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:
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 has been the Executive Director of Generation West Virginia (GWV) since October 2014, leading the organization’s efforts to attract, retain, and advance young talent in the Mountain State.
Under her leadership, Generation West Virginia’s work has been highlighted in Fast Company, US News and World Reports, and Southern Living. Natalie received her undergraduate degree and Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Natalie is a 2019 West Virginia Executive Magazine “Young Gun,” 2017 Southern Living “Southerner of the Year,” 2016 WV Living “Wonder Woman,” 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.
Kinsey Walker has been the Fellowship Director since July 2018. Kinsey leads the Impact Fellowship, which builds strong talent pipelines for in-state employers and creates quality jobs for the next generation of West Virginians.
A South Charleston native, Kinsey is a graduate of the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH and a Masters of Public Policy graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.
Fellowships have played a key role in Kinsey’s career, ranging in focus area from education to public policy. She has a passion for working on complex problems and holistically supporting her students and colleagues through their personal and professional journeys. She brings that approach and experience to her work each day running the Impact Fellowship.
Kinsey also serves as an adjunct professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Charleston.
Kayla Wright has been the Network Engagement Director since March 2019, where she leads our statewide Generations network, connecting young people to their communities and to one another.
A West Virginia native, Kayla graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2016 with her bachelor’s in International Business and her MBA with a Non-Profit Management concentration.
Relationship and Network Development have played a key role in Kayla’s career, ranging in focus from retail to nonprofit management. She brings her leadership development mindset to the work, encouraging each local Generation to bring their own ideas to improve quality of place in their community.
Kayla is a 2018 West Virginia Wesleyan College “Young Alumni Achievement Awardee,” a 2016 West Virginia Wesleyan College, “Outstanding Senior,” and a 2014 American Lung Association, Breath of Life – “Young Woman of Distinction.”
Olivia Morris has been the Regional Manager for Region 1 of Generation West Virginia since July 2016, supporting and empowering local Generations in southern West Virginia in their community development efforts.
As a West Virginia native, Olivia developed a passion for connecting young talent throughout the state with each other and with stakeholders to help eliminate employment and quality of place obstacles.
She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education K-6 from Marshall University in Huntington, WV and taught in Kanawha County for five years. During her career, Olivia has developed her skills in strategic planning, data analysis, and problem solving.
As the previous Generation New River Gorge’s president, Olivia has experience organizing meetings, social media promotion, managing and organizing networking events, highlighting volunteer opportunities and community programs, as well as facilitating short and long term goal setting.
Brittany Hicks has been the Regional Manager for Region 2 of Generation West Virginia since July 2019, supporting local Generations in central West Virginia.
Growing up in Hampshire County inspired in Brittany a powerful sense of place, and a deep connection to the mountains and people of West Virginia. From a young age, she has been determined to make her life’s work in the Mountain State. She believes in community, creativity, and collaboration.
Brittany earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Appalachian Studies from Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, WV, and a Master’s Degree in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Her previous work includes environmental and arts education programming, event coordination and promotion, and nonprofit management.
Brittany also pursues her artistic interests, including naturally dyed fiber art, under the name Sassafras Workshop.
Casey Gilbert has been the Regional Manager for Region 3 of Generation West Virginia since July 2019, supporting local Generations in northern WV, and the Eastern Panhandle.
Casey grew up in Mason County, WV, and graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2018 with her bachelor’s degree in Business Management and her MBA with a Non-Profit Management concentration.
Working with volunteers, such as those comprising the local generations, has played a key role in Casey’s career. While at Wesleyan, she was heavily involved in the college’s Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development, where she held leadership roles in several programs as a work-study student. Post-graduation, Casey was hired as the Coordinator for two newly established Volunteer Centers. In this position, Casey helped connect volunteers with nonprofit and community organizations, promoted volunteer work, and acted as a volunteer herself.
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