Kathryn Finney is the managing partner of Genius Guild, a $20 million dollar venture fund and studio that invests in amazing Black founders. Selected as one of the most influential women in tech by Inc Magazine, her groundbreaking work has laid the foundation for generations of Black entrepreneurs and investors.
She recently took some time to discuss her love of New Haven pizza, furnishing a New Haven apartment on a budget, and how the Yale community has impacted her life.
I chose Yale because of the faculty, who are dedicated not just to the teaching the principles of public health, but of leadership as well. Also, the school was smaller than my other choices (Harvard and Johns Hopkins), and when I visited campus, I felt a real sense of community.
What is the most enduring memory of your time at Yale?
I have so many awesome memories from my intro to biostats class with Dr. Elizabeth Claus to the many years of mentorship I received from Dr. Gregory Tignor. I also remember spending many nights at GYPSY with my School of Medicine classmates.
If you could relive your time at Yale, what would you do differently?
I wouldn't change a thing – except eat more pizza!
What would you do exactly the same?
I would definitely still have my apartment on York Street and continue to focus on the lifelong friendships I developed while there.
What is your favorite place in New Haven, past or present?
This might sound a bit weird, but my favorite place was the Salvation Army on George Street. As a very budget conscious grad student, the store helped me to furnish my first apartment on a very small budget.
What is your favorite spot on campus?
Beinecke Library of course! As a bibliophile, I love how you walk into the library and are instantly hit with the smell of books – paper, ink, and dust. It's my favorite smell.
What's your favorite pizza place in New Haven?
Who is another Yalie who inspires you? Why?
So many Yalies inspire me ... from Angela Basset, who brings a sense of humanity and dignity to every role she portrays, to Hillary Clinton, who continues to show grace and intelligence in the face of very difficult circumstances.
What have you gained from your alumni engagement with Yale?
It's been great to interact with current students during my annual lecture at Professor Teresa Chahine's Social Entrepreneurship course. I've also really enjoyed supporting the bridge between Yale and the greater New Haven community that organizations like Collab are building.