Grow a Generation – An Interview with Dr. Ellen Cavanaugh

Recently, I had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Dr. Ellen Cavanaugh about her new company, Grow a Generation. The following is my interview with her.

GPS: Ellen, what was your inspiration for starting Grow a Generation?

Dr. Cavanaugh: My inspiration for Grow a Generation ( stems from three sources: 1) thirty years of experience that shouts children and teens (except for the rare exceptions) only thrive with involved parents, 2) parents are getting a bad rap which makes it harder for them to get involved, and 3) parents need support navigating the massive changes that are happening in culture, education and career preparation.

GPS: What does your company offer to parents?

Dr. Cavanaugh: Grow a Generation gives tools to parents to help their kids develop 21st century skills. We offer a free weekly newsletter, skill workbooks and project workbooks that are geared for you to help your child develop the 21st century skills of innovation, critical thinking, collaboration, emotional intelligence, resilience, leadership, and vision. We also offer an opportunity for a spring Voluntour, where families travel to the Dominican Republic. We stay at a resort and have 3 days of gorgeous beaches and incredible food, and 3 days of volunteering and immersion into the lives of those building a path out of poverty through education, green engineering, and innovation. Teens and adults leave the experience inspired and motivated to bring what they learned back to their own communities. Finally, I am available to speak (in person or through Skype) to parent, grandparent, and family groups to inspire and give you tools to help the young people in your lives develop the skills they need in the 21st century.

GPS: I know there is a book to be published soon in conjunction with the launch of your company. Can you tell us about it?

Dr. Cavanaugh: The book, Grow a Generation: Parenting in the 21st Century, focuses on the seven skills needed for our children to thrive in the after-Google world of global markets and shifting sands of change. Each chapter is filled with background on why the skills are needed and lots of practical ideas on how to help your children and teens develop them. It is currently scheduled for a February 2012 release date.

GPS: Who would you consider as your main audience for Grow a Generation?

Dr. Cavanaugh: The main audience is parents and grandparents seeking to provide phenomenal experiences of growth and development for the young people in their lives.

GPS: Dr. Cavanaugh, could you share with my readers your background as a parent as well as your professional and educational background?

Dr. Cavanaugh: My background is as diverse as many professional women today who have spent their lives dividing their time between parenting, school, and work. I have two kids, my daughter 24 and graduated with her Masters in Psychology. She works with adults who suffer from trauma and mental illness. My son is 13 and mathematically gifted, thriving in a cyber school environment. My background includes mathematics and education, having taught in a technical school, 25 years of professional youth ministry, publishing, and teaching in area universities. My doctorate is in systematic theology, examining systems of thought as they evolved in history. My passion is working with youth and young adults, examining how character and integrity are formed during these crucial years, and having a blast working beside them as a FIRST robotics coach.

GPS: In closing, could you give some advice to parents of gifted children?

Dr. Cavanuagh: The best advice, hmmm… of course, subscribe to the Grow a Generation newsletter and buy the book! Something you can do today is to keep the lines of communication open, ask the favorite young people in your life meaningful questions and listen authentically to their replies. Something to build for the future is a 20% project. Google, among other companies, has what is called 20% time. Time in the employee’s life is set aside to work on a project of their choice, something they believe will benefit the company, the world, and contribute to the mission of Google. What is the 20% project your child wants to build? Is their time in their lives to work on it? Are you modeling for them innovation, critical thinking, collaboration, emotional intelligence, resilience, leadership and vision with your own 20% project?

GPS: Ellen, thanks for chatting with me today. I wish you much success in your new endeavor!

Dr. Cavanaugh: Thanks Lisa for taking the time to listen and share with all your readers. And thank you for all you are doing to empower the gifted students of today build a world overflowing with beauty, truth, belonging, integrity, justice, empowerment and hope.

GPS: Dr. Ellen Cavanaugh can be reached at:

Grow a Generation: Cultivating Skills for the 21st Century
200 Hoenig Road
Sewickley PA 15143