give me an example of someone that you’ve met?

Sahana: A specific example is a young woman who attended a lot of our events and our recent Female Empowerment Summit. She reached out to me after and really stated how the skills and valuable assets she took away from these events helped her to present herself in a more formal way, and have the confidence to take charge of her passions. And she actually started her own business. She accredited a lot of the tangible skills she learned to The Launch Project, and the advice from the female leaders and entrepreneurs.

“The way I foster learning for everyone, including myself, is we start our meetings discussing positive things that have gone well, in order for everyone to feel success and unity within the team.”

Wharton Global Youth: I love the concept of all these chapters, you mentioned that you have 50 of them. It sounds very collaborative. How do you manage these chapters and the exchange of ideas?

Sahana: Our approach truly emphasizes the importance of a strong network. National events serve as pivotal moments where chapters come together to share experiences, insights, best practices, and more. These events provide a unifying platform that fuels collaborations and inspires innovative approaches to driving positive change. Going back to your question, some specific ways we manage these chapters are through regular check-ins, virtual meetings and collaborative platforms to enable chapters to discuss challenges, seek guidance, and exchange innovative ideas. So, while chapters are encouraged to plan their own events, The Launch Project team offers guidance and support throughout the process. This collaborative planning approach empowers chapters, allowing them to take ownership and tailor their events to their local communities, while ensuring alignment with our overall mission and objectives.

Wharton Global Youth: In managing this kind of network, I believe that you’ve probably learned something about goal setting and crafting a mission and understanding your purpose. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Sahana: Building The Launch Project has truly been one of the most gratifying experiences. It has challenged me in ways beyond an academic setting. Goal-setting, project planning and being organized, and setting milestones has been critical in order to successfully grow in an effective manner. This has not only provided me with a deeper comprehension of achieving objectives, but it has also enabled me to apply this in all facets of my life.

Wharton Global Youth: Who are some of your chapter presidents and what have you learned from them?

Sahana: Our chapter presidents consist of middle and high school students, as well as college chapters. We select them based on their application and commitment to The Launch Project’s mission. With over 50 chapters globally, the advantage of this expansion is the exchange of ideas and learning from one another. I have gained incredibly valuable insights from them. And I think it is very important to have a growth mindset where everyone has valuable contributions and input to provide. The way I foster learning for everyone, including myself, is we start our meetings discussing positive things that have gone well, in order for everyone to feel success and unity within the team. We talk about future tasks and ways to improve the execution, in order to be most effective. For example, for the summit, we had over 200 participants and needed a technology solution that would be able to manage restrictions, dietary preferences, and more for the in-person participants. And I learned from a chapter president, that a solution was using a particular technology that worked very well for our event in order to manage all of the attendees.

Wharton Global Youth: As long as we’re talking about this, what we’re learning from this experience in all this work empowering other women, I’m curious what you’ve learned about yourself and your own strengths and your own opportunities?

Sahana: So three key things that I have learned is truly being passionate about the idea you have, and managing your time efficiently. My advice for high schoolers is you should pursue something that you can do for hours, and it doesn’t feel like a task. Whenever I’m working on things for The Launch Project, I find myself getting engrossed in all of the tasks. I work on it for hours, and it doesn’t feel like work for me. And I really think you should find something that feels the same way and that doesn’t feel like work. The second thing is just to do it, as Nike says, Nothing will ever be 100%. And there will always be areas of ambiguity. You should be okay with that. And it’s really important to remember that you have to be flexible. Back in COVID, I started the organization, and I would not have imagined for it to have grown this much and have the amount of chapters and resources we have today. Additionally, mentorship is crucial and developing authentic connections is really important. I have come to learn that the most successful female CEOs and leaders are passionate about helping the next generation of girls to become future leaders. I’m still humbled by their willingness to be candid, share their lessons learned, and give really thoughtful advice. One thing that helps me is keeping a spreadsheet of all my contacts. This spreadsheet includes where we met and ongoing communication. I try to follow up with each of these contacts quarterly. I still keep in touch with many of the successful female CEOs that I met when I was 13 years old back at the first female empowerment conference I attended.

Wharton Global Youth: Do you have one you could name who has been particularly influential in your life?

