Women's Day Interview- Katarina Antill
Katarina Antill is the founder and CEO of Bonafi – a RegTech startup in the pharma industry. She has a 10 year background in pharma and 10 years in aviation in various roles. Though she is originally from Sweden, she has spent many years in different countries before moving to Ireland 9 years ago. From an academic perspective, she has a degree in law from Leiden University in the Netherlands and an MBA from DCU in Ireland. One of many quotes she truly finds inspirational and believes in is “It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done”- Nelson Mandela.
1. What does the slogan, “Each for Equal” mean for you in your work life?
To me it’s the most natural thing in the world that woman and men can do the same job. I don’t hire by gender – I hire by fit in the team. However, there needs to be a good distribution of diversity to get the best teams – evidence show that diversity bring innovation.
2. What barriers have you faced, as a women, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
I don’t actually think I have faced too many barriers due to being a woman recently – or perhaps I have just ignored them! Years ago I worked in the aviation industry, focusing on safety equipment for aircrafts - which is a very male dominated field. There was certainly was a tendency for men to “pat” me on the head and try to disregard what I was saying – until they got to know me. Any reservations anyone might have had about me disappeared out the window once they realized that I knew my stuff and probably knew it better than anyone. I made a point of learning everything there was to learn about my field.
3. What does the idea of power mean to you?
The insight to see beyond a person’s gender or background and realize the value of diversity, is true power to me.
4. How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does it mean to you?
I have just finished the Innovate Program for Female Entrepreneurs as a part of being awarded Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund. This was the first time I have ever been a part of a female only group and it was amazingly inspirational and supportive. I think it is incredibly important for females to lift each other up and also ensure the young female’s in your life are properly supported in their career choices. Unfortunately –it’s not always the case that women support women. We have to look at ourselves as women and ask why studies show that even women think that men are better suited to be political leaders!
5. On International Women's Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Focus on following what you are passionate about, and believe you can achieve it. Don’t think about if it’s a job that is traditionally held a gender or another. That is the message that I am giving my 17-year old step-daughter. To believe in her own abilities as a person in this world.