Making Waves as a Young Professional in Partnerships & Marketing
This article is part of our Women in Partnerships series, highlighting female professionals in the partnerships space. To learn more about the series and the Women in Partnerships group, check out the series intro.
Natasha Nowicki is relatively new to the partnerships industry, having started her career as a licensed insurance agent before moving into SaaS marketing, with expertise in the insurtech, fintech, and real estate industries. Today, Natasha is a Senior Marketing Associate, Revenue & Growth at Rhino, a security deposit alternative company.
Today, Natasha joins us to discuss her journey into partnerships, her experience in a traditional, male-dominated industry, and advice for other women in the industry.
Supporting Partnerships & Marketing at Rhino
Natasha joined the Rhino team in August 2021 as a Senior Marketing Associate, Growth & Revenue, handling partner relations, engagement, and retention. In her role, she partners with landlords, development groups, and ownership groups.
As a security deposit alternative company, Rhino’s goal is to be part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis. Natasha explained, “Rhino is security deposit insurance that replaces the need for a traditional security deposit. Our security deposit alternative removes barriers for renters by offering renters a smart, affordable option. Rhino helps landlords by reducing administrative costs as well as increasing protection across their portfolio and helping to fill vacancies faster. Rhino seamlessly integrates with all major property management systems, including Yardi, RealPage, Entrata, Rent Manager, MRI, and more, enabling a more streamlined leasing process.”
Natasha’s Path to Partnerships
Natasha started her career as an insurance agent in property-casualty and life and health. “When I was an agent, I started in a small, saturated, and established market. I had to market myself and our agency in a way that appealed to the established client base as well as new potential clients and generations. This pushed me to invest greatly in social media marketing and local networking. I got to see the results in real-time and hear direct feedback, which helped me learn if my strategies were resonating or not. That made it easy to adjust my strategy based on real-time feedback and results.”
After cutting her teeth in insurance, Natasha shifted to focus more on marketing. “After pivoting away from an insurance brokerage role I joined a SaaS marketing agency that allowed me to further develop a broad set of marketing skills as a Marketing Strategist. I was also able to gain more experience within the Insurtech, Fintech, Pharmaceutical, and Real Estate Industries. From there, I gained more experience through freelancing. I worked with a lot of small brands and startups defining their brand and developing their marketing strategy.”
Natasha then moved away from the agency and freelancing life to specialize at an independent brokerage. “Before Rhino, I was at an independent private insurance brokerage as their brand and marketing manager. I led the brand and marketing department, handling all aspects of internal and external brand and marketing. In my role as the Brand Manager, I developed a strategic plan to gain and maintain brand equity and value, as well as ensure our brand integrity was maintained across all company marketing initiatives and communications. As a Marketing Manager, I developed and implemented creative and unique strategies to drive customer interest through multiple media channels. During my tenure I assisted with several acquisitions, helping to define overarching goals, articulate and execute tactical plans, and monitor/manage key business metrics.”
Natasha decided to move to Rhino, which was a natural transition after all of her experience in insurance and marketing. “Since I started my career as an agent, before moving into a marketing role for an independent broker. Joining Rhino was truly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Although I wasn’t looking for a new role, I knew this opportunity was too good to pass up. I am fortunate to work for a company that’s ideals align with my own. Most companies have a lot to say about their ‘culture’ but not many truly have a positive one. Rhino demonstrates their commitment to and appreciation for their employees every day, and their culture shows through everything they do. I’ve never worked for a more mindful and supportive company, it makes coming to work every single day a positive experience that I’m excited for.”
Reaching Incredible Heights as a Young Professional
While there isn’t any single accomplishment Natasha points to as her proudest, she has a lot to be proud of. “Looking back now, as somebody without a traditional education, it’s kind of surreal to see where I am and the fact that it was possible. While it was happening, it didn’t feel like I was gaining a lot of ground. But now that I’m here, it’s incredible to see what I’ve accomplished and how far I’ve come.”
On her experiences, Natasha continued, “The insurance industry itself is still pretty traditional and male-dominated. Breaking out into that space as a woman, with a non-traditional background was difficult, but I think the industry is really changing as new generations advance in their careers and move into decision-making roles. I still experience imposter syndrome sometimes, but working at Rhino, amongst so many female leaders, has helped me continue to gain confidence.”
The Impacts of Being a Woman in the Insurance Industry
Natasha explained that her experience as a woman has evolved as she’s grown in her professional career. “Initially, it was very intimidating. I think in the professional sphere itself, not only in insurance, it’s male-dominated. I think we’re making great progress, but we obviously have a long way to go. Another challenge is that, at least where I grew up, I was a minority. I always stood out and felt a little out of place. Being younger and starting out in my career, I was dealing with those added pressures. Having to navigate that without any roadmap was challenging. Now, I’ve learned to lean into those differences, turning them into an advantage, and realized as long as I am standing out, it may as well be for a good reason. You control people’s perceptions of you, so you need to be confident in who you are and what is important to you.”
Natasha was lucky to have a fantastic mentor she could turn to for inspiration. “Ania Caruso wasn’t a formal mentor but I worked with her in different capacities for several years. She’s both strong and authentic. Ania never lets anything stop her. She’s gracious, confident, giving, and kind — she’s always willing to help someone or have a conversation and just listen or give you advice.”
“It can be a challenge to balance being a strong, confident woman and not appearing too harsh, critical, or ‘not nice’, but still be taken seriously. Rhino is definitely a disrupter and game-changer in the insurance industry. We have lots of women in the organization — there’s probably a 60/40 split, with more women than men in leadership roles. It’s also an extremely diverse company. It’s the first company I’ve worked at where I’ve joined meetings and found more people who look like me than don’t. They truly walk the walk — they’re inviting, open, and supportive of cultivating your own career path and encourage professional growth whenever possible. They are fast-paced, determined, and extremely innovative — never being afraid to fail or make a mistake which in turn allows them to constantly grow and improve.”
Natasha’s Advice for Others in the Industry
Natasha has accomplished a lot by taking an unconventional path in her career. “Without a traditional degree that sometimes presented a barrier for me, but I never accepted that as an obstacle. As long as I was confident that my skill set matched and that I would provide value, I always was able to prove that. If there was a skill or experience I didn’t have, I found a way to gain that through courses, certifications, or freelance experience. One of the most important things I ever learned was to create my own opportunities in life. You can’t rely on others to offer you what you want or deserve. I don’t have the patience for that.”
For others in the industry, Natasha shared, “Don’t let anybody limit you or define you or your career path. It’s ok to take a different path than everybody else. It’s ok to pivot at any point or redefine yourself. Don’t ever feel like you don’t belong because you do belong. If there isn’t space for you, make space for yourself.”
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