Sahana: Definitely. A connection that has really stuck out to me is Amanda Zuckerman, the co founder and president of Dormify. I first met her back when I was 13. We discussed how to empower the next generation of female leaders, and this propelled my interest as well for starting The Launch Project. Ever since then, I’ve kept in contact with her and she was a recent speaker at a Launch Project event. It’s really nice to see how things came full circle from just meeting her and authentically having a connection and networking, to how it’s grown and how she’s truly become a mentor for me and The Launch Project.

Wharton Global Youth: You’re attending Wharton Global Youth’s Leadership in the Business World this summer? What do you hope to contribute to the group of dynamic young leaders? And what questions do you want to leave them pondering about the future of the business world?

Sahana: First of all, I am so excited to attend Wharton Global Youth’s Leadership in the Business World. And I’m really excited about the opportunity to contribute to this group of dynamic young leaders. I really hope to bring unique perspectives and experiences and skill sets to the table. One of the key contributions that I aim to make is to inspire my fellow participants to think critically and creatively about the future of the business world. I want to encourage them to take challenges and [question] existing norms and explore innovative approaches to addressing pressing global issues and societal challenges. By sharing my own insights and engaging in thought-provoking discussions, I hope to leave them pondering the following questions: What role can young leaders play in shaping a more equitable and inclusive business landscape? And what steps can be taken to break down barriers and promote diversity in leadership positions? Second, how can individuals, communities and institutions actively promote diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of their business?

Wharton Global Youth: One question I like to ask all our guests on Future of the Business World is if you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

Sahana: Great question. If I could change one thing, it would be to foster greater equality and eliminate systemic barriers that hinder individuals from reaching their full potential. This encompasses various aspects such as gender equality, racial equality, socioeconomic parity, and equal opportunities for all.

Wharton Global Youth: All right, let’s wrap up with our lightning round. Please try to answer these questions as quickly as you can. Number one is a toughy. A time that you learned from failure?

Sahana: During middle school, I ran for the position of class treasurer and I didn’t win. However, this experience became a learning moment for me, leading me to shift my focus toward social causes and ultimately, sparking the development of The Launch Project. Fast forward to this year, I ran for my school’s Head of Day Students, and I won. This journey has reinforced my belief that every setback and failure holds valuable lessons and serves as a stepping stone for future growth and successes.

Wharton Global Youth: When you’re not running The Launch Project, what is your favorite activity?

Sahana: I love reading and in my free time, I always read, whether it’s books, articles, and specifically, I like to read self-improvement books. My favorite book is Atomic Habits [by James Clear].

Wharton Global Youth: What is your hidden superpower?

Sahana: If I were to choose a superpower, it would be strength and resilience, I strongly adhere to the philosophy of find a way or make one. And when faced with skepticism, or the notion that something cannot be done, it only fuels my determination further and propels me toward accomplishing the goal at hand.

Wharton Global Youth: What was the last show you binge-watched?

Sahana: Outer Banks.

Wharton Global Youth: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Sahana: I hope to be a future leader and changemaker.

Wharton Global Youth: You’re starting your own business theme talk show. Who’s your first guest and why?

Sahana: I would pick Oprah Winfrey, because she exemplifies a strong woman who despite all odds has risen above hardships to create an entrepreneurial legacy. As a business leader, I find her ability to strike a balance between attaining financial success and upholding social responsibility to be truly admirable.

Wharton Global Youth: Sahana, thank you so much for joining us on Future of the Business World!

Sahana: Thank you for having me. It’s truly an honor.

Conversation Starters

Sahana Ahuja says we have made great strides in society toward gender equality. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Why do you think The Launch Project has caught fire? How has it been able to engage women leaders in an effort to empower young women? What is the secret sauce?

Do you have a question for Sahana? Ask it in the comments section of this article and she just might answer!

17 comments on “The Launch Project Connects Women to a Future of Fearless Leadership

  1. Sahana is bold and self-assured in her endeavours. In this modern world, its time for women to step up and reach their full potential. Hope she achieves her goals.

  2. Sahana Ahuja’s journey in bridging the gap for women in business, STEM, and politics through the founding of the Launch Project is truly admirable. Her work serves as a powerful example of the change that one person can make in creating opportunities and equality for women around the world.

    My first experience of gender inequality began during a family vacation to Cambodia, a country that is deeply scarred by the dark era of the Khmer Rouge. My father, a survivor who escaped to America, wanted our family to experience the roots of our heritage firsthand. While exploring the vibrant streets of Phnom Penh, I couldn’t help but notice the stark inequalities that existed, particularly when it came to gender roles in society.

