Katerina is an amazing young woman working as Project Manager at Cleantech Estonia.
Katerina’s Social Enterprise journey began whilst she was still studying at Tallin University where she attended a summer program about sustainability and climate change; that was where it all began!
Katerina now focuses on sustainable development and impact assessment for startups. She also creates projects looking for new ways to empower people to learn more about climate change and encourages them to turn concepts into innovation. Not stopping there, Katerina also works with Cleantech to offer workshops about sustainability to schools and gives public lectures at mainstream events.
Why this career?
When Katerina started traveling abroad, moving originally from Greece to Estonia, then to Denmark and on to Malawi, she started observing and embracing the different cultures and their approaches to the environment. She wanted to know more and initiated a quest to understand how to help all these different communities to gain a positive approach to sustainability and the environment. But no quest is worth undertaking if there aren’t any challenges and this was no exception. Cultural differences and nuances were sometimes a challenge and complicated. However, during her trip in Malawi she over-came any cultural disparities and was inspired to see how programs can empower communities financially and environmentally. In this case making the most of solar panels to embrace sustainable energy. “This is what I want to do”, thought Katerina.
Katerina’s journey has not always been smooth. Issues such as gender bias and discrimination are a common place, especially coming to entrepreneurship in a leadership position as a young woman. One thing she often experiences is the assumption of her not being the manager or the one to talk to when important affairs are discussed. Inclusivity and diversity are extremely important for Katerina, so much so that she has halted possible business relationship with those who portrayed extremely high levels of bias against women.
How did Katerina overcome these issues and what does she hope for future generations?
“Don’t let anyone just because he or she grew up in a certain mindset stop you from doing what you want. The more determined that you are the easier it is to overcome any barriers. Because they are not part of your dream. They’re not part of your path. They’re just there. So, you just have to overcome them and learn.”
Achievements & Challenges
Katerina’s biggest achievement are her people. More precisely the change she witnesses in the people she comes in contact with.
“I was very impressed that people were coming to me, after workshops, after training after any experience to share how this has actually transformed them.”
Katerina advises to be courageous and to not be put down by external and even internal factors. She recognizes that it is mentally exhausting and that even at a personal level, falling into the pattern of the Imposter syndrome becomes easy. Katerina comments that women have always had to prove themselves more often than their male counterpart and not having to do so sometimes triggers self-doubt and guilt. It is not necessary, recognize your merits and hard work. Katerina’s experience has taught her to never give up. She states that
“sometimes it happens that you are wrong about something, and you learn from it, so you can be right the time after. Write down your goals, work towards them every day even when you think you will fail”.
Katerina will continue to work on sustainable development and raising awareness about how to adopt more sustainable lifestyles without compromising our quality of life. What is your goal?