The moral of the story here is: seize opportunities as they come up, be okay with your plan changing as you grow and definitely apply to attend NYSF to get your journey started!
Kaitlyn Sapier attended the NYSF 2011 Year 12 Program, and since then, she has become tech entrepreneur who aims to revolutionise the Proptech and HRTech space. Her caring spirit is also evident in her fundraising efforts for Movember, for which her team has raised over $30K! By drawing a moustache on her face with makeup, she proves that girls can get involved in Movember too!
"Today, I am a startup founder & owner of a PropTech company called Stash Property and a VP of Sales for Attract.ai (a HRTech startup). A typical day for me involves building new software features that aren’t in market, talking to customers and clients, signing partnerships, and constantly innovating in the hope of one day becoming one of Australia’s multi-million dollar unicorn software companies.
Though, I never would have thought in my wildest dreams this is where my life would be after graduating high school. I had aspirations to become a doctor or a research scientist, while at high school eight years ago. The Head of the Science Faculty at Coombabah State High School, Mal Atree, approached me about attending the NYSF Year 12 Program. Without even thinking I would get in, I gave orientation a go in any case, if not to meet other high achievers in the science realm. By some sort of miracle, my name was called as one of the last to attend the Canberra trip.
In short, I can confidently say that attending NYSF in 2011 was the first giant leap in my journey to becoming an entrepreneur. I did a lot of public speaking, speech writing, debating and problem-solving group activities, which really set me up for the client-facing and negotiation I need to do now.
I met incredible people on the NYSF trip and through the alumni network. I am still in very close contact with two particular guys and I run into NYSF alumni all the time at meet-ups and corporate events. We are everywhere and it’s awesome.
So how did I go from being an aspiring doctor to a startup founder and software developer? Let’s rewind.
The Queensland Core Skills results came out and I had just missed out on the OP, so I did a bridging course of Nursing & Psychology to get a more practical view of the healthcare system before sitting GAMSAT. I found a lot of inefficiencies and was obsessed with how software could make the healthcare system and others lives better. I spoke with an NYSF alumni who I still call a close friend today about my discovery and we brainstormed ways we could tap into tech to drive innovation and efficiency in the changing world we were entering. I started prototyping a cleaning robot that provided mental health relief by being a friend first and a cleaner second - this robot got me on a plane to San Fran with Steve Baxter’s Startup Catalyst’s Youth Mission.
From the moment I landed, I totally fell in love with Silicon Valley and the startup scene. I went to companies like Facebook, Twitter, DropBox, Google, Slack, Uber and smaller places like Boosted Boards and Anki (my favourite robotics company). I came back to Australia a few weeks later ready to take on the world, and fast forward a few years, I’ve joined an amazing community here in Brisbane, which focusses on just that - using tech to uplift and empower others in their domain of expertise.
The moral of the story here is: seize opportunities as they come up, be okay with your plan changing as you grow and definitely apply to attend NYSF to get your journey started! I am still getting value from alumni networks almost 10 years on, as well as the soft skills and confidence the trip gave me.