    From the limited educational opportunities for girls to the glaring absence of women in leadership positions, it was clear that these disparities were stiffling half the population. While in the busy capital city, we visited a neighbor of my father when he was still a young child. Sokha, a girl around my age had no plans of pursuing a High School degree. Her brother, Keo, is currently in High School and planning to recieve his degree. When I asked her why she was not planning to continue her education, she replied, “Our families situation requires me to work in our shop, and it is more important for me to focus on helping out the business, while my brother pursues a better life for all of us.” For me, this was utterly disheartening, since So Kha had previously mentioned her dream was to become a doctor. As Sahana put it, “every individual regardless of their gender should have equal access to opportunities in the realm of business, politics and STEM.”

    Having always been interested in economics and business, I founded The Center For Teen Economics Education, a platform dedicated to empowering high schoolers regardless of gender and promoting equal opportunities in business and STEM fields. Through my work, I have been able to create meaningful change by providing mentorship, sharing stories of successful women in both Business and related fields in STEM, and offering education resources to high school students. Through workshops and seminars, we have been able to educate young women about the opportunities available to them and help them develop the necessary skills and confidence to pursue careers in traditionally male-dominated fields. Additionally, we have worked to break down societal barriers and challenge stereotypes that hold women back from reaching their full potential.

    During the summer, I collaborated with So Kha to launch a Cambodian newsletter aimed at promoting gender equality. To expand our reach, we made it accessible online through distributed QR codes. Together, we spearheaded a campaign to distribute this newsletter to local and private schools. Our primary focus was to shed light on gender disparities that persist within Cambodian society. In the newsletter we highlighted stories and experiences of individuals who have overcome these challenges, inspiring young girls to take charge and become the change in their own lives and communities. Through our combined efforts, we aimed to empower young girls by providing them with the knowledge, resources, and encouragement necessary to combat gender-based inequalities. We continue to work to amplify their voices and share powerful stories, with hopes to inspire a new generation of girls who understand their rights and contribute positively to society.

    Throughout my journey as an advocate, I have come to realize that promoting gender equality cannot be tackled alone. It is intertwined with numerous issues in the realm of social justice, including but not limited to poverty, education and access to healthcare. In order to effectively adress these challenges and bridge the gap between gender equality and socioeconomic disparities prevalent in today’s society, it is important to foster collaboration with various organizations of different fields. Through work like Sahana’s and young visionaries to inspire and innovate our world both socially and economically, I firmly believe that we can magnify our impact and create lasting change for countless girls and women around the globe.

    • As an Asian girl, I related to so many aspects of your comment. I have never been to China, but I have heard stories about the gender inequality issues that are still prevalent there. I also sometimes feel judged for simply being a girl by my own relatives.

      Something that stuck with me was the story you brought up about how Sokha requires women to stay home and fulfill their domestic duties while men go out and pursue a better life for the family. This is something that sadly occurs within many families, especially from third-world countries. It is not easy as these traditional familial structures have been continually reinforced and to break out of that structure is tough.

      I also wanted to mention that I agree that Ahuja’s journey is impactful and shows how one voice can be just influential. I can also support the idea that one voice is just as impactful since as a student, I realized that my voice was just important as the adult’s and that especially in a school setting, my voice should be the most heavily considered as I am the most deeply affected by the outcomes.

      Reading about your own experiences with starting up The Center for Teen Economics Education was so insightful and interesting since it is difficult for high school students to be able to pull together these projects that often require connections with professors, graduate students, or other professionals in the specific fields. I think that starting this center continues to show your passion and commitment to providing resources to those that need it. It also shows how devoted you are to achieving gender equality. I would love to learn more about the workshops and seminars you offered through the center. I am currently at a program that specifically aims to offer STEM research experience to females, and I also participate in seminars. These seminars include female leaders and entrepreneurs in New York City since the program is run through NYU. I would just love to see how you get teenagers excited with exposure to these seminars and workshops!

      One thing I’ve learned is that all social issues come together, and that is something I’ve noticed within my club’s initiatives and actions too. When we collaborate on these goals, it grows the possibility of success. I think that is what you also did with your Center for Teen Economics Education by doing workshops. While one voice matters a lot, collaboration is also key.

