🌞 Earlywork #49: The Road to Forbes 30 Under 30 as a Woman of Colour
Featuring a guest piece by Sanjana Nagesh (Founder @ BrownGirlGang) + an exclusive offer w/ Lazy Wombat + roles from Oscer & EatClub + an interview w/ Ethan Catzel (Co-Founder @ Canopy Study)
Ello ello Earlyworkers!
Jumping Earlywork #49, a careers newsletter providing free weekly career resources, news, jobs & real-world career stories for 2000+ young Aussies & Kiwis in the tech, startup & social impact landscape.
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💡Weekly Cheeky Tip
You won’t meet too many young women of colour who have been on Forbes 30 Under 30.
And even fewer who live in Sydney, Australia.
That’s why the story of Sanjana Nagesh building BrownGirlGang (@browngirlgang) to an audience of 130K+ and growing is a pretty unique one, with features in BBC, Teen Vogue, and HuffPost along the way.
We had the awesome opportunity to chat to her and learn from her most important lessons in the BrownGirlGang journey from its inception in 2017, along with her work in the Community team at AirTree Ventures and the Influencer Marketing team at Showpo:
“There are so many things I wish I knew a few years ago when I was starting out my career in tech
From how to navigate being the only woman of colour in the room, to contributing to discussions as the youngest member in the conversation, and so much more.
I’m so excited to be part of the newsletter this week and hope this write-up helps you out, even if it’s in a super small way.
So, today I’d love to share the 3 most important pieces of career advice that I would give my younger self, and I hope it helps you too:
👩🎨#1: If you’re ever feeling stuck on what project to start next…create things you wish existed
There are 7.8 billion people in this world, so if you feel something is lacking, chances are others wish it existed too.
Be incredibly mindful of your daily thoughts, notice which pain points you can start solving, then work on an initiative to fill that gap.
Upon reflection, it’s crazy how little money I’ve spent building BrownGirlGang over the last 5 years. The internet has so many free resources, no-code tools and detailed tutorials that will enable you to execute whatever you think has value.
If your idea doesn’t ‘succeed’, then often the worst-case scenario is you taught yourself new skills, deepened your critical thinking abilities and created something for yourself…which is actually a pretty amazing scenario in itself.
Fun fact: creating something that I wished existed is exactly how I started what’s now my biggest passion and career achievement.
One morning, I found myself procrastinating studying for exams (oops) by scrolling through Instagram for a few hours and came across some really talented South Asian influencers.
I was in awe of these women from all career fields who were finding the most creative ways to fuse traditional elements of "brown" culture with pop culture. It was so empowering and validating to finally discover content representing dual cultural identities that I found myself wanting to learn more about each girl and the story behind her work.
I thought to myself, “I wish I could just find all these women in one place, like a ‘girl gang’, or more specifically, like a ‘brown girl gang’, so I can see myself reflected in the media”.
So I searched up the handle ‘@browngirlgang’, saw ‘no results found’ and decided, “Hey, why not start this myself?”
📣#2: If you’re ever the only person who looks like you in the room…don’t be afraid to take up space
This is easier said than done and something I struggled with at many points; tbh sometimes still do!
But at the end of the day, it’s always worth remembering that you’ve been chosen to be in that room for a reason.
This feeling is often referred to as Imposter Syndrome. However, I recently read a super interesting article which suggested, “Imposter syndrome directs our view toward fixing women at work instead of fixing the places where women work”.
This really resonated with me, as without representation, it’s almost impossible to be what you can’t see.
Why should we be hard on ourselves for feeling like ‘imposters’ when actually, it’s a truly brave and courageous thing to be taking up space?
Moreover, I think this notion applies not just to women in the workplace, but to anyone who identifies as part of an underrepresented group, e.g. differently-abled, sexual identity, etc.
Whilst it’s easy to say people should ‘take up space’ it can definitely feel daunting at first if you’re the only person like yourself in the room. In these moments, I like to remind myself that diversity of thought is invaluable in all situations and that your unique lived experience can bring a fresh set of eyes to any scenario.
Try starting small, even if it’s just contributing one idea to a meeting - it’s all about momentum and practice!
🌱#3: If you’re ever the youngest person at work… you’re not expected to know all the answers.
Embrace your age and lack of experience. This comes with a massive caveat of making sure you have a strong work ethic, bringing passion to your tasks, being willing to learn on the job, and staying open to constructive feedback..
Once you’ve checked these boxes, the most important thing is to just be yourself.
Your senior colleagues or managers don’t expect you to act their age...since you’re not (duh!).
This sounds obvious but people can always tell when someone isn’t being genuine and it makes it so much harder to connect with them on a personal level.
