Faces of AWNY: Meet Kathy Potts

We’re excited to feature another fabulous Australian woman and AWNY member this month, Kathy Potts. Hailing from Melbourne (though born in NSW), Kathy is making strides here in NYC as a post-doctoral researcher and in the women’s reproductive health industry. Beyond her talents in biotech and academia, Kathy loves to explore new hobbies like painting and pottery, find new hikes upstate or in other regions of the U.S., and hang with her friends for a cocktail or coffee. We’re proud to have her as one of our amazing ANWY members and look forward to you getting to know her a little more.

Where in Australia are you from and why did you make the move to NYC?
I was born in Sydney, but have been a Melbourne gal most of my life. To be honest I’m really surprised I ended up here. I grew up in love with the idea of moving to London or Scotland, and NYC was never really on my radar. When I was searching for my postdoctoral research position my favorite role just happened to be here, so I thought ‘why not, it’s only for a couple of years…’ We’re at almost six years and counting! 

What are a few things that you miss most about Australia?
I miss Australian nature!! The sounds of rainbow lorikeets at dusk and kookaburras at dawn, the smell of eucalyptus out in the bush, the beach, the abundance of flavorful fruit and veg at the Queen Vic market, and quality coffee – there’s nothing like a Melbourne latte. The biggest challenge by far is being so far away from my family and friends. 

Do you have any tips to help quell the homesickness while in New York? 
I video call my sisters, munch on vegemite toast, Tim Tams, or Caramel Crowns, (you’ve got to have a stash!), and head to the pub or café with other Aussie ex-pats. 

You mentioned your dream role led you to NYC—what are you working on at the moment?
I’m a cell biology research scientist, and I moved to NYC after finishing my Ph.D. at the University of Melbourne. I spent my first five years here doing postdoctoral research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to find new blood cancer treatments. Now I’m working at Gameto, a women’s health biotech startup improving egg freezing and IVF technologies. I’ve also got a side hustle (as one does in New York!) facilitating professional development workshops for scientists through HFP Consulting

Tell us about your neighborhood and what you like about living there?
After a few years of living in a quiet neighborhood in the northeast Bronx, I’m fortunate to live right in the heart of Greenwich Village. I moved downtown during the pandemic which was intense but I was incredibly lucky to find an amazing American housemate—a lifelong friendship forged in our tiny village apartment! I love being immersed in the excitement and community of the village, living near many of my friends, and being only a quick walk or bike ride from everything. 

With so many things happening in the city, what do you do in your ‘spare time’? 
There’s never a dull moment in NYC, I’m always exploring and creating. Recently I’ve been focused on pottery, watercolor painting, and improving my health and fitness. I love going to the theatre, wandering through tiny galleries in Chelsea and Soho, and finding new bars and restaurants with friends. 

Everyone’s journey is different, so how did you land your job in NYC? 
My first role I found through networking at scientific conferences and cold-emailing lab heads for interviews, which is pretty standard in academia. The biotech startup sector is small but growing in NYC (compared to Boston or San Francisco), and it can be challenging to find out about companies still in stealth mode. So, transitioning to the industry required a lot of hustling—dozens of informational interviews, reaching out to my network for introductions, and lots of LinkedIn research, recruiter chats, and applications. 

How has being in NYC changed or developed your career? 
My lab head at Einstein was a phenomenal mentor who enabled me to explore career paths outside of academia, and I am forever grateful for her guidance, support, and enthusiasm. The research funding and industry roles available to scientists in NY are incredible compared to the smaller (but still strong!) Australian market, so I’m embracing the opportunity to learn about the startup sector and clinical translation of fundamental research findings. Being here has opened my eyes to what science can achieve when given sufficient funding and support. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about living/working in NYC? 
One of my mentors back in Melbourne told me to let go of FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s impossible to do everything all at once in a place like NYC, so relax, be present, and enjoy where you are. 

Tell us your favorite NYC cocktail spot & your cocktail of choice
Alice on W13th in Greenwich Village. It’s like going down the rabbit hole…definitely check it out! The vibe and menu are incredible, and you’ll meet super interesting people on both sides of the bar. My insider tip…try the Canterito cocktail with mezcal, cucumber, lime, agave, and sage.

What’s your number one favorite place to escape some of the hustle and bustle of NYC?
My apartment, actually! I find that reading or painting on the couch with my cat is my sanctuary. And I love the crazy of NYC when I can leave and come back—I often escape to go hiking and camping upstate, in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, or out west in the Rocky Mountains (Montana, Utah, Nevada). 

You have first-time NY visitors coming…what are your top 3 tips?
1. Grab a Citibike to explore downtown and cycle the Hudson River Parkway. And take the subway…it’s always an adventure (see IG @whatisnewyork
2. Check out TodayTix for cheap tickets to Broadway (and off-Broadway) shows. 
3. Start your night out at Arthur’s Tavern for an Old Fashioned cocktail and live jazz, get into mischief in the village, then finish up at Marie’s Crisis for a singalong. 

What do you like most about being part of AWNY? 
My life in NYC is infinitely enriched by the community! I’m incredibly inspired by the kindness, generosity, and drive of the women in AWNY, and they’ve supported me through some big life challenges. Being so far from Australia can be really difficult – we’re here to have an amazing experience and build a different life, but naturally, we feel that distance from friends, family, and life back home. So having the Aussie community (through AWNY, America Josh, and the American Australian Association) brings a lot of comfort and joy. 

To find out more about Kathy’s work at Gameto, please email kathy@gametogen.com.

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