  3. Seeing the correlation between the words “women” and “leadership” in the article’s title made me immediately click on it. Gender inequality is an obstacle posed in the paths of the majority of females who wish to pursue a career in leadership. Therefore, I find any material, be it an article, podcast, or even just a post on social media covering a woman’s success story to represent inspiration and support for other women. As soon as I started reading the first passage, I found myself to be even more connected with the story than I had previously imagined.

    Similar to Sahana Ahuja, I have also co-founded an NGO specifically designed for women, with our core mission of empowering girls. This year, FeminEast was born, an association with the goal of making financial literacy accessible to girls in Eastern Europe. Not only are Eastern European states rated among the lowest in charts regarding economic education, but the issue is even more prominent amongst women. Both organizations aim to bring equality to women in terms of academics and access to education. I would be minimizing my reaction towards her and her NGO’s realizations if I wouldn’t declare myself to have been impressed by the achievements stated in the article. Considering the previously mentioned similarity of my story and Sahana’s, reading about her nonprofit’s accomplishments made my mind wander to the future of my own project. As FeminEast is only at the beginning of its journey, with our first in-person event happening later this week, a similar initiative would have an incredibly positive impact on the community. The Launch Project inspires me to aim for higher goals for FeminEast, allowing me to dream of even more greatness. This is a prime example of why representation is important: seeing a woman in a higher position makes me confident that I, too, can reach that level.

    As well as that, I find that Sahana and I also agree on other aspects. I can confirm that time passes swiftly when you are working for something you are truly passionate about. On many occasions, I have found myself sitting at my laptop for hours on end, in meetings, emailing and doing research regarding the association without realizing the number of hours which have passed. I, too, consider that this is the way to tell if you have involved yourself in the project suited for you or not.

    For years, we have been fighting for gender equality: from trials at the Supreme Court of the United States (e.g. Ledbetter v. Goodyear), to founding or volunteering at organizations with this mission, and to just advocating for young women in discussions with friends or on social media. Although we, as a society, have not fully accomplished our mission yet, any step forward, however small, is of immense value. I was moved upon reading this article and I am sure that other girls have too. I find it of great importance to put forward such stories as Sahana’s, as they prove that success is possible.

    To conclude, as Sahana also mentioned in the interview: you can’t level the playing field if you are not aware of the rules of the game.

    • This is such an informative podcast and incredible story. I am inspired by the Launch Project. The reach and impact of the organization is very impressive.

    • Despite fully recognizing the meaningfulness of the Launch Project, I believe that the depiction of women, particularly girls in this generation, as minorities is controversial.

      Even though it is widely recognized that women are often paid lower salaries than men, even for the same work, it is not enough to portray them as the subjects of inequality. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, women accounted for nearly 60% of all college students by the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. This statistic indicates that the stories of the restricted education rights of women do not hold for this modern generation.

      While it is true that there is a lower ratio of girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, they have made significant progress in education. Currently, they constitute 44% of college-educated workers in STEM occupations, which shows almost complete equivalence in gender ratio. This evidence contradicts the common misconception that men highly dominate these fields. In fact, women dominate various major areas, accounting for 75% of workers in healthcare, 64% in social science, and 50% in life sciences.

      Please note that I am not criticizing the Launch Project; as a matter of fact, I believe it to be a meaningful organization with the intention of assisting minorities. However, my point is that women may not necessarily be the primary group classified as minorities. Perhaps we should redirect our attention and support towards individuals who are more severely oppressed social minorities, such as low-income families.

      From what I have read in this article, this project has already demonstrated success, and I hope it can spread its positive impact to a wider range of individuals. In conclusion, I envision a bright future for the Launch Project to expand its good initiatives for more diverse people in need!

  4. I was truly inspired by Sahana Ahuja’s story and her commitment to empowering young women through The Launch Project. Her dedication and passion are evident in every word she speaks. This is the best podcast on this channel and this episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, leadership, and gender equality.

  5. The Future of the Business World podcast continues to bring us incredible young innovators like Sahana. Her vision for gender equality in business, politics, and STEM is both ambitious and necessary. This episode is a testament to the power of youth leadership and the positive impact it can have on society. Her commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in business is truly inspiring. Her work with The Launch Project is breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for young women around the world. This podcast episode is a reminder that we all have the power to drive change and make a positive impact.

