Stories from The Fellowship - Katie Noonan, Winter20 Fellow

Sophia Witherington
July 27, 2020
Nicole Meaker, Winter20 Fellow

Having concluded our third Fellowship cohort (first women-only cohort) one month ago, we are catching up with the Fellows to share their experience of the program. Hear from Katie Noonan.

Katie started her career as a commercial lawyer in Sydney at Ashurst, one of Australia's top tier law firms, working in the M&A, competition and litigation teams. Katie now works as an in-house lawyer at Indigenous Business Australia (a bank and investment partner for Indigenous people and corporations) providing legal and strategic advice across IBA's mortgages, business loans and investments portfolios, including on capital raisings for IBA’s managed funds and property fund. Katie will be starting her new role as Strategic Partnership Lead at Inside Sherpa in August 2020.

What is the Fellowship to you?

After working as a corporate lawyer for over four years, I had been interested in working in a startup for a while but I didn’t really know where I would fit. I had been apprehensive about making the leap without fully understanding the broader ecosystem, where my strengths would be best utilised and the full range of options available to me.

The Fellowship was a crash course into all things startups. Over the 12 weeks:

  • We completed AMAs with leading founders, investors and operators in product management, marketing and growth, customer success and operations, as well as sessions on financial modelling, startup equity and productivity;
  • We had one on one Mentor Roulette sessions with tech founders and operators;
  • We took on Career coaching sessions with top talent acquisition and talent managers to discuss any topic we chose including feedback on resumes, Linkedin, hiring and interview tips and making an impact when you start; and
  • I developed a strong network with 24 other ambitious, inspiring and diverse women who all shared their learnings, progress through the Fellowship and past experience for each other’s benefit.

Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, I would definitely recommend the Fellowship to others who are searching for their next challenge, mountain to climb, or ambitious idea to support - particularly people who have a desire to be a part of building something new. I didn’t fully understand the strength and supportiveness of the Startmate community until I became part of it and this is one of the biggest drawcards of the Fellowship.

The Fellowship will suit people who are self-starters, driven and are looking to accelerate both their learning curve and professional network. You will get the most out of the Fellowship if you are willing to put in the hard work and put yourself out there - with the support of Startmate of course.

Women from all different stages in their professional and personal lives will benefit from participating in the Fellowship - graduates, mid-level career transitions, people returning to work after a career break or returning home from overseas. For me one of the highlights of the Fellowship was learning from other amazing women in different life stages and with different experiences to me.

The Fellowship finally gave me the knowledge, insight, connections and confidence to take the leap.

What were the biggest outcomes for you from participating in the Fellowship?

One of the biggest benefits of the Fellowship was witnessing 24 other amazing women also make the transition into working in startups simultaneously to me and see them land their dream jobs. We all shared contacts, resources, negotiation tips, salaries and opportunities that we found - collectively making us all stronger candidates and raising the bar for women in startups.

This also meant that by the time an opportunity arose that truly excited me - I knew I was making the right decision and an informed one.

In August 2020, I am starting a new role as Strategic Partnership Lead at Inside Sherpa and will be focused on bringing more diverse partnership and internship opportunities to students in the social justice and not for profit space.

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