Innovator Highlight: Kaija Flood, VFA Fellow

Name: Kaija Flood

Venture for America Class: 2016

Company: Theranest

Graduated: University of Virginia

Major: Political Science and Public Policy

Hometown: Reston, VA

About Kaija

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Kaija Flood, originally from Reston, VA, graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in politics and a Master’s in Public Policy. Kaija has had a variety of experiences in the social enterprise sector, including work at an impact investing firm in South Africa, an accelerator in DC, and an education nonprofit in Rwanda. Kaija is a 2016 VFA Fellow in her second year of working with TheraNest, a medical records software for mental health care providers.

Q & A

As a VFA fellow, why did you choose Birmingham?

I moved to Birmingham to pursue an opportunity to work at a company with values that resonated with me. Admittedly, I was also drawn to a place with mild winters! Since moving to Birmingham, I have found so many things to love about the city - its size, its proximity to green spaces, and its sense of community, to name a few.

Describe your perfect day in Birmingham?

I would start with a coffee and a newspaper or a book at Urban Standard. In no particular order, the day would also include a visit to the downtown YMCA, some Eugene’s Hot Chicken, and cooking for my friends at my apartment. My perfect day would need to be a Saturday, so I could head to Gip’s Place in Bessemer and listen to Mr. Gip and company play the blues.

What do you think makes the Magic City “magic?”

Its city pride!

What projects are you currently working on at Theranest?

On the Business Development team, I am finding ways to educate and connect with mental health care providers who might benefit from our product. Additionally, I am working on special operations projects with various members of our team to streamline processes as we continue to move from the startup phase to the scale-up phase.

What personal side-projects are you currently working on?

I have been excited to learn more about some of the incredible work being done in Birmingham - from Legal Services of Alabama, to CAC Young Partners, to the Birmingham Education Foundation, to some of the political campaigns taking place at the city and state levels. Outside of volunteering, I’ve been writing and learning how to make tomato pie.

What advice would you give prospective young people looking to move to Birmingham?

Birmingham is an awesome place to build community and think through some of the most pressing challenges facing our country. Investing your time and energy here brings great reward. Plus, there’s nothing quite like Alabama football!

About Venture for America

Venture for America is a two-year fellowship program for recent college graduates who want to work at a startup and create jobs in American cities. Fellows learn important startup skills at VFA’s five-week Training Camp at Brown University, apply for jobs within their vetted company network, and work for two years as full-time, salaried employees in one of 18 cities. When Fellows are ready to start a company—be it two years after college or ten—VFA has the resources to help make that dream a reality. In the last six years, VFA has produced 33 Fellow-Founded companies who have raised $29M and have created over 145 new jobs.

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