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Kathryn Finney

Founder & Managing Director of digitalundivided (DID)
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Biography

Over the past ten years, Kathryn Finney has made her mark as a tech entrepreneur, social media visionary, investor, writer, and television correspondent.

Kathryn is the founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided (DID), a social enterprise that fosters economic growth in communities by finding, training, and supporting women of color entrepreneurs. She is also a General Partner in the Harriet Fund, the first pre seed venture fund focused on investing the untapped potential of high potential Black and Latina women-led startups. Prior to this, she was an early social media pioneer, founding one of the first lifestyle blogs, the highly influential The Budget Fashionista, which she sold in 2014 to a prominent media company, making her one of the first Black women to sell a tech company.

Since founding DID in 2012, she has led the organization in numerous initiatives that have impacted 2,000 people and helped raise $15MM in investments. Her pioneering research, “#ProjectDiane”, was widely discussed and covered (Forbes, CNN, Fast Company, etc.) for quantifying the often overlooked state of Black women in the tech entrepreneurship space and is impacting policy from state houses to the White House.

As one of the most respected voices in national conversations on innovation and tech, Kathryn is sought for her insightful and incisive perspectives on building online communities, bringing innovation to emerging communities, and the intersectionality of race and gender in the tech space. She’s been featured in over 1000 press articles and has received numerous awards including, Marie Claire’s 10 Women to Watch in 2016, Entrepreneurs Magazine’s “Woman to Watch in 2016,”, New York Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award, SXSW Black Innovator Award, The Grio 100, Ebony Power 100, Black Enterprise “40 under 40” list, and inducted into Spelman College’s “Game Changers Academy.”

In 2013, she received a Champion of Change award from the White House. February 26th is ‘Kathryn Finney Appreciation Day” in the borough of Manhattan.

Owing to her unique background as a Yale educated epidemiologist, Kathryn distinguishes herself as a talented storyteller that can elevate even the most mundane facts and figures into intelligent, engaging, and powerful presentations. She effortlessly weaves her trademark Midwestern wit, refreshing candor, and compelling authenticity into every talk, whether tackling the pivotal role of women as business leaders in today’s innovation economy or the principles of Lean Startup for small businesses. Kathryn has frequently keynoted at conferences such as the Forbes Women’s Summit, Morgan Stanley, Google, South by Southwest (SXSW), New York Women in Communications, Columbia School of Business, and other leading organizations.

At once entertaining and on-point, Kathryn’s empowering, solutions-oriented approach to presentations will leave the audience energized and inspired to take clear, concrete actions in their own companies and communities. In doing so, she invites everyone to embody her favorite words from Marianne Williamson, “When you let your light shine, you give others permission to shine as well”.

Topics

A Short Guide to Thinking Big

Go BIG or go home: this is the mantra of Kathryn Finney. For this White House honoree, there is no fault for thinking big. But what does it mean to think big? How does one start becoming a big thinker? Why is this crucial to forging one’s path to success? What barriers to thinking big should one be wary against? Kathryn sets out to challenge the audience to not allow the fear of failure stop them from going BIG.

LeadHERship: The Power of Women As Leaders

Decades after the Mad Men era, women leaders remain few and far between in numerous industries. Many companies still tend to associate leadership positions to men, sticking to society’s entrenched gender roles. In this rousing presentation, White House awardee Kathryn Finney examines the true strength and power of female leadership, the valuable role of women leaders in nation-building and economic progress, as well as the missed opportunities for not capitalizing on this crucial talent pool.

How to Be an Innovator Among Innovators

Around 137,000 new startups are created around the world every day, thus your idea has probably been pitched by somebody else. Then how does one still thrive as an innovator in a system where everyone else claim to be innovators themselves? There is no person better to ask than seasoned entrepreneur and social media pioneer Kathryn Finney. Since her heydays as one of the first women bloggers, Kathryn has gone on to blaze numerous trails in the tech industry. She started the first lifestyle blog, was the first lifestyle blogger to get a major book deal, and created the first accelerator to find, develop, and fund Black and Latina women founders exclusively. Let Kathryn share valuable insights and takeaways drawn from her decade-long journey as an innovator in the fast-paced tech industry.

The Unicorns Shall Inherit the Earth: How To Lead While Being Different

Once upon a time, conformity and assimilation were the only way to succeed in many top industries. But with the birth of the innovation economy, more and more companies are starting to recognize the importance of “unicorns”-- people who stand out from the cookie-cutter crowd for how they look, think, and act-- at the reins. Thanks to these unicorns, we are able to enjoy fresh, enterprising solutions to problems we encounter. In this presentation, Kathryn invites the audience to embrace the essence of their inner unicorn and bask in their ingenuity, inspiring them to become inventive, daring leaders of their respective fields.

#BlackGirlMagic

Everyone from Amandla Stenberg to Willow Smith has been staunch supporters of this awesome movement to celebrate black womanhood. In this inspiring talk, Kathryn Finney (a #BlackGirlMagic icon herself who is an Essence Magazine ‘Woman of Style”) narrates her own moments when she saw herself as most ‘magical’, and shares how other Black girls and women can unveil their own #BlackGirlMagic moments in their lives.

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