With a passion for problem solving; a talent for juggling shifting priorities and an insatiable desire to figure out difficult problems by imagining what they might look like fixed, meet Cat…
Why venture capital?
“As a business owner/operator for 20 years, my business management experience was gained at the coal face where I did ‘whatever it took’ to ensure the success of the company. This meant wearing many hats and not turning away from any task, big or small. Whether that was liaising with clients in over 60 different countries; project management on high budget productions; negotiating international sponsorship and endorsements; creating unique travel experiences; delivering marketing solutions or a focus on our business operations, finance and branding; it was a great finishing school for ‘learning it all’..
The early life of any company is all about putting systems, processes, policies and procedures in place that will set the company up for success. My ‘specialist generalist’ background has been a perfect fit for this type of environment; and being able to identify with what founders go through to succeed gives extra meaning to everything we do as a VC to support them.”
More importantly, why GD1?
“Prior to joining GD1, I had deliberately chosen contract roles while looking for that special position I could stick at - finding something to challenge me was key. A phone call asking if I was interested in ‘tidying up their back-end’ was literally my job interview and I haven’t looked back since. I love the challenge of new projects because each demands a wide range of skills. VC is that, and more! When I started working at GD1, I knew the challenges would keep me engaged. It’s a rocket ship on a growth trajectory; with each new phase relying on an ability to identify and solve new problems. The work is invigorating; and everyone is truly motivated to pursue and achieve excellence.”
What do you do at GD1, 9-5?
“I mainly do two things: I keep the wheels turning; and I problem solve. One day that might involve reviewing legal documents to interpret requirements; or transacting and operating our different funds; while the next it might include dealing with compliance, tax certification, HR, company accounts or inbound correspondence. All alongside the day to day of business administration and general operations in support of the Partners. A large part of my role is focused on ensuring we’re operating within our limited partnership agreements; as well as ongoing business process improvement - getting better; at doing better.”
What makes a good Operations Manager?
“Being a great operations manager requires broad knowledge. You need to be a specialist generalist because the remit of the role is so wide. So much lands on your plate that you also need to be unflappable and simply stellar at juggling constantly shifting priorities. In addition, it’s also your job to understand the bigger picture so that you can review, decipher and problem-solve around each roadblock with an eye on how everything you do fits into and will help achieve the company’s overarching objectives.”
What’s your superpower?
“I’m a problem solver. Those around me would call me a ‘researchaholic’. I have a spreadsheet for everything! Need to take a trip? Need new furniture at work? Need to decide on what software platform to use? Make a list; log the research; analyse the facts! Because I’m analytical, I enjoy arriving at solutions I know (and can prove) are the best course of action.”
What gets you up in the morning?
“I love figuring things out. If I’m faced with a curvy issue, I’ll often ruminate throughout the night around what a solution could look like; how it could work; or what I need to do to fix something. The next day, I’ll get up energised and ready to explore what it might look like fixed. I love the opportunity to add value.”
If you won the lotto, what would you do?
“Although I’d travel and spend some time living in France (a lifelong dream); I’d make a useless layabout. I would definitely stay connected to and plugged into GD1 - it would be too hard to walk away when I’m still so invested!”
What would you say to someone wanting a career in venture capital?
“To get into VC, you need to have skin in the game. Start a business; or start investing in one! That’s where you’ll gain a taste for the excitement and risk that is VC. Dial in to the sector and get apprised of what’s going on...and doorknock if you have to!”