Katie Friend Lelarge
Client Development Leader

I graduated from Tufts University with Environmental Engineering (and French) degree in the US and France, in hopes to save the world from itself. Back then, I was designing co-gen fuel cell power plants, passive solar installations for US college campuses, and trying to electrify the university vehicle fleet.

I also spent time as an engineer working in the water industry for Schlumberger’s measurement division in France, and then continued my studies, with an MBA at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I worked at Goldman Sachs and UBS in Private Banking, where I built investment portfolios to preserve and grow multi-generational wealth.

In the same vein, when I was working in McKinsey’s innovation practice, I helped clients assess their innovation portfolios to generate new growth, in a systematic fashion. I ran McKinsey’s Innovation Quotient for clients across all major industries.

I also co-authored McKinsey’s Top Women Innovator article series and was the executive producer of the Committed Innovator podcast series. I contributed and co-authored articles on McKinsey.com and in the Journal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering.

I left McKinsey on my 10-year anniversary, to build and grow new businesses with Lynxeye. In my spare time I lead a small foundation which awards university grants for STEM students from underserved communities, coach youth sports and enjoy sprint triathlons.

–I graduated from Tufts University with an Environmental Engineering, in hopes to save the world from itself. Katie Friend Lelarge

What’s the biggest business impact you’ve helped create?

I helped catalyze and ignite an innovation ecosystem with one of the world’s top universities and it’s local community, by helping them focus on their areas of strength (what unfair advantage did they have already), while building in a diverse stakeholder community (academics, entrepreneurs, VCs).

It became more than a physical space of real estate: wet labs and test kitchens, it has become an important thread of growth in an area needing rejuvenation, with a massively talented pool of people in the surrounding area.

–It’s truly inspiring to see how these crew members bring JOY to their coffee shop patrons and take pride in their work. The core product is JOY! Katie Friend Lelarge

What is your favorite purposeful company?

There are many! (Hint, if you’re not a purpose-driven company, we’ll help you catch up.) Patagonia is one, given the recent transfer of $3B of ownership rights to a nonprofit organization to benefit the environment. But there are other brands that have been way ahead of them.

Newman’s Own, was founded in 1982 by actor Paul Newman, with the sole mission to help children in need. He and his team built a small but well known brand, sell mainstream packaged goods (lemonade, tomato sauce, beef jerky), and donate 100% of the profits to children’s health charities, including underserved populations like indigenous children.

My most recent favorite is Café Joyeux. It is a set of cafes, in-house catering services, and actual products (coffee, tea, branded sneakers, etc.), which started in France, employing over 300 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Their mission is to give these professionals an opportunity to work in the food service industry and be a part of society which often feels inaccessible to them. Canal+ is making a movie about it, it’s truly inspiring to see how these crew members bring JOY to their coffee shop patrons and take pride in their work. The core product is JOY!