Spotlight on women in leadership: Cathleen Santoso, Head of Growth & Ops @ Athletic Ventures

Phoebe Pincus
July 7, 2024
In our Spotlight series, we’re introducing you to our first ever cohort of Ladymates Leaders.

In our Spotlight series, we’re introducing you to our first ever cohort of Ladymates Leaders.


We reckon they are just about the most incredible bunch ever to come through a Startmate program: they are smart, pioneering, natural leaders who have already achieved enormous amounts and will go on to change the face of this ecosystem. 

Tell us a little bit about your career so far.

Previously, I worked in the ad agency landscape and consulted at KPMG before venturing into the startup world at BodyMindLife Online and Hyper, where I convinced people to give their startup ideas a shot. So, taking my own advice, I took the plunge and co-founded the Rare Yoga studio in Bondi Beach. I've represented Australia as an amateur golfer and played at the University of Oregon. 

What's your role now?

I’m currently the Head of Growth and Ops at Athletic Ventures, a syndicate of current and former elite athletes investing in champion founders. 

After playing a sport that shaped my identity for over a decade, I understand the challenges transitioning into life after sports. That’s why I'm deeply passionate about championing athletes off the field—empowering and educating them on how to apply the same mindset to all other aspects of life. 

Why did you apply to join LL?

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Back then (and still now), I had a big challenge at work: bringing more female athletes on board. It’s personal for me as a former golfer and a woman in startups. I feel a strong responsibility to empower other women in this space!

Joining LL gives me the chance to connect with like-minded women, share our struggles, and learn how to handle new situations. I'm using this collective wisdom to help me do better in my role and support my community, while also becoming part of a new community of like-minded women. 😊

What's been the best part so far?

Connecting with other women IRL allows us to be more vulnerable online. 

So here's to our IRL catchups: monthly workshops in the office AND fortnightly morning Bondi Prom walks.

What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?

Always can replay Gossip Girl and Suits! And Rich Roll is one of my new podcasts!

What would be your alternative career?

F1 Driver

Favourite quote?

"This too shall pass."

Outside of work I love

I LOVE 3/4 soy caps, long yoga sessions, VRTUS strength (not conditioning) classes, Cobs popcorn, drama movies or shows, long hikes in nature (preferably mountains rather than walking trails here in NSW), all sorts of kombucha, and I’ve run out of room to list more favourite foods.


Ladymates leadership is ANZ's first highly vetted, mentor-driven community for women leaders in tech. You’ll get exec coaching, peer-to-peer mentorship, exclusive workshops and a powerful women-led community.

We can’t wait to help you on this stage of your journey 💟

>> start your application for our upcoming intake HERE.

Itching for more? Read more here.

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