When you pivoted your career from Curalate to Stash, what were you looking for in a company and why did you make this change in your career to join Stash?
I wasn't actively looking for a new role when Stash came along. A friend of mine asked me to come meet the founders and I figured that they simply wanted to pick my brain on scaling a company. That said upon our first meeting, it was pretty clear that the founders and I not only felt aligned around the vision and mission of Stash, but that they valued People Operations and believed that anyone in that function should have a seat at the executive table. The fact that they thought it was important to bring in someone senior in that function--as a company of 27 employees--spoke volumes to me about their view that people are their biggest asset.
As someone who has worked in People Operations for a period of time, can you please give us advice on what you look for in a candidate and a resume?
It depends on the role and stage of the company. In earlier stage companies, budget is usually tight so you need "generalists" (people who can juggle multiple divergent tasks and aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves. As you scale, you begin layering in more senior people with subject matter expertise. I do believe in looking for some startup experience (if possible) as you start to scale, as the expectations are simply different in a company that is building from the ground up versus an organization that has been around for some time and has standardized processes, a 9-to-5 schedule, and people are highly focused in a niche area of the business. We need people who are "builders" as you are often building a discipline/department while building the products/services you plan to take to market. Additionally, there is a ton of ambiguity, longer hours, a faster pace and the freedom to take serious risks. It can be challenging for people to acclimate to this environment if they've never experienced it before.
What is a moment you are most proud of in your career?
I'm proud of a lot of things, but one thing that we've been highly focused and intentional about at Stash is diversity, inclusion and belonging. We are right around 50% people of color in our corporate office and we are close to 40% women. That said, we still have a long way to go. For instance we are 28% women in engineering and data science which is sadly considered "amazing" in tech. When we get to a place where the expectation is that all companies and disciplines should strive for equality across the board, I'll feel like my work is done. Doing a Tedx talk was another milestone that I was pretty proud of!
What is one piece of advice you can give someone who is looking to change their career in the FinTech space?
Network, network, network. People are much more accessible than you'd think, so if you are looking for a job you should be going to events and meeting anyone and everyone. I have found that networking is the best way to connect to potential opportunities, so I always tell people that if you want to do it the right way, you should plan to devote two nights a week to going to see people speak, fireside chats, meetups etc.
How do you balance work life and personal life?
That is something I truly struggle with because being a part of a hyper growth organization can become all encompassing. That said, I give myself every Saturday off entirely and our flexible vacation policy has allowed me to travel quite a bit. Lastly, my founders truly believe that family is first and they role model that behavior for all of us, so I have great examples to pull from!
Reach out to Natalie on LinkedIn.