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Courtney A. Gras

After leaving her job at NASA to work with the startup company she founded in college, Courtney uncovered a passion for helping founders and building vibrant startup communities in the Midwest. Courtney spent 8 years with her own startup, and through this, uncovered opportunities to improve the local startup ecosystem. Her work has involved relationship building and program management among entrepreneur support organizations, corporations, universities and local government - focused on building bridges, encouraging partnerships, and improving collaboration. Today, Courtney works at Techstars as the LaunchPad Community Director, delivering Techstars services to the LaunchPad program, working with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation (BXCF) and the broader Techstars team.

Courtney frequently shares her stories of founding a company and discovering the entrepreneur mindset through professional speaking for collegiate, corporate, and professional events. Courtney also published the book "Entrepreneur is a Verb" to encourage young professionals to apply the entrepreneurial mindset to launch their dream career. She has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30, Crain’s Cleveland Twenty in their 20s, and a Midwest Energy News 40 under 40 for her work with her startup company.


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Presentation Topics

Applying the entrepreneur mindset to launch your dream career

Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship

Building Innovation Ecosystems

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Recent Presentations

IEEE Future Leaders Forum, 2018

TEDx Danubia - Budapest, Hungary, 2017

IEEE International Women's Leadership Conference - San Jose, CA, 2017

Pioneers Festival - Vienna, Austria, 2016