Natalie Katz has travelled to 68 countries and moved from Australia to San Francisco with her husband to try to crack into the tech market. She well and truly did, and following huge success overseas, when the pandemic hit, she returned to Australia with her twin boys and her sights set on Afterpay.
When you know you’ve made the right career move
Natalie’s career is full of great career moves – with the best one being joining Afterpay seven months ago! She began her career in a large Australian bank and spent six years there before moving to the USA to get some experience in technology.
“I was really interested and excited by some of the Fintech players and managed to become a Product Manager at a Marketplace Lender (Peer to peer). The company was one of the biggest non-traditional lenders for small businesses across the US and the UK.”
She got to fuel her love for travel in that role, flying regularly between the USA and the UK, and she fell in love with the tech industry and the opportunities within it.
“I loved the fast paced, iterative development and frequent feature delivery that this role allowed me to have.”
When the pandemic hit, and with young twins, she wanted to return to Australia and remain in tech.
“For a while I had my eyes on Afterpay. I always thought it was such a cool company and loved what they were doing. I was motivated by the company’s mission to power an economy in which everyone wins. I was attracted to the business model and the growth opportunities.”
She was still on parental leave when an opportunity at Afterpay came up, and she took the job and moved home to Australia with them! On her very first day, Natalie knew she’d made the right decision joining Afterpay.
“I knew it was the right decision well before I started. Throughout the recruitment process I met the most incredibly supportive people. They heard my story, having twins during the pandemic, being stuck in the US away from family and friends, and they all wanted to help me. From that moment I decided this was the right company for me. The whole team was incredibly flexible and accommodating. I was onboarded in the US and spent half of my first month working in hotel quarantine in Australia. At first, I was a little overwhelmed at the thought of onboarding remotely, but Afterpay made it easy.”
A dream career and a young family
Natalie successfully moved around the world for work and broke into the tech career with no prior experience – and she’s never let anything stop her. But the challenge of working full time with a young family has proved one of her toughest.
“I feel that my biggest challenge and obstacle has been managing my family with my career. After giving birth to twins during the pandemic, I was set to return to work after 6 months.”
She had planned to send her boys to daycare and work full time in her role in the US, but with increasing COVID-19 numbers Natalie and her husband decided to keep them at home.
“We chose to both work full time and look after the babies. We had to juggle, and we knew it was not sustainable.”
Both their employers were flexible, but Natalie found she was having to cancel meetings last minute, leave early, take days off and block time out of her calendar and then work into the evening to complete her work. But still, it wasn’t sustainable and she wanted to return to Australia.
“It is thanks to Afterpay that I have been able to come home and get the support that I need.”
The support and flexibility at Afterpay have meant she’s been able to be successful in both parenting and work, and she has a new appreciation of how hard the juggle is!
“Prior to becoming a mum, I didn’t understand what it meant to try and find a balance between family and work. For me, it was always about work. I am now inspired to hear from other mums who have been able to strike the right balance, and yet have still been able to grow and progress their career.”
With her new understanding and changing priorities, Natalie’s advice to other young mums is:
“Don’t be afraid to make family your priority. There are many companies out there that will help you achieve that, along with a wonderful career.”
What it’s like at Afterpay
Afterpay are proud of their employees, and Natalie has already received public recognition for some of her work. They have been impressed with her adapting back to life in Australia, managing a family, and excelling at her job in challenging external circumstances.
And for Natalie, the high hopes she had for working with Afterpay have been exceeded.
As Principle Product Manager she is responsible for improving the post-transaction experience of global consumers, working on features such as payment flexibility, refunds improvements, and anything that will help their customers love using Afterpay.
“I want to be able to deliver a feature that provides customers with a ‘WOW’ moment.”
To her younger self, she’d say to learn how to code, which is great advice for anyone interested in exploring a career in tech. And now, she’s very happy with where she’s at in life, and all the possibilities for the future.
“I love my career, I love my family, I love my friends. I just want to be in a place where I (and everyone around me) can be happy. Whatever that means for me career wise, that’s what I want to achieve.”