This month we are celebrating WOMEN. At ManukaRx, this is our norm – every day and always, but we couldn't pass up on the opportunity to do so alongside the rest of the world during International Women's Day (8 March).
International Women's Day (IWD) is a time to recognise and honour the achievements of women in various facets of life – social, economic, cultural, and political. It's also an intentional time to raise awareness of the discrimination and bias women face regularly, as well as to inspire and empower everyone to take action for equality. We are dedicating the whole month of March to celebrating all women, starting with those closest to us – our customers, our team, and our wider community.
To kick things off, we had a conversation with Dr. Suki Harding, our Head of Research & Development and Managing Director of Manuka Therapeutics. During our conversation, we asked Suki what IWD means to her and when she feels the most empowered.Read Suki’s full interview below:
Name: Suki Harding
Occupation: Managing Director, Manuka Therapeutics (Research & Development, Clinical Trials, Intellectual Property)
What does International Women’s Day personally mean to you?
Making a difference in the world as a capable, experienced, and principled woman is hugely important to me. I am inspired by women such as Kate Edger, the first female university graduate in New Zealand who went on to become a suffragist, educationist, and protector of women and children. It is no secret women have to overcome many challenges and jump through many hoops to achieve their life goals. It’s great to have a day to reflect and celebrate how far we have come, and how far we can go.
Women are worth celebrating, not just today, but always. What’s one (or multiple) things that make you proud to be a woman?
I am proud to be a woman since there is pretty much nothing we cannot do! I think back to the time when I was 26. I had an awesome career as a Research Scientist, Manager of the Inorganic Analytical Lab, and Marketing Taskforce Member at DSIR. I was doing my MBA at Victoria University of Wellington in the evenings and loved it. What transformed my life that year was giving birth to my beloved first baby, Ruwan!
If you could meet one woman in the world, who would that be and why?
I would love to meet J. K. Rowling one day. I am inspired by her creation of the highly successful Harry Potter series during an intensely challenging time of her life. I am intrigued by the appeal of HP to both children and adults alike. (I am a big fan, and who doesn’t love Dobby!) When these books were first released, my entire team at the time (at TechNZ) was reading them, and we had to guard against spoiler alerts when we sat down for lunch! I also love her versatility as Robert Galbraith.
What woman/women in your life has inspired you in some way? How did they do that?
My mother was the most inspirational woman in my life. She was incredibly loving and supportive. When I was a child, she often reminded me that I can do whatever I put my mind to. She was a Physics teacher with two university degrees and encouraged me and my sister to have careers and be financially independent. She was way ahead of her time! She demonstrated that it is possible to balance family and career, and have a few hobbies on the side. (She loved to write, paint and potter in the garden). I was heartbroken when she died when I was 24.
When do you feel the most empowered?
II feel most empowered when I know that the things I do everyday are making a difference in people’s lives. I get great joy from my work (showcasing the science behind our hero ingredient, manuka oil) and giving a helping hand to those I am privileged to have in my life, especially young people with career, study and life challenges.
Lastly, what golden nugget could you share to empower other women?
When faced with difficult work or life choices, trust yourself. You have the experience, knowledge, and integrity to do the right thing. If you are not sure, ask questions and seek advice and guidance. “Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all” - Pema Chödrön.