Fellow Profile — Catharine MacKeigan

University: St. Francis Xavier University

Major: BSc Human Kinetics

Startup: Mavencare

City: Toronto

Hometown: Toronto

What does your startup do?

Mavencare is a home care agency that leverages technology to improve efficiency, clinical quality, and the customer experience to promote aging in place. At Mavencare we are re-imagining what it means to be cared for at home. Our technology optimizes caregiver vetting, matches clients with caregivers, collects community-based data, and serves as a communication hub among the family and the rest of the care team.

Describe a typical day at your startup: (role, day-to-day)

At Mavencare, I am a member of the inbound sales team. In this role, I am responsible for connecting with potential customers and navigating them and their families through their homecare purchasing decision. Each individual and family I interact with is different — some are new to understanding the world of long-term care, and others are in the final phases of decision-making. Mavencare is a collaborative organization and to be effective in my role, I collaborate with colleagues across functions. It is exciting to be a key team member of a high-energy organization that is solving a meaningful problem.

What do you love about working at a startup?

I love working at a startup because I truly believe that every day I go into work, I am learning, improving and contributing in some way. It is never the same routine and there is always a new challenge. It is fast-paced, and you are given a lot of responsibility. It sounds cliché, but you end up wearing multiple hats.

What’s a social issue that you are particularly passionate about?

In my fourth year at StFX I was a student-athlete representative for the Bell Lets Talk initiative — a wide-reaching, multi-year program designed to break the silence around mental illness and support mental health all across Canada. Mental illness is just like any other illness and is not something individuals and society should be embarrassed about. Everyone deserves care, help, and support. Such support from family and friends can and will make a difference. It is so important to get the conversation started when it comes to mental health and illness.

What’s your favorite book?

I would have to say Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. She is a smart, funny (obviously), and an unbelievably hardworking woman.

If you could tell your third year university student self one piece of advice, it would be to….

Enjoy the moment, stop stressing about the future, and stop dwelling on the past.

What is the best part of being a Venture for Canada Fellow?

The value of VFC rests mostly in the network of amazing peers and Canadian start-ups. Over the two-year fellowship, we have the opportunity to learn from like-minded individuals, each with a unique start-up experience. We also have the opportunity to learn from seasoned entrepreneurs.

Why should someone apply to Venture for Canada?

I think the real question is why would you not apply to Venture for Canada? It is a great way to explore a wide variety of topics that you might not have been exposed to while at school.

What is the most important skill you gained as a fellow?

Graduating from university with a Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics does not give you a lot of sales experience, believe it or not. I was apprehensive about my lack of business skills going into the workforce. Beyond valuable skills development at Training Camp, VFC allowed me to further develop confidence in my abilities and also provided support and encouragement along the way.

What qualities do you need to succeed in a startup?

Some qualities that I think are beneficial in order to succeed in a startup are being able to pivot, thinking quickly on your feet, and to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Another quality that I consider to be a catalyst to success is to not be afraid to make mistakes. Most importantly — hustle.

Describe your most memorable experience as a fellow.

Listening to fellow’s presentations on a topic of their choice and learning from such a wide range of experts and experienced entrepreneurs made all five weeks memorable. And of course the camaraderie of living in together in residence again was wonderful.

What advice can you offer to future fellows?

Be authentic. A VFC fellowship is an incredible opportunity that can transform your perspective, open new networks, and shape your career for the long term.