“It’s important to have role models who inspire”
Michelle Cañada is chairperson of Malvina and the contact for its main partner ÅF.
Michelle, can you tell us a little about what Malvina is?
Malvina is KTH’s (Royal Institute of Technology) female network and a student association in the KTH student union. We bring together female students/technologists across all sections and programmes and have over 1,200 members. The aim is to create a community and personal development opportunities for all our members. We work in two groups: business events and social events. The aim of our business events is to connect students and companies. We want our members to have contact with companies that have good values in general, that advocate gender equality and that work actively to hire more women. The aim of our social events is to create a community and personal development opportunities for female engineering students. This could include everything from workshops and case-solving to dinners.
What is your role as chairperson?
My role is to lead the work. I’m ultimately responsible for us reaching our goals, focusing on objectives and making sure that everything is done right I’m also the contact for ÅF, which is our main partner, as well as other external contacts such as the student union. I chair all meetings and am like a living Wikipedia for the entire board. I answer questions, am always available and help the others when they need it.
How does this work in combination with your studies?
It’s a challenge! This week has been chaotic, but generally it works well. I’m used to having things to do besides studying, and I understand that it takes energy and good planning. But it also gives me back a lot of energy and I like what I do.
How is it that Malvina has ÅF as its main partner? What do you get out of the partnership?
ÅF has been a partner for many years now. The reason why we want ÅF as our main partner is that we agree with ÅF’s values, that everyone has equal value. ÅF has really shown that they care about getting more women into the technology industry and about other important issues like sustainability. ÅF shows that they care about the world and its people. The company’s breadth is also an important parameter for Malvina because we target all technology programmes. It’s good to have a partner that’s valuable to all members.
What is the partnership between Malvina and ÅF like?
The board and ÅF meet and do team-building exercises, for example. We’ve usually had two events per year where members are invited, and this year there will be an event now in May. ÅF also participates in the inspiration dinner we have for our members in their first year at KTH. ÅF is usually there to talk about what it means to be an engineer and what you can work with at ÅF. We also write a lot about ÅF in our newsletters so members can keep up to date with what’s happening there.