Entrepreneur, Ecosystem Builder, and Emory Alumna Karen Cashion Joins “Might Could” at The Hatchery


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A key trait of innovators is their ability to identify high-leverage opportunities that can rapidly move the needle towards certain outcomes. Karen Cashion, CEO of Tech Alpharetta and Emory Alumna, has this trait in spades!

A key trait of innovators is their ability to identify high-leverage opportunities that can rapidly move the needle towards certain outcomes. Karen Cashion, CEO of Tech Alpharetta and Emory Alumna, has this trait in spades! A number of years ago, Karen looked at the Alpharetta tech company scene and saw about 100 tech companies working in relative isolation. Her vision was for the possible results if someone were to step into this space and begin to intentionally develop an ecosystem of support for these companies. Fast forward to the present and Alpharetta has over 700 tech companies and a thriving collection of institutions to resource these and future companies. Her conversation with The Hatchery, Emory Center for Innovation, on their podcast, Might Could: Stories of Innovation in the ATL, offered insights from her experience as an entrepreneur and ecosystem builder.  

A couple of key learnings stand out from Karen's work that are helpful lessons to anyone building an ecosystem or movement. First of all, this is not a short game. It takes years to create and connect the institutions that are required to support a healthy innovation ecosystem. Karen cited perseverance as one of the key traits required for ecosystem builders. Another trait that makes Karen such a successful convener is her ability to listen carefully to the diversity of stakeholders that might participate in an ecosystem and design experiences and programs that add value to each of them while also encouraging cross-pollination. Ecosystem builders cannot get swept up in the idea of how cool an ecosystem will be for everyone (though that's true) but instead need to focus on how they create something that brings people together because it supports their goals just as much as their participation supports the ecosystem. 

Karen had many other great insights about the role of educational institutions in innovation, advice for students who are entering the workforce, and indicators of healthy to monitor as an ecosystem builder. The entire conversation can be viewed here or listened to here.  To stay up to date with all the great conversations happening at The Hatchery, subscribe to their newsletter

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