Genevieve Griffin, Founder of Small Steps Go Places

My formal life began when I became a first generation college student in 1978. (GO BLUE).

From then it has been an unexpected adventure.  I headed down a pathway that had no familiar road map, and led me beyond my town, state, and country toward the land of discomfort. Although I gained memorable experiences, I left feeling as though I did not take advantage of all the opportunities that were available for me. As a first generation student, I simply didn't understand I could.

Around 2012, with our first child getting ready to head to college, I wanted so much to make sure I shared all of the pertinent and valuable advice I knew I had amassed!  Different from my experience of going into college headfirst, I wanted them to have a better structure and idea of what was to come.  It was a poignant and memorable moment.

For me, navigating my new transition was like keeping my head above water, but never learning how to swim. But instead of looking at my experiences in college as failures, I grew to appreciate my experiences as having created a blueprint that I could now provide to my children, and others like them.


According to Peter Senge, there are four challenges in initiating changes:

  • There must be a compelling case for change
  • There must be time to change
  • There must be help during the change process
  • As the perceived barriers to change are removed, it is important that some new problem, not before considered important or perhaps not even recognized, doesn't become a critical barrier

I made an early life choice for which I had no familiar models when I began college. As I moved through that situation and many others, I mistakenly thought plowing ahead would give me satisfying results. My critical barrier was confusing needing strategic help with "looking dumb".  

I believe I can help people do what they do, more effectively. Everyone transitions into something.  For instance, people entering the workforce after a break, people moving from the military to non-military workforce, or students adjusting from the cultural backgrounds of their hometown or country, to their new location of study and life. I hope to help define and break the transition into manageable steps -- to then build an engaging blueprint that enables people to reap more from the situation when they experience it..



1986, Masters, Urban Planning & Game Design University of Michigan

1982, BA Family Psychology   University of Michigan

1980s highlights:  University of Michigan, international trip through Poland, Russian, East and West Germany, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, and Israel.  Relocated to the northeast.  Residence Life work in the State University of NY system.

1990s highlights: Relocated to Washington, DC area, worked in Office of HUD, World Bank, and learned about food monetization.   Refocused on HIV prevention.  Relocated to NYC and developed CDC-funded program for adolescents in NYC. Married and had three beautiful children with the LOVE of my life.

2000s highlights:  Home-schooled our three beautiful children and lived a full life.

2010s highlights (so far):  Finished home-schooling, parenting high school students who became college students. Started a blog, trademarked a phrase, had an idea that has grown into Small Steps Go Places Inc, OPTION PLAY, and more to come.


I was a first generation college student at the University of Michigan.  I have come full circle by designing the tool that would have been a key that helped me understand the new situations I was going to encounter.