    • Totally! After this podcast, Sahana and her vision for gender equality in a variety of fields is inspirational. With more and more advocates and voices such as Sahana, dramatic advances in gender equality will occur. As of now, women in STEM are currently on the uptrend, and hopefully this barrier will soon be broken!

  6. Sahana’s dedication to empowering young women through The Launch Project is truly inspiring. It’s remarkable to see someone her age making such a significant difference in the business world. The growth of The Launch Project across four continents is a testament to the importance and impact of Sahana’s mission. Her personal connection with a girl abroad, who faced gender disparities, ignited her passion for addressing these issues. The Female Empowerment Summit organized by The Launch Project sounds like an incredible event, bringing together successful female leaders to inspire and empower teenage girls. Sahana’s ability to build connections with business leaders and CEOs highlights the power of networking and reaching out. The collaborative nature of The Launch Project’s chapters and their exchange of ideas contributes to their success in creating a supportive and innovative community. I am truly inspired by her story and I hope to be a founder of something with this impact one day.

  7. The Launch Project has been able to catch fire and engage women leaders due to several key factors. Firstly, its mission of empowering young women in business, politics, and STEM resonates deeply with many individuals who recognize the importance of gender equality and providing equal opportunities. The organization’s focus on addressing the gender gaps in these fields is timely and relevant, which generates enthusiasm and support from both women leaders and those who want to see positive change.
    One of the secrets to The Launch Project’s success lies in its ability to create a strong network and build authentic connections with women leaders. By reaching out to successful businesswomen, CEOs, and other accomplished individuals, The Launch Project demonstrates a genuine interest in their experiences and insights. This approach not only engages women leaders but also allows them to become invested in the organization’s mission and feel a sense of purpose in supporting young women.
    Additionally, The Launch Project’s emphasis on collaboration and the exchange of ideas plays a significant role in its ability to engage women leaders. By providing a platform for networking, sharing best practices, and organizing events like the Female Empowerment Summit, the organization creates a supportive community that fosters mentorship and inspires future leaders. This collaborative approach allows women leaders to actively participate in empowering young women and contribute to the organization’s impact.
    Furthermore, the dedication and passion of Sahana Ahuja, the founder of The Launch Project, cannot be overlooked. Her vision, drive, and commitment to making a difference have inspired others to join the cause. Her ability to build connections, organize impactful events, and effectively communicate the organization’s mission has been instrumental in engaging women leaders and garnering support.
    In essence, the secret sauce of The Launch Project lies in its compelling mission, authentic connections, collaborative approach, and the inspiring leadership of Sahana Ahuja. Together, these elements have created a movement that has caught fire and continues to empower and uplift young women in their pursuit of success.

    • I know you said that just one of the secrets to The Launch Project’s success is the strong network and connections, but in my opinion, Isabella, that may be the MOST important secret of theirs.

      It was the thing my summer program professor, a minority woman herself of many accomplishments, drilled into us all the time. Make connections. Network. Reach out.

      Of course, the emphasis on collaboration you mentioned goes with making connections, as it allows younger women to connect with women leaders. I hope to see more of this in The Launch Project’s future — helping to foster younger women’s roles in leadership and innovation through the mentoring of older female leaders.

      It becomes a lot more important when you consider the kind of environment girls and women tend to be raised in. A lot of parents, especially first generation immigrants, still uphold traditional gender roles and values (with no blame allotted to them, only to a sad generational cycle). As a result, many girls are told to make themselves smaller, lesser and that they are weaker in more ways than one than boys. This then stifles their confidence and self-worth, which makes it hard to reach out in any way for the fear of being a burden or annoyance or not worth someone’s time.

      I know that’s my case. And maybe it is yours, Isabella, or maybe just like Sahana you have witnessed something similar.

      This is why I love seeing Sahana emphasize this in the article and you emphasize it in this comment. If we want young, new, female leaders in the world, we have the current women leaders to thank for helping to carve a path out for them. Connection and collaboration — those are the things that make The Launch Project particularly special.

