Faces of AWNY: Elizabeth Aris

Elizabeth Aris is an entrepreneur and CEO of MOSH, a platform that can be used by any organization wanting to truly engage their customer base or audience. Elizabeth has been in New York since 2013 and moved here to get her tech start-up off the ground. Hear how she did it and what she learned to love about NYC along the way.

Why did you move to NYC?

I moved from Sydney to NYC determined to get my tech start-up off the ground. After finding that other social media platforms only partly connect organizations with their audiences and customers, I started working on the idea for MOSH in Australia with my co-founder (Amanda Johnston, another Aussie woman). Unable to raise seed funding, I came to New York and found it very conducive to finding the capital I needed to grow the business. We launched MOSH around two weeks ago after raising funds, finding designers, developers, and clients here. Many of those who have helped along the way are part of the great Aussie community in NYC.

Where are you from?

I lived in Sydney for about 20 years, where both of my children went through school, but I am originally from Perth. I’m fortunate my career has included great opportunities in Shanghai, Hong Kong and London.

Favorite NYC cocktail spot & cocktail of choice?

I’m not a big cocktail drinker but love a good glass of sauvignon blanc at Balthazar, with a plate of foie gras to keep it company!

What do you like about being part of AWNY?

I love surrounding myself with professional and inspiring women who are super supportive of each other. I’m a firm believer in workplace diversity and that women in leadership should look over their shoulder and ask “What I can do to help another woman out behind me?” The mentoring and assistance I have found through the AWNY network is both smart and open-hearted. Having lived in a number of expat communities, there is something very special about the Australian community in NYC.

What’s the biggest challenge or road block you’ve been faced with since being in NYC and how do you overcome it?

Not having a network when I arrived.  But I’ve since grown one and a lot of it has been through luck and being open to conversations and introductions. I have even met people on the Subway who introduced me to a friend of a friend (many of whom were Australians). It takes a village to get a company off the ground and I feel like so many of my friends have contributed.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about living/working in NYC?

Professionally – grow your network, stay connected, give, and you will get it back in spades. Living tip – get on Amazon and Fresh Direct and order everything you need. No need to schlep around with heavy bags when literally everything can be delivered in no time.

Who are some Aussie ladies doing awesome things in NYC who are currently on your radar?

Rachel Barnard is one of my inspiring women leaders. She’s an amazing Australian woman who started and leads Young New Yorkers, helping 16-17 year-olds who have been arrested and would be treated as adults in the criminal justice system if not for her restorative justice arts program which results in them getting their records sealed and rebuilds their sense of self.

I also give a huge shout out to Kelly Sims at Austrade USA, Deb Komesaroff at VicGov, Kathryn Deyell at the Australian Consulate, and Belinda Jackson at Prosell, among many others. All given me their time, introductions, and all sorts of support.

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

I live on the Upper East Side, close to the East River. I chose it because it is quiet and with my Beagle Abbie, I have easy access to a park, which for me is Carl Shurz Park.  My kids come and visit frequently and they love it too.

What do you like/dislike about living in NY?

I love living in NYC. I see great talent from every possible sector and people are willing to try new things. There is a real premium on innovation here which I’d like to see Australia do more to emulate, especially for start-ups.

Getting out of the city on the weekends makes a big difference and there are some lovely places along the coast within a few hours driving (as long as you get out of the city early enough!)

What’s one of your ‘only in New York’ moments?

The random meetings which lead to something unexpected and wonderful – capital, hairdressers, restaurant bookings, technology expertise, clients, and of course, friends.

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

People in New York want to make decisions and get things done fast. There’s a willingness to try new things, and people want to be first on to the next ‘big thing’.  Very senior business people in NYC – and elsewhere in the US – have agreed to a meeting with MOSH simply because someone they trusted told them we were exciting and innovative. Because of that you need to be prepared to jump into a meeting at a moment’s notice, but that’s part of the excitement of being here.

What are your top 3 tips for friends visiting NYC?

  1. Do the stuff locals do and explore the many neighborhoods of New York (I love Williamsburg).
  2. Shop! There is so much great shopping. I love Century 21 for all the basics such as brand name t-shirts in 3 packs for $21. I stock up with my son James there every time he comes over.
  3. Dine at one of NY’s great restaurants. La Grenouille was amazing, Nobu is a favorite, Balthazar is always exciting even at midnight.

Any advice for other professionals working in NYC?

Network. Get out of your apartment and go meet people. Start a conversation. Join MOSH!

Contact Elizabeth

aris@mosh.us or via MOSH.US