Generation West Virginia

West Virginia is the only state in the nation with a declining population. In confronting this reality, one thing is very clear: the state’s future depends on its ability to become an ideal destination for young talent.

Generation West Virginia (GWV) is the statewide organization dedicated to attracting, retaining, and advancing young talent in the Mountain State. We achieve this by:

  • Developing and sustaining an activated network of young people
  • Providing accessible programs and educational tools that empower and inspire young leaders
  • Identifying and communicating the priorities, motivations, and needs of the next generation of West Virginians
  • Serving as a voice and a source of action for young people to impact policy at the local, state, and federal levels

We are working toward a vision of West Virginia where challenges are seen as opportunities, young people are drivers in our state’s future, and the Mountain State is a destination for young talent to live, work, and thrive.


Natalie Roper
Executive Director

Natalie Roper has been the Executive Director of Generation West Virginia (GWV) since October 2014.

Natalie works with local and state partners to strengthen statewide programming and infrastructure needed to attract, retain, and advance young talent in the Mountain State.

Natalie received her undergraduate degree and Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. With an interdisciplinary background in nonprofit administration, grassroots advocacy, and social innovation, Natalie leads GWV’s efforts to serve as a voice and a source of action for young West Virginians. Natalie is a 2016 WV Living “Wonder Woman,” 2015 WV Woman Rising Star and a proud alumna of the 2015 Leadership WV Class.

A West Virginian by choice, Natalie is motivated each day to help make the state a place where more of the next generation can choose to stay.

Bill Kuhn
Program Director

Bill Kuhn has been the Program Director of Generation West Virginia (GWV) since May 2017.

Bill oversees programs such as the Impact West Virginia Fellowship and local Generation Chapters that are designed to create jobs and foster improved quality of place for young people across West Virginia.

Bill is originally from Ona, West Virginia and received an undergraduate degree in communications from Marshall University and earned a commission in the U.S. Army. As an infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division, Bill deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2010. After his military career, Bill received a graduate degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from Arcadia University in Philadelphia in 2014. His focus on non-profit management and stability operations led him to become a Presidential Management Fellow with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to prepare communities for natural and man-made disasters.

Concurrently to his position at GWV, Bill is completing a masters at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management where he is focusing on issue-based advocacy in West Virginia.

Bill’s passion identifying solutions to the challenges facing young people in West Virginia serves as the nexus for his personal and professional goals.

Board Members

Kate Reed
Board Chair

Alumni Coordinator at Leadership West Virginia

Megan Tarbett
Vice Chair

Director, Putnam County Library

Gretchen Ross

Evening Anchor and Reporter at WBOY-TV

Emily Chittenden-Laird

Executive Director at West Virginia Child Advocacy Network

Ashley Alford
Past Chair

President at Putnam County Chamber of Commerce

Mike Chirico
Board Member

Deputy Chief of Staff, Congressman Evan Jenkins

Jake Dougherty
Board Member

Executive Director at Wheeling Heritage

Lillian Graning
Board Member

Chief Communications Officer, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority

Jennifer Hicks
Board Member

Attorney, Babst Calland

Andy Schlimmer
Board Member

Attorney, Bowles Rice

Allison Skibo
Board Member

Marketing and Community Relations Specialist, City of Wheeling

Rod Snyder
Board Member

President of Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture

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