Natalie MacNeil (BA ’08, Honours Political Science | Arts and Business) received the Faculty of Arts Young Alumni Award. The award recognizes alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their professional field and in community service.
While studying at Waterloo, Natalie was awarded first place in Canada for the Impact Apprentice National Business Competition. This award earned her the status as one of the “Top 30 Students in Canada.” With her many speaking engagements and busy schedule, Natalie still makes time to connect to her alma mater. In October, she returned to campus to speak to a Political Science undergraduate class about her experiences as a PSCI graduate.
Natalie is an award-winning media entrepreneur, who is best known as the founder and editor-in-chief of She Takes on the World, one of the leading blogs for entrepreneurial women, which appeared on the Forbes list, “Top 10 Entrepreneurial Sites for Women.” She was also the 2010 winner of Blog of the Year at the Stevie Awards, dubbed “the Oscar’s of business awards.”
In May 2012, Natalie was the grand prize winner at a LaunchPad competition in Kitchener, Ontario, where she pitched her latest business venture. Some of her other accolades include “40 Under 40” recipient in 2011; the “Women 100” award from the International Alliance for Women in 2011; and in 2010, she was recognized as Canada’s “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Impact Organization.” She has appeared in many print and online publications including Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Post.
Natalie is the co-founder of Imaginarius, a digital media company known for its ground breaking work in interactive innovations and creative online marketing strategies. She won an Emmy award as the company’s media producer of Out My Window, the world’s first 360-degree interactive documentary which was developed with the National Film Board. Her business partner Vincent Marcone (BA ’97, Geography) nominated her for the young alumni award. “I’ve worked with Natalie for a number of years now, and I’ve come to really appreciate what a wonderful and generous human being she is,” says Marcone. “Her tremendous ambition and positive nature is completely authentic. You can’t help but want to be a better person when you are in her presence!”
Natalie’s ambition is also evident in her community and volunteer work. She often mentors young entrepreneurs through her work with organizations in the Waterloo Region; and serves on the board of directors for Treehaus Collaborative Workspace, a not-for-profit coworking space for entrepreneurs that she co-founded. She is also an inaugural member of the Young Entrepreneur Council comprised of the world’s top young entrepreneurs, business owners, and thought leaders; its mission is to help young people build successful businesses and fight the devastating epidemics of youth underemployment and unemployment.
Being an international media entrepreneur has given her the opportunity to travel the world. “Travelling is one of my biggest interests,” says Natalie. “I’ve been to over 60 countries, and I want to get to 100 by the time I’m 30.” She also has fond memories of her undergraduate days. “I loved the fourth-year seminars in the winter, when I got to wear warm sweaters and have great discussions with amazing people,” she says. “Sometimes I miss those kinds of discussions from Political Science classes.”
Natalie obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Arts and Business Political Science from the University of Waterloo in 2008.