Kate Dell’Aquila has lived in New York for three years. She works as a senior account manager at Point One Percent, a branding and marketing agency but is also the Co-Director of PR and Marketing for a non-profit called Minds Matter which helps high school students who have the potential and ambition to pursue a college education, but who lacked the resources to achieve that dream. We chatted with her about how she got to NYC, what she loves about the city, and her work with Minds Matter.
How did you end up in NYC?
I have always had a desire to live in NYC. I am from Melbourne and when I was completing my Masters in Communication at RMIT I started applying for internships at magazines in NYC but it was so hard to secure anything from Australia. I ended up landing an internship at a magazine called Treats! in LA and I was on a plane to the US three days after handing in my thesis. Soon after starting my internship, I was offered a job at the magazine and while I was there I visited New York for six days. Those six days were the most magical days of my life. If you look closely enough, New York will send you signs, you just have to be open to reading them. During that time, I felt New York was telling me this was my city. Six months later I was living and working here. Three years later I am still here and there has been no looking back.
Tell us more about the work you do with Minds Matter
Minds Matter helps high-achieving students from low socio-economic backgrounds get into college. I have been volunteering with Minds Matter for three years mentoring a young and incredible girl who is in her senior year.
Raising funds to support these students as they embark on their journey to the best colleges Minds Matter has its annual Soiree on April 16 and I would love to extend the invite to AWNY members. Soiree is very social night with a DJ, hor’douves, photobooth and over 1,000 people in attendance. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at mindsmattersoiree.org
Where do you live and why did you choose that area?
I live on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. It is a fun, hip, happening neighborhood but it is still culturally diverse. On my walk to work every morning I literally am wished a good morning by the local street cleaner, the hardware store owner, the baristas at my local coffee shop, the local gym owner – it’s a little community down here.
What was your biggest win this week?
Knowing my worth. Standing by that knowledge in a difficult situation.
What’s the biggest challenge or road block you’ve been faced with since being in NYC and how do you overcome it?
Financially living here is a struggle, I never feel like I am getting ahead – this is something I am still trying to overcome.
What do you like about being part of AWNY?
I think sometimes there can be a bit of a case of tall poppy syndrome amongst Australians. AWNY is the complete opposite of that mentality. It is a safe community of successful women who have moved here for various reasons and there is no judgment or competition, rather, encouragement and appreciation for what we have been through to get here and what we have achieved. Through AWNY I have met some amazing people and made very good friends who I cherish like family.
Who are some Aussie ladies doing awesome things in NYC who are currently on your radar?
- Laura Brown – Is A-MAZ-ING, so funny and chic and successful but still down to earth.
- Carmen Miriklis – A good friend of mine who is a firecracker businesswoman. She repeatedly kicks goals at such a young age, she is so self aware and I think this, in part, is the secret to her success. An inspiration.
- BJ Jackson – I have always admired BJ, she is a connector in the truest sense of the word, and she has always been generous with her time and her network.
What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment?
Too many to re-count. BUT my favorite… While I was living in LA and preparing to come to NYC I watched Woody Allen films as part of my “research.” The first night I was ever in New York, on the sidewalk outside The Coffee Shop in Union Square, I met Rose, a Canadian NYU Professor who was shocked and appalled I was heading home (at 12am). Rose and I bonded over the Commonwealth so she took me to Zinc in the West Village where we drank cocktails (of course) and what happened inside that little bar was very special. In the corner of the bar, an older Upper East Side lady with a thick New York accent in a big hat with sparkling diamond rings all over her cracked but manicured fingers was getting outrageously drunk. The bartender, a wiry man named Dave was lamenting his romance and reminiscing about his childhood in Brooklyn. A young guy with a guitar randomly walked into the bar, Dave turned the music off and the guy started playing Django Reinhardt on his guitar. A bald, hulk of a man, who was a neurophysicist from Sweden starting talking to Rose and I about philosophy. In that moment I was LIVING in a Woody Allen film, and I was in love. THIS was New York! Three days later I bumped into Woody and Soon Yi on 5th Avenue… It’s all about the signs… Oh and to this day Rose remains one of my closest and dearest friends.
Favourite piece of NYC
Central Park and my local coffee shop, because let’s be honest, I wouldn’t get through my day without it.
Favorite spot for brunch
Dudley’s on the Lower East Side.
Favorite spot for cocktails & cocktail of choice
Pegu – if you ask the mixologist at Pegu to make the salad cocktail it is the most delicious drink EVER. At any other bar my cocktail of choice is a dirty martini with vodka.
What are your top 3 tips for friends visiting NYC?
- Search for things to do in your realm of interests– if you are an architect visit places like the Glasshouse, if you are jazz musician, search for underground jazz bars – then invite me to tag along!
- Have a picnic in Central Park
- People watch
- (I am adding a fourth) Drink a lot of cocktails!
Connect with Kate