  8. AS Sahana Said that” The Launch Project is an international nonprofit organization focused on building critical skills and providing equitable opportunities for girls in the areas of business, politics and STEM, regardless of socioeconomic differences. “This will then help women all over the globe to cope with the differences they face in this world and she made that possible just so that there could be more women like here who help other people and inspire them to be educated and behave like them in each and every way to support other people. She has helped more than 2500 women in earning and making a livelihood that helps the survive in this harsh condition that are faced by everyone in this world. This launch was launched in the United States patent and Trademark Office headquarters. She helps other women’s all over the place with the help of her younger sister, Ariana Ahuja. She is the vice president of The Launch Project and the assistant director of the summit. She made various contacts with successful CEO of different countries to help her in the support in Female Empowerment Summit. She was able to achieve all this with just by created an email template, and then sent it out to as many successful business leaders and CEOs in the world.
    A specific example is a young woman who attended a lot of her events and in recent Female Empowerment Summit. She reached out to Sahana after and really stated how the skills and valuable assists she took away from these events helped her to present herself in a more formal way, and have the confidence to take charge of her passions. And she actually started her own business. She accredited a lot of the tangible skills she learned to The Launch Project, and the advice from the female leaders and entrepreneurs.
    This example shows us that Sahana is truly giving her best in the support for the women in the world and making different events at different places to help the women.

    I truly am honored to see the efforts Sahara is putting in to help make this world a better place and hope she will succeed in it.

  9. In the Future of the business world podcast, “The Launch Project Connects Women to a Future of Fearless Leadership,” Sahana Ahuja discussed her motivations for creating the Launch Project. This project aims to create a platform where girls can be empowered to become future leaders in various areas of expertise regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds. Behind this motif, one quote resonated with me- “To level the playing field really means equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities, and equal respect.” As soon as I heard this sentence while listening to the broadcast, I immediately agreed with this stance as it deeply aligns with my values.
    From my perspective as a girl, gender inequalities follow as girls age. As a child, people compare girls with boys– some jokingly say that girls are worth less than boys because girls are too weak. Some would say that girls are too picky and are often crybabies. As a teenager, people would then say that girls are too dramatic and full of gossip. As an adult, female workers often receive less pay than male workers in the same position. No matter if it is mere stereotypes, or prejudice against a gender, those actions continue to put a label of negativity in today’s society.
    This podcast deeply awakened me. As a girl myself, I am constantly worried about the discrimination girls face simply because of their gender. I have seen and read multiple stories online about how terrible girls are treated due to gender discrimination. I have heard about child laborers and young girls forced to work in factories. I have seen children receiving unequal education due to gender inequalities. I am grateful that I did not experience these events– but many others have.
    However, as Sahana mentioned, society is working towards improvement. As more and more discussions about diversity have taken place, the spotlight has shifted to initiatives that support female empowerment. With more effort, the principle of equality can be better executed to create a fair community for all.
    I was inspired by the works of Sahana. In my opinion, true female empowerment starts with becoming a better self. With platforms like the Launch Project, girls can learn from experienced leaders to better enhance their skill sets. Girls from any social class have the same opportunity to learn, thrive, and become more educated to break the stereotypes. In the future, I will also extend my help to help achieve gender equality. Although my help may be small, I hope that as I work to become a better entrepreneur in business, it can inspire more girls to dream big and envision themselves as influential leaders– who are never less worthy than anyone else.

  10. “To level the playing field really means equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities and equal respect. I truly believe that progress is being made toward advancing gender equality.”

    From the moment we are born, girls are separated from boys. As children, we are told that men are simply superior, and that we should let others take the first steps into better futures.

    While efforts have been taken to offer better opportunities for young girls, there is still a long way to go. Many young girls are taught to apologize for themselves, to be ashamed for who they are. Even when asking questions, we tend to start with “sorry”, as if speaking is a disturbance to others. Despite the social stigma, we still strive for better grades, improvement, the same things every other person wants.

    Nowadays, female leaders are much more common than before. We have a female vice president, and four of the nine Supreme Court Justices are women. These are huge steps towards equality, and empower bright, young children all over the world to chase their dreams. As we continue to innovate and create better futures for our children, it is important for us to whole-heartedly support them with equal opportunities and challenges.

    In 2022, women earned about 82% of what men earned, and held only 35% of high-ranking executive positions in industries. Even this is a huge improvement upon the 27.1% of women in top management positions in 2015. While the gap between men and women has closed considerably, it is still important for people to offer more encouragement, and more support to blossoming children around the world.

    In order to truly make a difference in our judgmental society, people can create a stronger foundation for young girls to build on. People could start programs to teach young girls the skills they need to be the leaders of their generation, and to remind them that they have the capabilities and the talent, so they shouldn’t let someone else dictate what they want to strive for. Later on, companies and universities could try to shake off the social norm of undervaluing women in the corporate world, allowing bright and qualified girls from around the world the same opportunities, salaries, and positions as their male counterparts.

