Thiel recognizing Kara Wasser as Haller Enterprise Institute Entrepreneur of the Year
Kara Wasser, founder and CEO of Hermitage-based OhanaLink Technologies, will be recognized as Thiel College’s 2023 Haller Enterprise Institute Entrepreneur of the Year.
Wasser will be honored at the Entrepreneur of the Year awards dinner and ceremony in the college’s Lutheran Heritage Room in the Howard Miller Student Center at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14.
Wasser’s professional experience includes more than a decade in the financial industry as a leader and producer, nearly 10 years in real estate lending as a mortgage loan officer and six years in financial services management with a regional bank.
After experiencing the challenges and frustrations of the lack of clear communication in a healthcare setting, she set out to create a solution. Wasser founded Dub Diversified LLC, where she created the concept and design for OhanaLink Baby, a smartphone app to help expectant mothers and their support person bridge communication gaps between patients and their families. Wasser built the business from an idea through a prototype to a native mobile app available to the market. She left her full-time corporate role to pursuing her vision.
More recently, the tech company collaborated with a group of seven domestic violence agencies in Western Pennsylvania to custom design a safe, secure mobile delivery system for direct service agencies to enhance their ability to provide direct services to victims of domestic violence. OhanaLink Purple launched in July 2022 and is being adopted by domestic violence coalitions across the country.
Wasser completed a master’s degree in leadership and professional development from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. She lives in Hermitage, with her husband and two children.
“I am truly honored and grateful to have been chosen as this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year,” Wasser said. “To be recognized beside the past honorees, who are all such amazing leaders, is a testament to the incredible support I have received from my family, my mentors, our investors, and my exceptional team-all who have been beside me throughout this journey.”
The Haller Enterprise Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020. It is named for Grace Mary and Henry E. Haller honorary ‘97, major benefactors to the college with a keen interest in entrepreneurship. Each year, the institute honors an influential member of the business community who epitomizes the spirit of the institute and also honors an undergraduate student or students who best implements a new business venture or who otherwise exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship.
David M. Miller ‘61 honorary ‘20 served as a member of the initial advisory board of the Thiel Enterprise Institute upon its founding in 1983, subsequently becoming its director in 1984. The success the program achieved due to Miller’s vision and leadership led to a $1 million gift from the Hallers and a renaming of the institute as the Haller Enterprise Institute in 1996. Since then, the Haller Enterprise Institute has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to entrepreneurial-minded students while also providing them access to the institute’s advisory board, composed of successful entrepreneurs and business professionals.
Since its founding, Miller taught and mentored hundreds of student entrepreneurs in his very popular and successful Introduction to Entrepreneurship course. The Institute maintains a collection of more than 400 business plans prepared by students under Miller’s guidance. Miller retired from Thiel College in 2020 after teaching for 57 years. He passed away in 2022.