Faces of AWNY: Meet Natalie Austin, AWNY’s Events Team Leader

I’ve been in NYC for almost 2 years and it feels like I’ve been here a hot minute. I grew up in the Lower North Shore of Sydney and when I visited NYC for the first time in 2009 I felt like I was home. I had an immediate connection with the city. It’s a feeling that I can’t describe but I knew I had to be here. My sister also lives here so we wanted to share this experience together. I was fortunate enough to find a job with an Australian company and before I knew it I had an E3 in my hands and I was here!

Where do you live? Why did you choose that area?

I live in Stuyvesant Town which boarders the East Village/Gramercy. I actually went apartment hunting with my friend who had lived here for 10 years and she said the apartments were big for NYC so I’m currently living with a woman I met on craigslist who is actually one of my best mates now. I’m very lucky. The apartment is great and the area is perfect. It’s close to restaurants, bars and transportation.

What do you like/dislike about living in NY?

I love the pace of NYC. It’s like the city is alive and you get swept up in the momentum. I also love that the city has pockets of hidden gems where you can get away from it all. I do miss the beach and open space but I try and get out of the city every now and then to decompress.

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment/s?

On my 30th birthday a group of my family & friends were walking around Central Park and hired row boats and then we watched some street dancers. The dancers pulled me in to the middle and found out it was my birthday and about 200 hundred people started singing me happy birthday. That was a pretty cool moment.

Oh and my first week here, I got a smile from Bradley Cooper. Took me half a block to work out who it was smiling at me!

Any advice for people moving to NY?

Be prepared. It’s hard to get set up especially if you are coming on your own. People are very helpful and accommodating but it isn’t for the faint hearted. I have spent a few nights in tears wondering what I’m doing here!

Don’t give up. Just when you think it’s time to pack your bags and head home, everything will fall in to place.

What do you do?

I’m the North American Marketing Manager for the Global Corporate Challenge. It’s a health & well-being program developed in Australia. Over the past 11 years, the program has helped transform the culture and performance of thousands of the world’s leading organizations, consistently achieving results relevant to their unique circumstances and challenges. It’s an organization I’m really proud to be a part of, and having the connection to Australia makes being so far from home a little easier.

As a Professional working in NYC what are the differences to working in Australia?

I think that it’s a lot tougher here. You have to grow a thick skin fast or you won’t make it.

The hours are long. People do work hard and play hard in this city. There is always something to do at night.

Any advice for other Professionals working in NYC?

Network. Join groups and attend events. The Aussie expat community is incredible. Everyone is happy to help a fellow Aussie or Kiwi.

Sell yourself. It’s not something we typically do at home but here people will sell themselves as a product. And they are your competition so don’t be afraid to tell a potential boss/current boss how awesome you are!

What’s your favourite New York spot?

It’s pretty cheesy but I love Central Park. It’s beautiful in all seasons. I also love wandering around the streets of the West Village with a coffee.

Anything you miss about Australia?

Oh I miss my family & friends every day but I know they are always around for a chat when I need it. I also miss a skinny cappuccino. Every time I go home I drink way too many!

What are your top 3 tips for friends visiting NYC?

Bring comfortable walking shoes whether it’s summer or winter because you will be walking a lot!

I would be prepared with a lot of $1 notes for tipping.

Take local recommendations for food & drinks. There are so many amazing places to eat & drink so there is no need to eat away at the big chain restaurants around the touristy areas.

What made you join the AWNY Committee? What value do you get out of the AWNY committee? Would you recommend joining the committee to other Aussie Women?

I wanted to get stuck right in to NYC when I got here and I saw the committee were looking for more volunteers so I made the call and became part of the events committee where are role includes confirming venues, rsvp’s, catering, working with the presenters & being there on the night to set up & pack down. After a year, I took on the role of the Lead Event Coordinator so I now oversee all the events we run and make sure each event has a coordinator or two. It’s great to be able to volunteer my time and I love being around such professional, inspiring & kind women. It makes me feel less homesick.

I would absolutely recommend to anyone to join the committee or at least attend the events and come and say hi to us. We love meeting new women and offering as much help as we can!