Katherine Patetta, ’19, hadn’t heard of The Broad when she first started thinking about her Jepson Internship. But when she saw the listing on SpiderConnect and researched their website, she loved the Richmond-based start-up’s mission.

“The Broad is helping other women’s businesses and voices be heard in the Richmond community by creating a space for women, by women, as well as through its events and partnerships,” Patetta says.

The Broad, which opened in February, is the first cooperative working space and social club in Virginia that is designed specifically for women and gender minorities. This summer, Patetta was one of a handful of interns working directly with The Broad Founder Ali Greenberg.

“Many people — women and men — gasp at the fact that she is the one person leading this whole business — with the help of a few interns. Surprising many, Ali is defying implicit gender biases through her entrepreneurial spirit and ability to foster a positive environment for women,” Patetta says.

Because of The Broad’s newness, Patetta’s responsibilities varied widely, from analyzing financial reports to suggesting website improvements. But one of her main projects was looking at how The Broad, which has already surpassed 200 memberships since its opening, can continue to grow and expand.

Patetta worked on a plan to implement a 6-month membership at a discounted monthly rate in addition to the original 3-month commitment. The new membership options took effect in August.

“Additionally, I proposed potential membership rates for graduate students in the area, young adults, small businesses who have multiple people using the space, and a supporter membership for founding members who no longer wish to stay a Broad but still support the cause,” says Patetta. 

Patetta notes that while she won’t be able to see how her recommendations affect the business’ profitability and daily operations, she’ll carry the insights she gained about leadership and gender into her own career.

“From my time working here, I’ve learned how running a new business is genuinely an all-hands-on-deck kind of situation. It has been very valuable working with Ali and seeing how much of an impact her successful business is making on the community and other women,” Patetta says.

Patetta, who is pursuing a double major in leadership studies and international studies with a concentration in international economics, plans to focus on international development and economics in her career and is considering the possibility of graduate school after working for a few years.

“It has been powerful to see the impact these women are making in Richmond and the greater community,” Patetta says.