Kim Y. Lew was born and raised in New York City, spending her early years in Harlem and then moving to the Bronx when she was school-aged. She is a proud product of the New York City School system, having attended PS 154, PS 9, Mosholu Parkway Junior High School, and the Bronx High School of Science. Following the guidance of her father, she applied and was accepted to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Although neither of her parents graduated from college, both felt strongly about the value of education and encouraged and pushed her to strive for as much formal and informal education as she could obtain. Despite initially being intimidated by the grandeur of Penn and the wealth and worldliness of her classmates, she quickly found a home within the black community which allowed her to spread her wings and embrace all that Penn had to offer. She was the vice president of the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association, a member of the Onyx Senior Honor Society, and founder of Black Resident Advisors. She graduated from Penn with a BS in economics with concentrations in accounting and organizational behavior.
Lew's first job was at Chemical Bank, where she graduated in the top 10 percent of her credit training class. She rose quickly from credit analyst to head of credit of the Brooklyn/Queens Group of the Middle Marketing Banking Division. There she was able to develop her knowledge of various manufacturing and service businesses located throughout the outer boroughs of New York City. She left to join the Harvard Business School Class of 1992. While at HBS, she served as vice president of the African American Student Union and was a member of the Women's Student Association and the Asian American Club. She often describes Penn as the place that developed her as a person but HBS as the institution that showed her endless possibilities.
Immediately after HBS, Lew joined Prudential Capital Group, Eastern Region, where she provided financing to companies located in the Northeast. She quickly realized that the fit was not right and through the HBS network was able to land a job making investments in large cap growth stocks in the technology and insurance sectors at the Ford Foundation. She is currently vice president and co-Chief Investment Officer of Carnegie Corporation of New York, a private foundation established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie that supports "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." The $3 billion portfolio is global in scope and diversified by asset class and strategy.
Lew was awarded her Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1996, and has served as both a grader and standard-setter for the CFA exam. In addition to serving as the board chair of the Stevens Cooperative School and on the executive board of the Private Equity Women Investor Network, Lew is a member of the investment committees of the ACLU and the Girl Scouts of America. She is married and the mother of two daughters.