Start up culture can be one of the most toxic work relationships to enter into.

It’s predatory on believers and exploits young enthusiasm of those involved. Simply put, it’s awful. But like all work environments it doesn’t need to be that way and if it is or is not is dependent on the boss boss.

I have been fortunate enough in my start up experience to work with Kate. The only toxic work environment I know is from college years serving at a diner and horror stories of my peers. When I tell them my “board meetings” mean paddle boards, shoes aren’t required, and my days are usually outside scribbling on giant pads of paper and then making sense of it on my laptop there’s a wave of jealousy. That I hit the jackpot.

And that’s just the surface level perks.

Shoes or no shoes, the real toxicity of start up comes in the unrealistic expectations of how much someone will work and what they’ll give up for the company. So here are the real perks, Kate didn’t ask me to take a pay cut in support of the business with promise of lucrative return later. Instead she paid me my rates.

A fair wage for the work she expects of me.

Which is real perk number two. Kate doesn’t subscribe to hustle culture. In a world where start up and work until you drop are synonymous, that level of exhaustion is not placed on me, the employee. She takes responsibility for the countless hours of starting her company and gives me sustainable work hours, hours that avoid burnout so well that I end up doing more work on my own purely because I want to.

This isn’t the first start up adventure I’ve been on with Kate. About a year and a half ago she launched NOAP and shortly after came a need for social media. I informally pitched the idea of using TikTok as a way to reach people after I’d had my own success on the app. Showing Kate how to use it resulted in her first video going viral with 1.3 million views, 16 thousand followers, and tripled sales for the week.

She didn’t hog me, instead she took that success and let me use it as a kick off to my own career in social media management and consulting.

This is the women supporting women that I want to see.

There’s become an emptiness to "women's empowerment": the tote bag, pins and hashtags aren’t enough. Women supporting women has to be action, has to be networking, referrals, and celebration of successes without feeling like you now “owe” who’s helped you.

Kate has added substance to that women supporting women claim. She does so with me, she does so with every other female creative I see her interact with.

Combining all these together creates the company culture that Kate strives for. A fun and healthy environment where productivity is there but not at the expense of sleep schedules, family time, and personal hobbies. I still have a life outside of the work I do, but the life I also have at work is ridiculously fun and makes working enjoyable, the key to sustainable. Kate please keep me for the entirety of the life of this company.


From Kate:  Whether you stay here or spread your wings elsewhere we love being part of your story and providing a healthy place for you to work.  The world has pushed back our intended launch month after month and prolonged the "boring" part of starting up... thank you for your patience as we get all those ducks in their rows.