Kate Chudnovsky is the general counsel for a national privately-held technology firm. She also has her hands in numerous other projects, investing and providing support for a telehealth start-up, a private healthcare organization and a helicopter airport. Chudnovsky is passionate about philanthropy, and in addition to providing major donations to a number of universities and research hospitals she is also president of the board of directors for a large non-profit.
Born in the former Soviet Union before immigrating to the United States with her parents at the age of five, Kate grew up in the greater Chicago area and later attended Northwestern University for her undegraduate degree. After earning her bachelor of arts degree in political science and Slavic literature and lanaguage she went on to earn a law degree from DePaul University.
After graduating and passing the bar exam, Kate became an associate at Thompson Coburn FabelHager, an esteemed national law firm that had recently opened up a Chicago office, where she worked in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, business banking, real estate and bankruptcy. She then went on to become general counsel at a national private technology organization, and has since been instrumental in enabling the company’s growth through her leadership of the company’s legal team.
In addition to her corporate career, Kate also holds her real estate broker’s licence and is the director of the real estate agency Domain Properties LLC. She is a board member and investor for downtown Chicago’s first full-service helicopter airport, Veriport, and is a strategic advisor for a cutting-edge telehealth technology company and a trustee for a private healthcare organization.
Notably passionate about philanthropy, Chudnovsky has contributed both her time and money to organizations and universities supporting the causes she cares about. In addition to a number of major donations, she is also director of the board for the University of Chicago Digestive Disease Center’s GI Research Foundation (GIRF). In total, her work with GIRF has seen it raise over $3 million annually.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Coffee, gym, work, repeat. In terms of productivity, I find that keeping a detailed and strict calendar helps me to remain organized and operate at maximum efficiency. Also, I always try to block off time in the afternoon for catch up and thinking. Giving yourself a consistent period when you know will be without interruption is crucial to ensuring that you are getting the things done that are your personal priority.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am a very goal-oriented person, and so when approaching any idea I try to consider the most direct path to its natural conclusion. Remaining constantly aware of what you want to achieve will help prevent you from losing sight in the process of working on a project, and result in realizing more in less time.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Creator economies. The future of content production for entertainment is no longer dominated by the large companies who have controlled media in the past. Today anybody has the ability to share their passions with an audience and be compensated for their time and effort creating content. I’m excited to see the way it will continue to evolve in the future as technology further advances.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I make decisions quickly and often. Decisiveness is one of the most important skills that can be developed in order to operate more productively and effectively. Remember that making no decision is still a decision – every moment spent in inaction is time wasted. Honing your ability to ask the right questions and remain clear in your goals will certainly take time and practice, but by making them a habit you will be able to make more informed decisions, quicker.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Do more favors for your future self.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Learning how to operate a television smart remote is not a good use of time.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Do better today than you did yesterday. Strive to always work harder, pay closer attention, and put more effort forward than you did the day before. In exercise, your fitness won’t improve if you aren’t pushing yourself to run a little further or complete one more rep, and similarly in life you can’t move forward if you are not consistently pushing yourself to do better.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
No procrastination. Similar to developing the habit of making quick decisions, learning to remain focused even when you’re tempted to get distracted is vital to growing a business to success. Every person is going to have unique challenges that they will have to work through when it comes to procrastination, but identifying them and finding solutions is well worth the time and effort.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Car manufacturers should invent intensity brake lights. That way you know how hard the driver ahead of you hit their brakes.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Apple AirTags. So useful for a number of different applications, and have proved to save me valuable time and energy.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Gliffy, a software for creating diagrams. Diagrams are an essential tool in communication, and are often a more effective way to clearly get across an idea than drafting a long document. Gliffy streamlines the process and I would recommend it for practically every person who works in an office setting.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Life Force by Tony Robbins. It provides a good amount of information on how to live a longer and healthier life.
- Work hard, iterate often, and never stop.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.