Kate Adams is one of those people who instantly draws you in. She’s intelligent, beautiful, driven and so charismatic it would be hard for anyone not to like her. Introduced through a mutual colleague, I knew she would be someone I’d enjoy working with, someone who has a great story – past, present and future. I also knew our ‘4 weeks to PR ready’ branding program would suit Kate’s needs perfectly.
Kate has a severely independent spirit, sky-high dreams and she’s a factory of great ideas and experience. She was primarily brought up by her father, a scientist by training and also a brilliant mathematician, who never showed her any gender defined roles. He gave both Kate and her sister the freedom to be who they needed to be and fly where they wanted to fly. From a young age, life’s opportunities were vast and wide.
When Kate’s father passed away in 2014 she was reminded that we really only get one life and time is precious, “you have to make the most of every moment”. As a big believer in gratitude, not only feeling it but showing it, Kate was inspired to start Thankly – a fast, simple way to say ‘thank you’ – an online platform for handwritten gratitude cards and gifts.
I sat down with Kate to chat about the many things she’s achieved to present, the involvement of girls in STEM and just what she aims to achieve with her new startup, Thankly.
Growing up in Canberra, Kate was a very curious child, which is what she believes has really shaped her life to date. She was into and good at everything, with a fair amount of curiosity for life while also being indifferent to failing.
“It didn’t really matter if I wasn’t good at something which has probably led to me, as a girl, going and tackling the maths and sciences and now technology. I’ve always been willing to try new things, which is probably a little bit of nature and nurture. My dad had that natural curiosity but also I was never really told what to do. I had a great deal of freedom to do as I pleased and explore.”
Kate was born with a natural aptitude for science but also really enjoyed writing and communicating with ideas to simplify the conversation around STEM.
“I thought what I would become was a science communicator because I just wanted to show people that science wasn’t scary – I’m not extraordinary.
“People often say to me ‘Wow you must be really smart to be a vet’ and I think, Yes, I worked really hard and was resilient and determined but I’m not a great brain of the world.”
“If women were fostered and supported and encouraged in STEM as well as we are in English and the arts, we would all be exactly the same.”
There were very few options in science when she was studying, and so the natural progression was for Kate to become a vet. She is now part owner at Bondi Vet in Sydney. However, as she moved through university, Kate also supported herself by working as a Bookie’s Assistant, doing some modelling, and running a successful ebay store.
“I was always quite entrepreneurial in what I did. By the time I got to uni I started off in a BA of comms. I knew I wanted to be a vet but I finished the BA anyway. I moved to Perth and was accepted into Murdoch Vet School and now work as a qualified Vet, but my entrepreneurial voice continued to get louder. I’m currently working on several projects, which keeps me very busy. I also raise capital for startups mainly focusing on women in tech.
“I’m about to launch Thankly, and I’ve realised the way to get things done is to outsource. Instead of working in your business you need to be the CEO of the business. I’ve had to understand what I’m not good at. I just need to have the vision and move people forward, and of course, have the cash to do it.”
Kate has always been altruistic and has always wanted to lead a meaningful life. She been inspired to create big things, solve problems and to ultimately leave the world a better place than when she found it.
“Someone once told me you can be more influential with money and power than you can just giving things away.
“I’m quite altruistic, my driving force is money for a reason because I want to leave the world better than I found it. I’d love to run a billion dollar business and see how far that money can go to achieving those goals.”
“I have a saying “follow your feathers”: when you’re a little kid you have no motivation for money or anything, all you do is play. Don’t forget your five year old, the little person that shows real interest or curiosity without agenda. It’s the best way to explore and get to know yourself again. Going back to that little kid is really important. I do that when I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed or uncertain – I go back to my five year old and follow my feathers.”