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Caven Boosts Women's Futures With Mentorship, Entrepreneurship

Clifton Builders Management Major Builds Community Through Connection
Caven Boosts Women's Futures With Mentorship, Entrepreneurship
Clifton Builder Kelsie Caven encourages aspiring entrepreneurs through the student organization called Women+ in Entrepreneurship and mentors first-year business students as a student strengths coach for the Clifton Strengths Institute.

Celebrating Women's History Month, Nebraska Today featured Huskers like Keslie Caven, who are making an impact on campus. A Savage, Minnesota native, Caven is a junior Clifton Builders management major with a minor in business analytics. After co-founding the student organization Women+ in Entrepreneurship, she is helping aspiring female entrepreneurs to grow and build connections in the community.

Kelsie Caven standing in Hawks Hall.
Kelsie Caven encourages others to make a difference, whether through getting involved in a student organization or something simple like holding the door for someone else.

Tell us about co-founding Women+ in Entrepreneurship.

We created Women+ in Entrepreneurship to encourage women and other underserved communities to bring their entrepreneurial endeavors to fruition. Our current executive team — Sara Knips, Lucia Golfis and I — envision this organization as a way to connect aspiring female entrepreneurs to the Lincoln community. As president, I learned you truly can learn something from everyone you cross paths with. I have learned collaboration and nurturing contrasts will be vital to the future of business.

How has being involved in the Clifton Builders Program impacted you at Nebraska?

The Clifton Builders Program has been one of my most standout experiences as a student at the University of Nebraska. When I applied to the program as a freshman, I wasn’t sure what my path would look like. After being accepted into the program, my professors and mentors saw me in a way that empowered me and allowed me to grow. I got to do a student-led research project for Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton and his executive team, start a business in six weeks and consult for established businesses in the Lincoln community. I can’t thank Timothy Hodges, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Institute and assistant professor of practice in management, Samantha Fairclough, associate director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and associate professor of practice in management, and the rest of the Clifton Strengths Institute staff enough for the positive impact they had on my college experience.

Why were you interested in mentoring as a student strengths coach for the Clifton Strengths Institute?

After being personally impacted by the Clifton Strengths Institute, I couldn’t help but want to give others the same opportunity I had. My favorite part of coaching is building connections with my students apart from their professional lives. With well-being being such a dynamic part of life, it is critical that students receive support in every aspect.

Is there anything you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?

From a young age, I said I wanted to make an income by making a tangible impact. Additionally, I want to own a golden retriever and a boat one day!

What or who inspires you?

People who “live their truth” inspire me. It is easy to fear the acceptance of others when, in reality, it's usually the most successful people who embrace themselves just as they are.

What is your advice to other students looking to make an impact on campus?

Never underestimate your ability to create change. There are so many amazing faculty on campus to cheer you on and help you in every aspect of your endeavor. At the end of the day, impact is impact; whether that looks like creating a student-run organization or holding the door for someone, that is up to you. Either way, you are creating a better future for all of us.

To learn more about business student organizations, visit:

Published: March 28, 2023