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From Launch Pad Teen to World Traveling Analyst: The Olin Marman Story

In the bustling city of San Francisco, amidst the whirlwind of finance and global markets, there's a young man making waves with his astute analysis and unwavering confidence. His name is Olin Marman, and his journey from a teen member of The Launch Pad Teen Center to a research analyst for a mutual fund is a testament to the transformative power of community support and nurturing environments.


During his time at The Launch Pad from 2012 to 2016, Olin immersed himself in various programs and activities, including serving on the board and participating in clubs like The Launch Pad Community Garden, music shows, and the Bike Club. These experiences were more than just extracurriculars; they were shaping his understanding of leadership, community engagement, and his capabilities.


"Serving on the board was empowering as a young person," Olin recalls. "It taught me how to have meaningful conversations with a diverse cohort of fellow teens, Prescott College students, community leaders, and local businesses. It taught me that doing the work to improve the community is incredibly rewarding and important. I also had loads of fun. I think the board experience is unique in that young people are allowed to understand how leadership and service work in the real world, something that is difficult to do in an academic setting.”


But it wasn't just about formal programs; it was the sense of belonging and mentorship that truly made an impact on Olin's life. The Launch Pad provided him with a safe space where he could explore his passions, find role models among older volunteers, and build confidence in his abilities, particularly in music.


"Finally having young adults to look up to and discuss things like music or books in a real way made me feel so much more comfortable in my skin," Olin shares. "I could finally discuss things that I had always thought were weird or esoteric with really smart, thoughtful, and, most importantly, genuine people. Early volunteers at The Launch Pad were huge role models for me during my first few years of high school.


Being in such a nurturing environment eventually led me to feel comfortable playing music at The Launch Pad jam sessions and music shows. I had always dreamed of playing in indie bands or DJing my electronic songs but lacked the confidence. After a year at The Launch Pad, I became a regular performer.


The supportive environment of The Launch Pad didn't just foster personal growth; it also opened Olin's eyes to the diversity and challenges within his community, instilling in him a sense of empathy and responsibility.


"The Launch Pad made me more cognizant of the hardships faced by many youth in the Prescott community," he explains. "It taught me how to be there for my friends and peers who needed support. The Launch Pad provided me the opportunity to engage with such a unique slice of the Prescott community that I did not know existed. Beyond the important conversations that gave me a more tolerant and accepting understanding of the world, I was also able to see "under the hood" as to how community leadership works. I also become much more aware of the issues teens face day to day. I come from a stable nuclear family unit and had a very limited understanding of the hardships faced by many youth in the Prescott community. Not only did The Launch Pad make me more cognizant of these hardships, but it also taught me how to be there for my friends and peers who needed support.”


One individual who particularly inspired Olin was Courtney Osterfelt, the Executive Director and Founder of The Launch Pad. Her dedication and positive attitude left a lasting impression, showing Olin the power of community leadership and the importance of maintaining optimism in the face of challenges.


"Courtney was always bright and cheery and inspired those around her to feel the same," Olin reflects.


Today, as a research analyst navigating the complex world of finance and international relations, Olin attributes much of his success to the lessons learned at The Launch Pad. His communication skills, global awareness, and confidence stem from his formative years spent in a nurturing and empowering environment.


"In general, I am a more considerate, aware, and ultimately better person because of The Launch Pad," Olin concludes.


For those unfamiliar with The Launch Pad Teen Center, Olin offers a resounding recommendation.


"I would recommend it to anyone," he affirms. "There's a place for everybody at The Launch Pad. Whether you're seeking a safe space, opportunities for service and leadership, or simply a fun and supportive community, you'll find it there.  If you are struggling with family/home life issues and need a safe space, it is there. If you feel like you want to engage with service in a way that's not provided at your high school, it is there. If you want to play music or talk about movies with new friends, it is there. You will fit in because it is designed that way! And it's a lot of fun! 


Aside from serious things like service and safe spaces, at the end of the day, The Launch Pad is a really fun and happy place to spend time. There is a lot of laughter and play. It is the perfect "third place" for a teen. The early days were exciting because Courtney gave teens the ability to make The Launch Pad something of their creation, not something they were supposed to fit into. I think the mentality was "We are going to do this the exact way we want and will figure out the details later". 


This mentality I have tried to maintain in my own life and I believe it has helped me a lot. I think, I and my Launch Pad alum peers, are very confident in living our lives in the ways we want. We go for things! We believe in ourselves!”


As Olin continues to thrive in his career and personal endeavors, his journey stands as a shining example of the profound impact that supportive communities can have on young lives. From a Launch Pad teen to a world-traveling analyst, Olin Marman is proof that with the right guidance and encouragement, anything is possible.