Laurie Stach: An Inspiring Leader Empowering Young Entrepreneurs

Laurie Stach’s career journey is a testament to her diverse background in engineering, business, and education. Armed with a mechanical engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School, Laurie embarked on a path that led her to renowned organizations such as GE, BMW, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG). However, it was her passion for entrepreneurship and education that ultimately defined her leadership path.

In 2012, Laurie founded LaunchX, an organization dedicated to empowering young people to build the future. Alongside her role at LaunchX, she also worked at the entrepreneurship center at MIT, where she played a pivotal role in developing and leading their maker space. Laurie’s dedication to fostering innovation extended to the classroom as she created and taught a course called Intro to Making. Having successfully driven the growth of LaunchX for over a decade, Laurie has now transitioned into a Board role with the company.

When asked about her definition of leadership, Laurie emphasizes that it goes beyond titles and positions. For her, a leader is someone who inspires others and garners followers through a common vision. A successful leader must possess qualities like authenticity, dedication, and the ability to inspire action through hard work and a strong alignment with the collective vision.

At LaunchX, measuring success occurs on multiple levels. The organization’s mission is to empower young people to build the future, both in terms of their startups and their personal growth. The metrics used to gauge success include student success, startup success, and economic impact. Student success is measured by the entrepreneurial growth of students, their acquisition of key skills, and the positive impact on their mindset. LaunchX alumni demonstrate the program’s efficacy as approximately 70% of them are involved in operating startups, whether it be their original LaunchX ventures or new entities they’ve created. Economic success is a crucial component, with LaunchX students driving exponential scaling through initiatives such as hackathons, accelerators, fundraising efforts, and successful exits.

Reflecting on her notable achievements, Laurie takes great pride in LaunchX’s ability to curate a diverse group of talented young entrepreneurs from around the world. The LaunchX Summer Program encompasses both in-person and online experiences, with a new addition called the Innovation Program. The campus program brings students together at top universities, where they live in dorms, attend sessions in university classrooms, and immerse themselves in the innovative culture to build real companies over four weeks. The online program offers the same quality experience, fostering a supportive community, interactive classes, mentorship, and prototyping support. The Innovation Program challenges students to apply their learnings and work as teams to tackle challenges and innovate for established companies, enabling them to develop problem-solving skills and become future business leaders.

In terms of risk-taking, Laurie challenges the notion that entrepreneurs are reckless. Instead, she highlights the importance of researched decision-making based on data. Entrepreneurs constantly build decision trees and charts in their minds, analyzing variables and assessing potential outcomes. Laurie exemplifies this approach through LaunchX’s swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. By evaluating key factors impacting their ability to run in-person programs and adapting to an online format, LaunchX not only thrived but also experienced an increase in applications and witnessed impressive student startups.

Building and maintaining strong relationships with clients and customers is a vital aspect of LaunchX’s success. The LaunchX community plays a central role in connecting students and alumni, allowing collaboration and the sharing of valuable connections. Recently, LaunchX introduced a new alumni platform that amplifies the potential for collaboration and fosters even deeper connections among LaunchX students across different programs and years.

Laurie Stach’s leadership journey is characterized by her dedication to empowering young entrepreneurs and nurturing their growth. With her diverse background and passion for education, Laurie has become a trailblazer in her industry, driving the success of LaunchX and inspiring countless young individuals to shape the future through entrepreneurship.