Your senior colleagues are used to being surrounded by peers like them," so be a breath of fresh air in their day, just by being yourself.
If you’re making non-work chat, don’t try to inauthentically copy the topics of older colleagues (it will be glaringly obvious to them you’re not really at that life stage). Share your genuine interests, hobbies and weekend plans.
You will feel more confident AND your team will feel like they know ‘the real you’ better. A big and easy win-win.
I hope these things were helpful in some way and please feel free to say hey! You can find me on Instagram @sanjananagesh or Linkedin 😊
What content would you like us to cover next? Anything we missed? Keen to share your own Weekly Cheeky Tip?
🌏 Earlywork Community
🐝 The Buzz
What’s been happening in the Earlywork community?
📺 Dan was on TV 📺 Catch our co-founder on Startup Daily chatting with Simon Thomsen about the Earlywork story with, what's next on our horizon, the importance of social cohort in learning, the great reshuffle and how young jobseekers consider company ethics 👉 watch from timestamp 21:30
🏆 Earlywork Community Awards 🏆 As the wild-ride known as 2021 comes to a close, it's a great opp to recognise all of the good vibes that have been going on in this community.
📚 Trending Topics
Our favourite reads and resources being discussed in the Earlywork community.
Ofload gets $100m valuation with new $20m cash injection (AFR)
A founder’s guide to community (David Spinks, Co-Founder @ CMX + VP Community @ Bevy)
Femtech Industry Breakdown (Jess Lozano-Schmitt, Scout @ Undercover VC & Hawke Media)
The Road to Becoming an Aussie Unicorn (Paul Stovell, Founder @ Octopus Deploy)
What Happens When You Become The Investment (The Atlantic on personal tokenisation)
Sidetracked with Max - Our Top Learnings, the Metaverse, Building Confidence and More (The Sachin & Adam Show)
Hey Real Estate, Let’s Talk NFTs (Raphael Sebban, Writer @ Bricks and Stones)
🏖 Ecosystem Exclusive: Lazy Wombat
As a couple of young startup founders ourselves, we’re big big supporters of the awesome work Earlywork is doing for its community.
You probably haven’t heard of us before. We’re a fair bit smaller than a lot of the startups on here! We’re trying to disrupt the towel industry for the better, one cheeky towel at a time.
We’re an Aussie-owned company selling both beach and gym towels. We also plant a tree for every told sold!
Having worked in other startups as well as our own, we can’t say enough good things about this community. That’s why we’re keen to fire some juicy discounts your way.
For Earlyworkers, we’ve set up the discount code EARLYWOMBAT to give you an extra 10% off at checkout on top of our Summer Sale prices. Stock is very limited after Black Friday so don’t miss out!
- Nick & Jake, Co-Founders @ Lazy Wombat
Disclaimer: Earlywork received monetary compensation for this content feature. If you’re an ANZ startup founder who’s keen to share an exclusive deal with the community, flick us an email at email@example.com to be featured!
😎💼 Top Gigs
💪Growth Hacker @ Oscer
Oscer are building the tools to eliminate missed diagnosis, starting with our education product to train the world’s best clinicians.
In this rare and exciting role in the growth team, you will create and lead Oscer's Growth programs for medical students and doctors around the world!
They value attitude, hunger and stamina over experience, so it is perfect for fresh ambitious grads looking to make a positive dent in the world of healthcare.
💪Business Development Manager @ EatClub
EatClub is a fast-growing tech company with global ambitions. Founded by celebrity chef, Marco Pierre White, and backed by industry leading venture capital firms, they are in aggressive expansion mode.
In a unique opportunity to combine both a passion for food and technology, the BDM's are fully responsible for the acquisition of new partners in existing and new geographical areas.
Great chance to be part of a fast growing tech startup with an opportunity to rapidly develop and make quick steps in your career and to go overseas or interstate with new launches.
👉 Apply now and check out more top gigs like these at Gigs by Earlywork
Disclaimer: Earlywork received monetary compensation for the roles featured in this section. If you’re keen to have your roles featured, check out our premium listing options here.
1️⃣ 🕐 💪 One Minute Hustle
We are back once again with One Minute Hustle, a bite-sized interview with an emerging Australian young startup founder or operator.
This week, let’s get inside the noggin of a young founder helping teachers create amazing content in less time…
Ethan Catzel, Co-Founder @ Canopy Study
You can read about what he’s working on, how he got started, and why he does what he does here.
Keen to share your story, or know a young startup founder or operator we should feature next?
Share your deets and we’ll get in touch!
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Ciao for now,
Team Earlywork (Dan, Jono & Marina)
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