Kathryn C. Kaufman has built a career serving both the public and private sectors, with a focus on pursuing how governments can support private industry to spur economic growth and stability. She served as Managing Director at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Kathryn is responsible for founding and leading 2X, the agency’s multi-billion dollar Women’s Initiative. Before joining OPIC, she was a founding partner at New Magellan Ventures (NMV), a venture capital and project development firm in Washington, DC, where she oversaw the development of the company’s largest portfolio project, Texas Central Railway.
Prior to joining NMV, Kathryn was a defense policy maker in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, serving as a country director for China and Taiwan on the Asia Pacific desk in the Secretary’s policy office. She also served in the United States Embassy in Beijing, both in the Foreign Commercial Service Office and also in the Ambassador’s office as control officer for the Presidential Delegation to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
With an educational background in national security policy, Kathryn has worked on Capitol Hill and in the White House in the office of Political Affairs. She is a board member for Exponent, College Bound and the American Institute for Foreign Study.
Learn more about Kathryn’s here:
If you are an entrepreneur, what motivated you to start your own business?
I am a serial social entrepreneur. As a young mother, I had a real awakening walking out from seeing “Schindler’s List” – If I wanted my children to be raised in a better world best I get involved. Every decision I have made since then has been based on this thought.
What does success mean to you?
Success is a personal journey. For me, it means to keep understanding and growing myself in order to live a life of meaning making a positive impact on both my inner and outer world.
What is your mantra or favorite saying? (If it's a known quote, please let us know who said it first!)
Trust; Faith; Love; Commitment; Courage; Strive – I am making it happen !!!
What failure taught you the most about life or business? What was the lesson?
I was running start-up with a close friend. She was controlling to say the least and I did not have the skill to navigate the relationship. I felt totally disempowered and had my hands tied to do what needed to be done. It ended with both the business closing and our friendship falling apart. I learned to trust myself to do what is needed and not to go into business with a friend.
What's your favorite book - fiction or non-fiction! - in the past year?
The Untethered Soul – by Michael Singer; Inner Engineering by Sadhguru
If you could teach the world one five-minute lesson, what would it be?
BE KIND, BE HUMBLE, BE COMMITTED, BE INVOLVED!!! We are all dealing with challenges in life and the majority of time we do not know what others are facing. We are all in progress …
Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when you were first starting out?
I would have taken the time to study more instead of learning through self-experience
What does women's empowerment look like to you in action?
Women empowerment is for a woman to understand who she is within. To trust her intuition which is such a gift that we possess. To go out into the world and create what you want to without making and blaming circumstance or those around you. Life can be tough. It’s about rising above or drowning below.
What would you tell 19-year-old YOU?
You’ve Got This !!!
What will 86-year-old you want you to know TODAY?
Focus on what makes you happy, joyful and fulfilled. Let the small stuff go – its just not worth the energy!