Arta Team Spotlight
Q&A with Natascha Martens, Partnerships at Arta
Arta Team Spotlight
October 28, 2022
It’s not easy keeping up with Natascha Martens. She’s a multilingual tech professional, marathon runner, and mother of two. If you’d like to attempt keeping pace with her, try running through the Italian countryside on your NordicTrack treadmill -- a fun, interactive feature that Natascha helped bring to life when she worked on Google Maps. She’s on the partnerships team at Arta.
Your career started in academia. What inspires a multilingual language teacher to transition into a tech career?
I have an international background. I went to 3 schools, in 3 countries, in 3 languages. I studied Romance Languages and Literature in college and speak 5 languages. After school, I went to work as a language teacher for 2 years. Can you tell I’m passionate about languages?
I loved academia but teaching is a tough job and the pay doesn’t reflect the importance of the role. I was fortunate enough to find an opportunity in tech sales, thanks to my experience with multiple languages. They needed someone who could cover everything from Eastern Canada to Latin America, which meant my French, Spanish, and Portuguese language skills came in handy! Speaking a variety of languages helped me reach a diverse, global audience and opened opportunities across borders.
It sounds like your passion for languages started early. What drives that passion?
People share their true selves when speaking in their native language - and I love connecting with others. Learning a language allows me to be an insider and interact with people at a deeper level. That was the motivating factor in the beginning and it holds true today.
I try to converse in different languages whenever I can. In my former role at Google, these opportunities came up every day. Here in Austin, TX, there are plenty of chances to speak Spanish. I speak English and Portuguese at home. I speak French and Italian when traveling. Languages open so many doors for connecting to people, learning, and growing as an individual.
There is a lot of connecting and learning within the Arta team these days. What has stood out for you?
I was surprised that learning about financial topics can be such an emotional experience! Writing a will, creating a trust for my kids, and choosing life insurance can trigger a lot of feelings. No one likes to think about the worst-case scenarios, but avoiding them altogether can have terrible consequences. For example, having a will and trust means you can choose a guardian for your children if the worst happens. It’s critical to have that safeguard in place.
Doing this kind of “financial housekeeping” was stressful for my husband and me, but once we did it, we actually felt tremendous relief.
I understand you’re a strong advocate for women’s financial education. Can you tell me more about that?
Firstly, there are serious consequences for women that don’t learn about personal finance. I see it often. Unfortunately, there is a high divorce rate in the United States. And statistically, women tend to outlive their partners. In either of these scenarios, the woman must know how to manage money.
Secondly, confidence, grounded in knowledge, allows for more options. This goes for all women - young, old, married, and unmarried. Even if you’re not interested in finance per se, you should learn anyway so you don’t miss out on valuable financial opportunities.
On a personal level, my number one priority is being a mom. Anything that allows me to have the time and mental presence to be with my children, truly in the moment with them, is the best money spent.
Can you tell me more about that? How do you use money to get more time? What’s the relationship between time and money?
We often talk about ways to save and grow money, which makes sense because we all need enough money to support ourselves and our families. However, we talk less about how to acquire more time. Once I was fortunate enough to have all the basics covered, time became the most important resource of all.
Now, as a mom, I’m especially open to investing my money in ways that pay me back in time, not solely monetary returns. I spend considerable time finding babysitters, planning celebrations, researching summer camps, walking our dog, booking travel, managing meals, and the list goes on. When I’m multitasking while taking care of my kiddos, I’m not 100% present with them.
Knowing how important it is for me to be present with my children, a friend suggested I try outsourcing some of my time-intensive chores. At first, I was skeptical - I questioned it as a luxury expense that wouldn’t be worth the money. However, when I tried it, I got so much time back! Less stress, more balance, and more time to spend connecting with my kids. Priceless value.
Drawing from your experience with personal finance from investing to “buying back” time, what advice would you give to your younger self regarding money?
Sometimes learning a new skill or topic can feel overwhelming. I felt that way when I was learning to play chess. I wanted to learn because during the Covid quarantine, my then- 6-year-old fell in love with the game and I wanted to help her practice. It’s complicated; there are many rules, and strategies and you have to think many moves ahead. At first, it feels like too much work and it’s easy to give up! But step by step I developed the skills and confidence.
We took it one step at a time. One piece at a time. One strategy at a time. It became really fun.
Now my daughter goes to chess tournaments and weekend competitions. I help her practice as much as possible. I’ve also gotten pretty good at the game although she still beats me most of the time.
Learning money management is like learning the game of chess, or anything else that seems really intimidating at first. It’s that first step that’s most important - all you have to do is take it.