We love featuring Wing members doing #bigthings in life and who support other women along the way. So happy to have connected with Natalie via IG and that she offered a glimpse into her personal and career journey. She’s not only a coach but also the founder of Babes Who Brunch Club, an online, live event, and workshop platform, built to encourage women to reach their highest potential.
We know you will enjoy her interview! Thank you, Natalie!
Name: Natalie Levy
Location: New York City
Education: Master’s in Applied Psychology
How did you determine what to study in college (and grad school!)?
I lost my mother at a young age, and in the midst of my sadness, I realized that I felt most fulfilled while supporting others through their difficult times. When I was 15, I decided that I would pursue psychology. I took college courses in my senior year of high school so that I could go into college a declared Psychology major. After traveling and working for three years I returned to NYC to get my Master’s in Human Development & Social Intervention. I intended to get my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology but two weeks into my Master’s program I realized that it was an old desire. I realized that I wanted to start coaching and implementing my 6+ years of psych related experience, which is what led me to where I am/what I do today!
Walk us through your initial job search strategy and how you landed your first full-time role.
After I graduated from college I took a few months to work in nightlife and save money for a volunteer trip to India! I spent two and a half months in India which was an incredible experience. I highly recommend that people take some time to explore the world and their passions. While I was in India, I was overcome by the desire to move somewhere outside of NYC. I grew up in New York and I didn’t have a job lined up for when I returned (because I didn’t have a return flight booked), and I had just ended a 2+ year relationship. I did a quick search online for job opportunities in Asheville, North Carolina (I had never been there, which is another story altogether). Within ten minutes of searching, I came across a job posting for a paid internship for psychology graduates, that also offered housing. This is basically unheard of. I immediately applied and had a Skype interview a week later, only to be told that I applied late and was on a waitlist! The main strategy I implemented was persistence. I followed up enthusiastically after our initial call, and even though I was waitlisted I followed up 2-3 times expressing my continued interest. In the end, I got a call that someone dropped out and that I got the job! I worked my way up over two years and left to get my Master’s.
How did you go from that first role to your current role—what was that journey like for you?
It’s a story! In summary, I received my Master’s in Applied Psychology but found myself wanting to explore a more fast-paced and business environment. However, I didn’t have any corporate experience and I ended up unemployed for three months and applying to jobs that I was either too qualified for or under-qualified for. Needless to say, I had to get creative. LinkedIn became my best friend and I began networking. Most of the in-person interviews I had were a result of reaching out to the hiring manager directly on LinkedIn. I ended up getting referred to a recruiter at Michael Page which is a Forbes rated, global recruitment agency. It was a sales role which luckily only requires the right amount of resilience and personality. I’m so grateful for the experience because I truly believe that if you can learn to sell, you can do just about anything.
Once I got the job, I invested in a high-level group coaching program. I started coaching shortly after I began working with Michael Page and I was admittedly very busy and very tired. I stayed with Michael Page for 2.5 years before I decided to take the leap and leave the company to spend 2 months in Bali. I spent my time in Bali working with my clients, working on my business plan, and getting certified to teach yoga. When I got back to NYC, I started consulting for Michael Page in a different capacity, continued coaching, and had the financial stability, time, and freedom to start Babes Who Brunch Club. Babes Who Brunch Club is definitely my baby at the moment!
Tell me more about Babes Who Brunch Club.
Babes Who Brunch Club is an event series for womxn in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle and big dreams! Many of my clients expressed that they wished they knew like-minded womxn on similar paths to personal and professional development. Babes Who Brunch Club started as a reimagined way to network. I wanted to create a community of womxn who would support and uplift one another and who are passionate about taking care of themselves and others. New friendships and collaborations are born at every event and I love how the womxn create opportunities for each other. It’s really special!
Babes Who Brunch Club is also on a mission to cultivate change. Our events often touch upon sensitive and important topics ranging from self-love, to intimate health and pleasure with the intention of creating a safe space and a diverse group of thought. We also seek out women-owned products for sponsorship to encourage our attendees to buy from women-owned brands. Where we spend our money is actually very powerful and important.
**I intentionally use the x in womxn to signify that anyone who identifies as “woman” is welcome
Why is this work meaningful to you, and tell me a little bit about why you believe in women supporting women?
I started coaching because I really struggled with my mental health as an adolescent and into my young adult life. I worked through so many self-limiting beliefs, and so much pain and self-loathing. I knew that I wanted to help women navigate through the same pain and reach the other side of it. If I could do it, I believe anyone can do it. The beauty about coaching, and why my clients hire me, is because I can speed up the process of healing for them. I specifically work with creative and entrepreneurial women because they’re who I most relate to and vice versa. Lastly, I watched my mother fight so hard for life and I learned at a young age that life isn’t always long. I want to live to my fullest potential while having as much fun as possible for as long as I’m physically on this planet. And, I want the same for everyone who wants that for themselves.
