This post is part of our Women Behind the Program series, where we sit down with key leaders from the SheStarts community to talk about technology, gender equality and the personal journeys of these inspiring leaders and champions of change.
Nat Feehan is General Manager of Marketing and Direct Sales at MYOB and has played a key role in supporting the three cohorts of women entrepreneurs through SheStarts. Nat talks about success in her career, self-belief and the impact of startups in the economy.
Looking back at your career, what single moment or decision helped you get to where you are today?
To define a single moment or decision that helped me get to where I am today is near impossible, as no career is defined by any one moment or decision. I do think that mindset does play a large part though. My career mindset has been relatively flexible, without a set view of the pathway I needed to take. I’ve been willing to take on different roles at different times, including taking what felt like potential side-ways steps at the time. I’ve always made the most of any opportunity that has been presented.
Who were your female role models growing up?
I have always loved Oprah. To emerge from an abusive, poverty stricken childhood, as an African American woman, and to transform the then white-male dominated daytime TV world is incredible.
Oprah proved to the world that anyone, from any background has the potential to succeed.
And she did it all, with a willingness to speak out with honesty, openness, compassion, laughter, empathy, generosity and recognition of the good of others. The message I took away from years of watching Oprah was an essence of ‘you can do it!’
Read more: Meet Cheryl, startup junkie and product guru
What excites you about working with startups and the innovation ecosystem?
I have a huge amount of admiration for people in startups. Starting your own business is hard work, so I really admire those who have the guts to put themselves out there and back themselves. It takes courage and resilience – first to identify a market opportunity and then to keep pushing when others might not believe in your idea, or you. Innovation plays a critical role in driving the economy and the world forward, we now need to use innovation to help us fix the mess we’ve made of our environment!
In addition to SheStarts, are there any other D&I or innovation project you’ve had the opportunity to work on at MYOB that you are particularly proud of?
MYOB works closely with a group of entrepreneurial women called ‘Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine’. I’ve met Jane Lu (one of the founders) and love the work they do to support entrepreneurial women in business.
We also have a fantastic program run internally at MYOB called DevelopHer, which was designed to bring more women into the tech industry. It gives women with little to no coding experience the opportunity to formally train as a developer and then join the MYOB grad program.
What is your personal motto?
Go hard or go home.
What drives you to keep going when it gets really tough?
I don’t accept failure as an option. Maybe it’s competitiveness mixed with determination, but I’m not very good at letting go. When things are tough, I just really want to drive as hard as I can to succeed – regardless if that is at work, or in my personal life.
What is a moment or achievement in your career that you are most proud of?
I heard someone I mentored speak on a panel, where they referenced something we’d spoken about as being the best piece of career advice they’d ever received. It doesn’t get better than that.
Which startup has personally resonated the most with you?
At the very first SheStarts pitch event, I remember Naomi Stuart telling a story about the pressure and financial impact on farmers. The real stories Naomi shared of farmers going out of business, or losing their property because of poor cash flow, demonstrated that the process was so obviously very broken. Naomi left her young family at home to join the SheStarts program each week, travelling from regional NSW to Sydney, to develop her idea – an agricultural supply chain platform FARMPay.
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Nat Feehan is General Manager of Marketing and Direct Sales at MYOB. During her extensive experience in some of Australia’s most recognisable tech companies she has led teams to deliver great customer experiences via product, culture and brand. Nat is passionate about startups, particularly leading businesses through transformation and helping them grow.