Meet HackCville’s Fearless Leaders

The Managing Director and Programs Director share their thoughts on each other.

HackCville is a constantly changing organization. It swells in size and scope every year. This semester alone, the leadership team is overseeing eleven different educational programs, two startup trips (to Richmond and San Francisco), a trip to visit media companies in New York City, over 1500 old and new members, and two houses.

Kate McGinn, the Programs Director, and Jen Laredo, the Managing Director, handle everything from the future of HackCville’s programs to the consistently broken radiators of #9. Together, they work with the leadership team to keep HackCville a functioning organization. (They also manage to, you know, go to class and have personal lives).

At this point, Kate and Jen have spent enough time together to know each other better than they know themselves, so we thought we’d step back and let them tell each others’ stories.


The Pioneer: What quality in the other do you most admire?

Jen Laredo: Kate is a great listener and conversationalist, and I mean great. She knows how to make those around her feel comfortable and welcomed, which is something that I admire and always try to do myself.

Jen Laredo, Managing Director

Kate McGinn: Jen’s greatest strength is her ability to make everyone in the room feel comfortable. When she walks into a meeting or event, people immediately feel at ease. She relates to others well, makes others feel like they are being heard, and is a joy to be around.

Kate McGinn, Programs Director

How do you complement one another?

JL: We’re always on the same wavelength, but sometimes Kate is a step ahead of me. She has so many great ideas, and I help articulate those ideas and turn them into actions.

KM: I would say that Jen is the organizational one among us. She gets a lot of the necessary tasks done quickly and during directors meetings, she is the one to keep us on task when we veer off-topic and start talking about Grit coffee, MoviePass, or the meaning of life. Through that, she keeps the organization running smoothly.

What’s your favorite part about working with the other?

JL: I love that Kate always has something new and insightful to say. She’s such an incredibly well-rounded and knowledgeable person who knows what she’s talking about. I always love being able to learn from the people I work with, and there’s no doubt that I’m always learning from Kate.

KM: Jen responds to Slack like her life depended on it. You ask her a question and seconds later she responds. I don’t know how she does it — I don’t think she sleeps or goes to class.

Who’s the better Director?

JL: Obviously Kate <3

KM: Jen, hands-down. She’s 20 times cooler than me.

Why do you think that the other is a great example for other women and girls?

JL: Kate is an exemplary mentor, friend, coworker, go-getter, and all-around amazing person. She is an incredible person whose positivity rubs off on those who she surrounds herself with. She is always willing to learn, something that I feel is important for other women and girls to understand and know how to do. Kate never says no to new opportunities and often seeks them out herself, which I personally find to be incredibly inspirational. #KateIsGreat

KM: Jen is a role model to any person who is in a leadership role. She is confident in her abilities, humble in her accomplishments, and knows how to empower her team members to exceed what they previously thought was possible.

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About The Pioneer + HackCville

The Pioneer is the publication of HackCville. All of our producers are either current students or graduates of HackCville’s media education programs.

Our producers develop skills in modern media production through publishing stories about creative, civic, and entrepreneurial innovators in the University of Virginia and greater Charlottesville community. Learn more →

HackCville develops the skills, networks, and entrepreneurial ability of talented U.Va. students. We accelerate our students’ ideas, projects, and startups through our experiential programs and tight-knit community. More about us →

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