There is another reason I work primarily with women. My first memory of experiencing sexism is from the 5th grade. I had a science teacher who blatantly enjoyed working with boys more than girls. I remember asking for help on an assignment before class was meant to start and he ignored me so that he could talk sports with the boys. I thought it was outrageous, and I’m pretty sure I told him… To be clear, this was a regular occurrence. I joke that this is when I became a little feminist. As I grew up I learned more about the dangers for women around the world, and of course the disparities in the USA (e.g. wage gap, lack of medical research including women, lack of resources and support to women in impoverished areas, and of course all the social constructs of what women were “supposed” to be like; this is a non-exhaustive list). I decided that I would always advocate on behalf of women. I want to contribute to a world where women (from all backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, religions, races, and ethnicities) are safe, given equal opportunity, and defy the narrow construct of what “womanness” is. Additionally, part of growing up as a woman is having to wade through a lot of damaging messages about success, self-worth, and beauty. I definitely had to navigate my way through these messages! I want my clients and the women who attend Babes Who Brunch Club, to feel like anything is available to them, that they’re worthy of being seen and successful and confident and safe; that they are beautiful; and that they can be super successful in whatever way they measure success. My goal when working with my clients is to help them drop old narratives around the aforementioned constructs and to write narratives that truly allow them to shine from the inside out.
I was also especially lucky to have really strong bonds with many of my friends from a young age (some of us are going on 20 years of friendship) and I really believe that it contributes to my self-esteem and success, which. That is another reason why I’m passionate about creating spaces where women can strengthen old bonds and create new ones through Babes Who Brunch Club!
What advice do you have for young women who are looking to find their “thing” in life, as it relates to their career?
Even if you don’t think that the odd jobs, random experiences, internships, etc., are meaningful, trust me when I say that it will all eventually make sense and come together. Every experience is serving you.
There is so much pressure to find the “one” thing that you want to do for the rest of your life. That’s nuts! Of course, if you find it early, that’s amazing but it’s not necessary. My 15-year-old self thought I would be knee-deep in academic papers with a Doctorate in Psych and a clinical practice already. While psychology is still very ingrained in the work that I do, it’s in an incredibly different way (thank goodness!). So, my point is to figure out what you like doing, at the very least, and pursue something that speaks to it. If it doesn’t work out, then change direction. Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. Be kind and patient with yourself. And most importantly, have fun!
If you know what you want to do, go after it with everything that you’ve got. Don’t take no for an answer. Persistence is important. Connection is potentially even more important. Reach out to people whom you admire. Seek out mentorship. Form relationships with people who have similar goals and interests. Also, never stop educating yourself on your field. It will set you apart.
What has been your biggest career “hurdle” and what did you learn from it?
I’ve had a few! For one, I’ve had managers who were very difficult for me to work with. I handled it by making sure I did everything in my power to the best of my ability. It’s easy to write someone off when it’s hard to work with them. But when they’re your boss they have control over whether you progress, your compensation, and in many ways your quality of life. I sought out other mentors to help me when I needed help. I also worked hard to form a relationship with these managers. At the end of my time working with them, we actually had decent relationships. It took a lot of putting my ego to the side and a good amount of open communication. I also always advocated for myself.
The second thing I’d like to share is choosing to leave my job and go to Bali. I didn’t have a safety net. I had a few coaching clients and some savings, but I was definitely stepping into unknown territory. But, the reality is that I was burnt out and needed to reset. There were plenty of difficult things to overcome as a result, but it also worked out better than I could have imagined. Moral of the story, always bet on yourself.
Do you have a mentor? Who do you look to for inspiration and support?
I’ve had mentors in the past, especially while in school. I’ve also hired mentors in the form of coaches. However, I think the people who make the greatest impact in my day-to-day are my friends. Many of my friends are business owners and side hustlers themselves. We hold each other accountable and help each other navigate through the crazy ride that is entrepreneurship. I heard someone call them friend-tors. I would highly recommend surrounding yourself with friend-tors regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Final words of wisdom to all the young women out there who are strategizing to reach their education, career, and wellness goals?
There are no deadlines for your dreams. Timelines aren’t real so don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The “chosen ones” choose themselves. People may not always see your vision as clearly as you see it. They don’t have to. Also, don’t give up. Persistence and perseverance go way further than any natural talent. Your health is not guaranteed so take good care of yourself. Exercise, eat nutritious foods and ask for help (because health includes your mental health). Every experience is a lesson and every person is a teacher. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you realize that everything and everyone is bringing you closer to who you’re meant to be and there are no such things as mistakes. Lastly, you are exactly where you’re meant to be.
If you are open to connecting with our readers, how can they reach you?
IG: @natalie_knows & @babeswhobrunch_club