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7 Questions on Leadership with Nicole Drew

Name: Nicole Drew

Title: Founder & CEO

Organisation: Rater Inc

Nicole Drew's education is in counseling psychology with an emphasis on evolutionary psychology. She has worked in executive support for 18 years for companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Samsung. After many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nicole is now based in the San Diego, CA area.

Nicole launched Rater on the app stores in 2022 after becoming a victim of a dating app romance scam in 2018. The experience of being victimized showed Nicole that there is little recourse for dating app scam victims and absolutely no way to warn other potential victims. Over 1 billion was lost worldwide in romance scams in 2022 alone, and that figure is only increasing yearly.

Rater is a unique "Anti-Catfishing" online singles social platform that vets the user profiles with a combination of AI + human feedback and reviews. Rater is wholly focused on user authenticity & honesty.

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Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Nicole's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

As a first time entrepreneur / CEO, I have found balancing Rater responsibilities & personal life /family and "turning my mind off" the most challenging. I have so many ideas and infinite passion for Rater and the mission behind it that I often burn myself out physically and mentally. We are constantly gathering user feedback and working to improve the functionality and features based off the customer preferences that it feels to me as the leader that there is so much to accomplish, and only so many hours in the day!

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was victimized in a romance scam in 2018 by a person whom I was matched with on a very well known dating app platform, so I used this negative experience to forge a shift in trust and safety features in the online dating sector. I launched Rater in 2022 in the United States to start and the platform is growing rapidly and is planned for international user expansion n 2024.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I'm a night owl, so I am not a super early riser. I know the old saying is "the early bird gets the worm, but that doesn't apply to my work style! I need coffee before I can even function mentally, so I have my coffee and start my work mid morning, then I take a short break in the afternoon to walk my dog, Lola. Getting outside for fresh air and exercise is crucial. I later get on my Peloton for more exercise and a break in the day. I eat dinner (vegetarian!) and then I go back to work about 8:00pm and work a few more hours.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

I recently was reminded that the feedback and opinions of our Rater platform users is most important and relevant over any VC's or Angel investors or other employee etc. The customer is key and they rule the kingdom! And this advise came from an investor....

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

I was recently given a book by a business mentor I greatly respect and admire. I do admit I've only started reading it, so I'll have to get back to you on it!

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

I'd say to always stay the course, even when the days get long and there are highs & lows. Don't let "no" get you overly discouraged. Take it as advice only. You are there for a reason and the passion will keep you burning inside.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I think the most meaningful story I've heard recently is that my journey with starting Rater has inspired a friend to follow her passion, change careers, and start her own business (after months of intense trainings).

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