Head of Operations ParcelPoint
Interview by Dominic Moore
Natasha is a former management consultant who has worked internationally with brands such as Momentum Partners, Suncorp Group, and Worldpay. Having joined ParcelPoint, a high-growth VC-backed Australian alternative B2C parcel network, as Head of Growth in early 2017, she has recently been appointed as their first Head of Operations.
CAREER RELATED QUESTIONS
What is the best thing about your job?
The opportunity to work on things that have never been done before. I don’t mean what we do is completely original, the PUDO (pick-up drop-off) model exists in other countries – but the customer problem we are solving and challenges we are tackling in the Australian e-commerce logistics market are unique. Australia’s geography and population density have been barriers for traditional logistics players to offer a competitive alternative to Australia Post. ParcelPoint is shaking things up - and that's exciting to be part of.
What is the most challenging project/problem you have worked on either as an external consultant or an internal strategist?
The most challenging projects I have worked on are those where we have teams and individuals from different parts of the business coming at something with different objectives, methodologies, preconceptions and sometimes with hidden agendas. Breaking these down and establishing a common understanding and shared ownership of the project's goals has been the difference between average and impactful projects.
What advice would you give someone transitioning from a consulting firm to a role in industry?
Focus on developing your listening skills, truly understanding and empathising with your colleagues and building sustainable relationships. Consulting projects are time-boxed but in industry it’s a marathon not a sprint and you'll need to adapt your style and approach as a result.
Who has influenced your career the most and why?
My team mates and colleagues have influenced me most. By working with and observing these people (the good and the bad) I have I been able to learn so much that I’ve applied my career navigation.
They have shown me which approaches I want to emulate and those I want to avoid. I've established a better understanding of the type of work and working environment that I enjoy versus what drives me crazy. As well as being able to get really clear on what I'm excellent at while understanding where I have more to learn.
These learnings have been invaluable when I’ve needed to make key career decisions and more generally in shaping my goals and aspirations.
What is the favourite piece of advice you have received and from whom?
The times that you feel the most challenged, frustrated, tired, difficult are the times you’ll look back and realise you learnt the most.
I appreciate this advice because its helped me get through some of the toughest challenges I’ve faced. It gives you some helpful perspective at a time when you are likely struggling to see the point of it all.
As a child what did you want to be when you were older?
I had no idea what the job I wanted was – didn’t even know it existed until I learnt about consulting in university. I do know that I wanted to be able to experience many different things, I was fascinated to understand how things worked and I wanted to be great at whatever I did.
What are your three favourite books and what are you currently reading?
Currently reading – Handmaids Tale.
Love – books with female lead characters who succeed in the face of great challenges like Remember Me by Lesley Pearse (and many of her books).
I also love fantasy novels like the Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss or Lies of Loch Lamara by Scott Lynch.
Who would you like sitting next to you at a dinner party and why?
Me in 10 years’ time so I can get advice from my future self to help me navigate what is to come.
What is your favourite quote or motto?
I don't have a favourite per say but my recent one has been 'Start somewhere'. We all know that the first couple of steps are often the hardest and once you've made a start you can usually figure out the rest.
Who is your personal or business hero/heroine and what quality do you most admire in them?
Again, no one specific comes to mind but rather a type of person – people who have overcome Imposter Syndrome.
Many people in their professional lives experience, to some extent, what can be described as Imposter Syndrome. Some reports quote that 70% of population experience it at some stage in their life. It is also very prevalent with high achieving individuals and is reported to get worse the more senior you get!
A feeling that you're not really sure you know what you're doing, or why you are in the role you’re in. That thought in the back of your mind that says, ‘one day they’ll figure out that, I’m not meant to be here’.
It doesn't have to be full blown extreme either, but even just a small dose can have major impact on confidence, career progression, job satisfaction and productivity.
I admire people who have managed to achieve great things despite experiencing this phenomenon at times in their careers. I also believe there is a role for them to play in helping others who will go through similar experiences.