Gena Gorlin


Dr. Gena Gorlin is an internationally recognized licensed psychologist, clinical associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, and executive coach specializing in the needs of ambitious founders. Her scholarly research on the cognitive, emotional, and motivational factors that jointly fuel or undermine autonomous goal-pursuit has been published in top-tier academic journals, and her Building the Builders newsletter is read by thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide. She also co-hosts the Founder's Mindset podcast with Alice Bentinck, cofounder of Entrepreneur First.

Gena completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Virginia, her internship/residency training at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and her postdoctoral training at Boston University's renowned Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD) prior to joining the clinical psychology faculty at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, and later at the University of Texas at Austin.

As an academic and practicing psychologist, she combines her deep expertise in the science and practice of psychotherapy with her passion for addressing the distinct challenges facing ambitious venture-scale startup founders as they build and scale their companies. Her experience spans all stages of the founding journey, from pre-seed to post-exit. Her mission is to raise the psychological ceiling on what the world's most ambitious builders and innovators do with their lives, and how much they enjoy doing it.

Gena firmly believes that building a successful, world-changing company depends on the work you do to build your own psychology alongside it. As a founder coach with an extensive psychological background, she is uniquely positioned to support founders in doing this work. For instance, she pushes founders to be "intellectually ambitious" rather than intellectually humble"; to cultivate genuine self-trust rather than settle for false confidence; to think past conventional concepts like “work-life balance” and build their own conception of a fully-lived life from first principles—which often means having deep, hard, honest conversations with themselves and others.