5 Under 5: Kora-Lynah Abelard ’15
Our Five Under Five column features a Q&A with a Whitman School alumna/alumnus who graduated within the last five years. For this issue, meet Kora-Lynah Abelard ’15, a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who came to Syracuse from Germantown, Maryland, and dual majored in finance at the Whitman School and public relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Abelard currently resides in San Francisco, where she works as an associate at Silicon Foundry, a corporate venture advisory firm for the world’s top organizations. In this role, she helps clients, such as the Estée Lauder Companies, connect with the Silicon Valley ecosystem to unlock high-impact strategic partnerships and investment opportunities. After graduating from Syracuse University, Abelard launched her career with GE’s prestigious two-year Financial Management Program, which ultimately landed her at GE Ventures in Silicon Valley. During her time at Syracuse University, Abelard was heavily involved with Enactus, a student-led international nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the world sustainably through entrepreneurial action.
1) WHAT INFLUENCES OR EXPERIENCES SPURRED YOUR INTEREST IN BUSINESS?
For me, the core principle of business is supply and demand. The excitement of solving a puzzle of endless variables to close the gap between supply and demand—whether it’s conceiving a new product or service, reimagining a customer experience, or whatever—is what drove my decision to pursue a bachelor of science degree at Whitman in the first place. Moreover, it was my Syracuse experience at Enactus that cemented my early passion for entrepreneurship. The thought of helping shape a startup from the ground up was wildly awakening. I’m pleased to know that I wasn’t wrong.
2) HOW DO YOU FEEL WHITMAN PREPARED YOU FOR CAREER SUCCESS?
Whitman’s well-rounded business curriculum serves me well today. At GE Ventures, I relied heavily on my collegiate learnings in financial modeling and accounting and at Silicon Foundry, research and analysis. These foundational skills have spring-loaded my ability to make sense of information in a way that influences real-world business decisions. I’ve also been able to feel completely comfortable forging partnerships with business executives, founders and other leaders thanks to ample industry networking opportunities and exposure at Whitman.
3) WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE PROFESSIONALLY IN ANOTHER FIVE YEARS?
In five years, I hope to serve in a leadership role on an international assignment at a socially conscious organization. Every year, I plan to maximize my potential by embracing new and unfamiliar situations that take me one step closer to my five-year vision. I believe this is the best catalyst for growth and fun.
4) DO YIU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS?
Understand the people game. Intellect without emotional intelligence is like a supercar that can’t navigate traffic. Also, discover, hone and find opportunities to leverage your strengths, not just your passions. Finally, be present and enjoy the journey no matter how disjointed things might feel at times.
5) WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS AND KEEP BALANCE IN YOUR LIFE?
I co-founded a small apothecary business with my mom in 2018 called happyRose. While my mother is responsible for the chemistry behind our skin care and aromatherapy products, I help manage our supply chain and marketing efforts, from sourcing to partnerships, to pricing. This venture not only allows me to build something outside of my direct career, it gives me yet another platform from which I can leverage lessons from Whitman’s core business education. Above all, this venture keeps my mom and I close, which keeps me centered and balanced.