Client Profile: Catherine LaSpina
A client who understands the value of hard work and doesn't let anything deter her from her dreams.
Catherine LaSpina has tackled a lot of challenges in her life and currently she is taking on the challenge of being an entrepreneur and doctor at the same time. While this balance between roles is no easy feat, Catherine knew she wanted to pursue these careers since being a child and was willing to do what it takes to reach these goals. Throughout the process of med school, she has earned her MBA and just recently launched an official version of her app, Narty - The Neighbor Party. We luckily had the chance to talk with Catherine and learn more about her accomplishments thus far and how she’s grown her business.
5 Things You Need to Know About Catherine:
Founder of Narty – The Neighbor Party. This app helps you meet new people and make friends with people who not only live in your apartment or dorm, but also enjoy the same things as you.
Has a goldendoodle named Mazie (remember that for later).
Graduated with an MBA this year and is set to graduate with her MD next year.
Enjoys listening to startup podcasts. One of her recommendations is Startup Straight Talk.
A very intelligent, articulate individual that sets her sights on something and isn’t afraid of the hard work and effort it takes to achieve those goals.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Energetic, innovative, and curious.
Can you share some background on how your entrepreneurial journey started and where you are now?
My parents owned a business and I worked there, which sparked some initial interest in entrepreneurship, but I’d always wanted to pursue medicine. I satisfied my interest in entrepreneurship through different pitch competitions but it wasn’t until I began med school that I encountered a problem I really wanted to fix. It was difficult to meet new people with common interests and make friends in my area, specifically ones in my apartment building. That’s where I got the idea for Narty and began developing the app.
Is there anything you would do differently? If so, what?
Not necessarily. I learned a lot along the way, and while I wish I knew those things earlier, I can apply them going forward.
What’s the most valuable thing you learned along your journey?
That you need to be persistent. You really need to see yourself as a founder and believe that you can achieve it.
What method did you find most helpful for promoting your business?
I found using local spots and putting up and passing out flyers to be the most helpful in getting sign ups for the app.
What advice would you give to students pursuing an idea?
I’d say to set realistic expectations and not get discouraged. Start slow and small and work towards your goals, it’s okay if things don’t go as planned.
How do you balance work and school?
I try to set priorities for what’s most important to me and then find the time to focus on those things. That being said, school and life come up and it’s important to not be hard on yourself and don’t feel guilty if you can’t finish all those plans you set.
What is one of your proudest student and/or career moments?
Creating the Narty app. I launched a very basic version in the app store in March 2021 to get feedback and a few weeks ago I launched an updated version that I’m marketing more heavily.
How would you describe the entrepreneurial mindset?
I believe the entrepreneurial mindset is always looking at your environment and thinking about how something can be done better or improved. Thinking does it exist and if not, how can it fit in the marketplace.
What role has LaunchNET played in your life/venture?
LaunchNET was a great way for me to scratch that itch for entrepreneurship. I participated in workshops and competitions to build up skills such as leadership and communication. Along the way, I also learned a lot and made important connections.
What’s something that makes you happy?
*instantly smiles* my goldendoodle, Mazie and Noodle.
What was the last photo you took?
My two dogs, they’re both goldendoodles. Their names are Mazie and Noodle.
Do you have a life motto that you follow?
Thank you for discussing your startup journey with us, Catherine! You’ve had such a unique experience and we’re so glad you had the time to share it with us. Congrats on the official launch of Narty, good luck with the residency interviews, we can’t wait to see where things take you next, and we’re always here to help if you need it.