    It shouldn’t matter if a person is male or female. They should still have access to the same opportunities and respect.

  11. In this article, “The Launch Project Connects Women to a Future of Fearless Leadership”, I was truly blown away by the breadth of the mission Sahana Ahuja has begun to reach. Sahana recognizes one of the main contributors to the glaring gender gap in the fields of business, politics, and STEM — a lack of equitable and accessible opportunities, regardless of socioeconomic status.

    Others often highlight that, overall, the statistics of women working in STEM fields (still dominated by men), are on the rise, but they fail to capture the disparity on a smaller scale.
    Thus, I enjoyed seeing how Sahana and her team focus on the younger generation, by providing them with an opportunity to participate in a free Entrepreneurship Certificate Program. The emphasis on the younger kids deeply resonates with my own beliefs and experiences in the STEM field. After being introduced to an inspiring community of motivated individuals in summer intensive programs in my school’s robotics team, both geared towards girls and gender minorities, I’ve become invested in our beliefs to make the community a more inclusive one. However, my biggest regret would be not exploring STEM, specifically computer science and engineering, before my high school journey.

    In hindsight, I realize that I was held back by social factors — particularly within the family, community, and media. Traditional-minded parent(s), like my own, subconsciously reiterate the narrative that boys are more successful than girls in these particular fields. As females and minorities, the feeling of being alienated is sustained by popular media which star high-performing men in CS and engineering fields. Combined, they feed a form of systemic discouragement, continuously painting a “masculine” image that these professions are not suitable for females and other minorities.

    These stereotypes have always found a way into society and a prime example would be the education system. To raise a point, we would expect a school specialized in promoting STEM education, like my own, to possess better statistics with female and minority students enrolled in CS or engineering classes. But unfortunately, that isn’t the case. In many of my school’s CS classes, the number of female students has yet to reach double digits — in a classroom of almost thirty students. The feeling of stepping into a room dominated by male classmates or a competition site filled with male or “co-ed” teams is an isolating one. It paints a picture as if we’re only there for the sake of being there, unable to contribute with the power of one — a singular person, or a singular team. That is the reality that hurts when it’s being told from the point of view of our mentors, and in turn more crushing to hear from our members.

    However, we learned to push forwards, to expand our outreach physically and virtually, teaching and mentoring, across elementary, middle, and high schools. We’re not meant to be just “good” cheerleaders in the game, idle viewers in the crowd, or shiny tokens for diversity, but we’re meant to take a stand, and propel for change which Sahana Ahuja encapsulates with:

    “ It really represents the fundamental principle that every individual regardless of their gender should have equal access to opportunities in the realms of business, politics, and STEM. It truly goes beyond the mere equality and acknowledges the unique challenges and biases women and girls face.”

    Together, our missions both strive to create a more welcoming environment that inspire young girls and more recently, gender minorities in pursuing their passions in fields that used to say “no”. I am excited to see what’s in store for the future of the cause and The Launch Project!

  12. The Launch Project has been successful in engaging women leaders and empowering young women due to its passionate founder, Sahana Ahuja, who has a clear vision and dedication to the organization’s mission. Sahana’s personal experiences and encounters with gender disparities fueled her commitment to addressing these issues. Additionally, her ability to network and connect with successful female leaders has helped attract their support and involvement.

    The secret sauce of The Launch Project likely includes the following elements:
    1. Passion and Purpose: Sahana’s deep passion for gender equality and her commitment to providing equal opportunities for young women are at the core of the organization’s success.
    2. Networking and Collaboration: Building connections with successful female leaders and fostering collaboration between chapters have allowed for the exchange of ideas and resources, creating a supportive network.
    3. Mentorship: The organization’s focus on mentorship and providing young girls with role models in business, politics, and STEM fields is essential for their growth and development.
    4. Grassroots Movement: The Launch Project’s approach of having chapters run by middle and high school students and college chapters allows for a grassroots movement that can adapt to local communities while maintaining alignment with the organization’s mission.
    5. Flexibility and Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, shows the organization’s flexibility and resilience.

    Overall, The Launch Project’s success is a result of its founder’s passion, effective networking, mentorship programs, and the organization’s adaptability to the needs of young women and the communities it serves.

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