How to make the most of the Women Fellowship

Cristabel Gekas
April 9, 2021
The Startmate Fellowship

The Startmate Fellowship is a two-month program helping ambitious women find their dream job in a rocketship startup. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed journey into the world of tech, venture capital and startups.

So many people, so many opportunities — where to begin? Our Fellow Alumni share their top tips to stay focused and reach your goals during the program.

Read on to hear from some of our epic Spring20 Fellows:

  • Clara Tang, Finance and Insights Analyst at Edrolo;
  • Vela Georgiev, Leadership Operations at Propeller Aero;
  • Alex Hubbard, Senior Product Manager at Matrak;
  • Jackie Rabec, Data & Partnerships Manager at Prospection; and
  • Kylene Jones, Director of Customer at Auror.

What advice would you give yourself at the start of The Fellowship?

Clara: Put your blinders on and go all-in

Everyone in here is great, so are YOU. You belong here as much as anyone else, through pure talent, grit and hard work.

No one individual’s journey is more important than the other, so back yourself already, and be all here.

Vela: Pave the way to meaningful connection

Be prepared. The Fellowship at its core is about connection.

Prepare your forwardable email introduction, update your LinkedIn, practice your elevator pitch / bio, be able to explain to simply why you joined The Fellowship and what you are looking to get out of the program, and update your CV if you’re looking for work.

Think of your first connection as an ice-breaker, especially if you are a shy or reserved person.

If networking and connections don’t come easy to you, give yourself a few quick wins to get your started — reach out to a buddy, coach, or even someone in your existing network who you’ve wanted to talk to but haven’t.

Alex: Be true to yourself

In the first week of The Fellowship, really take a step back and journal about who you are and what your skill set is, and have some ideas about what ways you want to grow that skill set.

Take personality tests, work with your buddy and your tribe so that when you are looking at where you might fit in, you have a better idea of what your strengths are.

The world is your oyster, but know yourself and what you want.

If you’re an extrovert that loves working with people and doesn’t like to sit still for very long, then engineering probably isn’t going to be a career pivot that you would get a lot of value from.

Done is better than perfect! Ask for help from your tribe, coaches or in various Slack channels.

Don’t spend days working on your perfect intro or resume — write one and get feedback ASAP. Get used to putting yourself out there so that you can build that resiliency.

Jackie: Be open to spontaneity

Do research around people/startups/internship opportunities that are of interest to you, but balance it out with an open mind that ‘spontaneous connections’ may make a big impression on you or change your thinking.

E.g. we had a coffee roulette going and I actually met some incredible women through that who have subsequently become good friends and have massively influenced my thinking.

How can Fellows make the most of the program?

Clara: Create, built and initiate

Soak up every lesson, and make the most of your one-on-ones. Connect, resonate, and share, because this is your community to own.

If you have feedback, give, and let go. Be a part of the solution.

This community is as strong as the weakest link in the chain, and you have all the power to determine how good it gets. Create, build, and initiate. If what you want doesn’t exist, set it up.

This is your honing ground for all the learning you didn’t get to do and always wanted to. Be awkward, messy, and sit with the discomfort of all that is new and unfamiliar. This is the safe space you signed up for.

Above all, live it up and ease into things as much as you’re willing and able. Emotional capacity building requires practice, and there is no better place for it than here.

Kylene: Create a role for yourself, and bring others along for the ride

Take the first four weeks to immerse yourself as much as possible.

If you haven’t worked in the startup space before, learn about all the functions and size and stage of companies. This will help you make a decision on how you’re going to be focused for the second four weeks of the programme.

Go deep and focus. Take the time to reflect on the ‘break’ week so that you come in with a plan for going deep and finding your unique role within a start-up.

If you’re focused on opportunities in front of you, this will allow you to prepare for all of your discussions appropriately. Hiring Managers and founders will know if you’ve done your research.

Understand what your unique value proposition is — all of your transferable skills — and then sell yourself on those skills.

Don’t wait for the job description. If you’re interested in a start-up, strike up that conversation. Don’t wait for a job to crop up before engaging. Create your own role.

Bring others in on your conversations. If you’re setting up a session which you think will be useful to others, invite them in (or even make the event optional to the entire cohort).

I organised two sessions: consultants entering startups, and moving to the US to work in the startup scene here.

They are both sessions that I could have done on my own, but by opening up to everyone else, I saved the coaches/mentors time that they are generously giving up, and also ensured that there was a learning opportunity for everyone.

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The Startmate Women Fellowship is a program and community for ambitious women looking to supercharge their career in startups.

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