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The Forecast is Summersalt’s global content hub for all things travel, packing, style, and discovery, packed with informative and inspirational pieces for (and featuring!) women who are going places.

This Founder Is Helping College Grads Thrive in the Real World

Annie Gabillet

As a kid in Washington, DC Genevieve Ryan wanted to be President when she grew up. Judging by what she’s accomplished since, we think the Princeton grad (who also has an MBA and JD from Georgetown) has what it takes. But today she has something else on her mind: Genevieve is the Founder and CEO of Real World Playbook, a one-stop-shop for adulthood.

The Real World Playbook bills itself as the easy way for 20-somethings to get their life together, without calling mom. They offer resources for real-world responsibilities like financial planning, health insurance, taxes, and salary negotiations. And they also have a comprehensive online course for graduating college seniors. Thanks to Genevieve, young people can get closer to living out their dreams — just like she is. Read on to learn more from Genevieve’s playbook.

What inspired you to launch Real World Playbook?

I experienced the problem we are solving first-hand when I graduated from school and started working. Young adults are not prepared for life in the “real world,” and it’s a serious societal issue. Without the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions, it’s easy to get in trouble with your finances, health, and even legal issues. Our goal is to disrupt this life moment and make it seamless and fun for young people to start out in life.

Image Courtesy of Real World Playbook

What are you most proud of?

We’re actually making a difference in people’s lives. We’ve heard from people who took our “Real World Ready” educational program that because of what they have learned, they have made smarter financial decisions, aren’t intimidated by things like taxes and choosing a health insurance plan, and feel more confident and generally excited about being in their early 20s. That’s what it’s all about!

What was the best and the worst business decision you ever made?

Best decision: focusing on the problem we are solving, and being flexible with the solution and means to achieve it. When you’re focused on the problem, failure doesn’t hurt quite as much because the problem you’re solving is still there propelling you forward. This relentless, mission-driven focus has given us the ability to bounce back quickly and fail faster. We’ve iterated more times than I can count, and it’s helped us work towards a really powerful value proposition and product for our user base.

Worst decision: spending money to build a full version of our product without really testing the concept with users first. We learned quickly that this is not the right move as you need user feedback to build an amazing product. The good news is that there are lots of ways to test out a product vision with users before actually starting to write code. We now focus on user testing before building anything!

Let’s talk about “going places.” What’s on the horizon for you?

We want to serve young adults across the country. We’re lucky to work with 18 innovative colleges to teach thousands of students about the basics of personal finance, health care, taxes, and other real world topics. We’re committed to equipping everyone starting out in life with this important knowledge.

Image Courtesy of Genevieve Ryan

Tell us about the last adventure you took:

I went to South America for the first time last summer. It was an absolutely amazing experience! We visited Rio de Janeiro and explored the gorgeous Pao de Acucar at sunset, saw dozens of rainbows at Iguazu Falls, danced the tango in Buenos Aires, learned about the Incas in the Sacred Valley of Peru, and spent a week navigating the Amazon River. I can’t wait to go back!

What is a destination that you’re always telling people, “You have to go there!”

Iceland. After we got engaged, my fiancé and I spent a week exploring the country. It is one of the most unique places I have ever been. Nature rules everything there. From the Northern Lights to the Blue Lagoon, visiting the country feels like another planet!

What do you never travel without?

Sneakers. I love to go for a run in new places and get a sense of where I am!

Got any great advice for solo travelers?

Send postcards! When you have the chance to explore somewhere new, it’s great to share the experience with someone at home.

What’s your favorite Summersalt travel piece?

The Voyager

Fill in the blank. I fell in love with traveling when:

I realized how big this world is, and how little of it I had explored.

Got any go-to podcasts, albums, or books for passing time on a plane?

How I Built This and Historical Figures are two of my favorites. I’m always inspired by their success stories and the journey to get there.

Share your most valuable travel hack:

Pack light and buy accessories as mementos from where you visit. I once spent 20 days in Australia with only a carry-on. I find that it’s not that hard to do laundry mid-trip. It will make you feel liberated carrying less stuff. Plus, if you purchase any accessories there, you’ll have something to remember the trip by.