Bold Moves: How Rosie’s Quest for Learning and Adventure Led to Nutromics

Royina Bakshi Lock

What prompts a successful Intellectual Property attorney and Partner at a leading firm to give it all up to join a fledging start-up with four employees? For Rosie Stramandinoli, Head of IP at Nutromics, the reasons were impact and learning. Rosie was introduced to Nutromics’ founders through Dr Buzz Palmer, the founder of the MedTech Actuator Program and one of her Executive MBA professors. A zoom call and short consulting period later, Rosie is now beginning the fourth year of her full-time professional journey with Nutromics.

Her experience transitioning from the structured world of IP law firms to the Wild West of start-ups teaches us the importance of learning, growing, and leaving an impact as a seasoned executive.

Early days

Nutromics was the first start-up Rosie had worked at and things here were quite different to what she had experienced in her career so far. But she took the change in her stride, excited to start blending her deep expertise with the agility Nutromics offered. Elaborating she said “I came from what was a very long-established IP law firm. I came from somewhere that was structured, had a lot of things in place, and didn’t move very quickly. So, when I came to Nutromics I was keen to roll up my sleeves and get things organized and structured.”

While she had expected the unpredictability and fast pace of start-ups, something that she was positively surprised by was the camaraderie and informal learning opportunities they offered from day one. “Coming on-board so early I noticed that you really got to know each other and learn what everyone else was doing either by just overhearing or being a part of multiple projects, contributing when you needed to,” Rosie shared about her early days at Nutromics.

Start-ups often position themselves as the antithesis of “big corporate” culture. Knowing that, however, does not make the transition any easier. For some, the change in pace, culture, and expectations may feel overwhelming. For Rosie it was a breath of fresh air.  “I really wanted to help clients and in the environment that I was in, I felt like I was too far removed from my clients to understand what they were really going through and all I wanted to do was help them succeed. Personally, I wanted to open up to learning and put all my skills to use, which expanded far beyond patents. This is what drew me to start-ups, it was a fresh adventure with new challenges, innovation, and growth,” Rosie commented.

Authenticity, learning, and belonging

Being one of the early employees at Nutromics, Rosie wore many hats. Besides IP, Rosie also helped manage People and Culture (P&C) at Nutromics. Though she had been a people manager in the past, Rosie was by no means a HR expert. However, she embraced the role, pushing herself to learn about the field while bringing her personal empathy and values to it.

“As Acting Head of P&C, I helped on-board people from academia and overseas. It was a part of my nature to ensure that our very smart and talented people would not just settle into work but were also settled and comfortable outside of it. Belonging has always been very important to me and even now I carry that forward in the company beyond the initial role,” she said beaming with pride.

Continuing to be a champion for belonging in the workplace, Rosie established Women of Nutromics – an internal network that provides a safe space for the women at Nutromics to learn from each other, access mentoring, and feel heard. This network has organised seven sessions focusing on a range of topics from leadership to uncovering and challenging bias. Rosie’s active involvement in this initiative has made her a confidant and trusted advisor to the women at Nutromics. Furthermore, it’s allowed Rosie to bring her authentic self to work, channelling her passion and creativity to areas she cares about in this stage of her executive career.

Being bold

Start-ups favour the bold – those who can forge a part when the future is unknown.

This is true regardless of the size of the team. Since 2020, Nutromics has grown from five to over fifty-five employees. Rosie believes that each of them have a role to play in building out the company’s path for the years to come. “Even though at 55 we’re bigger than a few small businesses, unlike an established company, this is not something we’ve been doing for decades. At a start-up we’re all contributing to the foundation of a company and that’s something that doesn’t happen by accident. It has to be purposeful by asking questions like ‘Where do I want to go?’, ‘What can I influence?’ and so on, because we are all contributing to the road that will create a path,” she said.

Rosie believes that people considering a career in start-ups can demonstrate this boldness right from the interview process. “There is more to work here than having the right skills. It’s the culture, the environment, and what you’re working towards. If you’ve been called for an interview, you’re most likely capable of doing the job. So, this is the time to ask questions that will tell you whether this environment is right for you or not,” she advises.  

For Rosie, moving to start-ups after 30 years at a law firm was one of the biggest pivots in her career. Driven by a desire to make a difference through her work and to challenge herself, establishing herself in start-ups has been a labour of love. She has never looked back.