Tineke Van Hooland about the bio tech industry and taking opportunities
Tineke holds a master's degree in pharmaceutical sciences, specialising in industry, from the University of Ghent. For 16 years, she held various leading positions in biopharmaceutical companies within the corporate scene.
Since 2019, she runs her own company Epic 10, a boutique consultancy that supports companies in the life science industry in communication and policy with the aim to highlight the value of science to society and make a positive impact on healthcare.
Furthermore, she is deputy secretary general at the Belgian Biotech Federation and chairwoman of the National Associations Council at EuropaBio.
But it doesn't stop there. Tineke is also active in politics. She is a member of the Oudenaarde city council and since November 2020 national chairwoman of Open VLD Vrouwen. Tineke is an advocate of gender equality, women empowerment and female leadership.
Men and women are different, but gender equality is about having equal opportunities and being able to take them.
Tineke's definition of Work Fashion
Work fashion to me is a combination of identity and personality on the one hand and on the other hand the perception of how you are perceived by people in such a way that there is a link with your personality and the job you do.
It is important that when you go somewhere or come into contact with people, that you feel good and create your own identity. It is important that you trust and feel good about yourself so that you stand strong - in my case, literally in my stilettos - to do your job. I also think it's important that if you have a job where you come in contact with a lot of people, that you have a good appearance. I think that work fashion, or how you present yourself, is often underestimated. Of course it is difficult to determine from day one what works best for you. I believe that people need to experience that process and try out a number of things. It is especially important that women - and also men - are aware that work fashion is important and therefore have to go through a process to find out what works for them.
When I didn't have a leadership position, it was more the internal part that was important. By getting a leadership position, the internal part has decreased, and the external part has come in.
When it comes to my personal style, I am someone who looks at the trends, but I think it is important that you incorporate your own identity into the trends. Authenticity is and remains very important. I have a spirited style myself. I do not want to blend in. So I always make sure there is a touch of colour yet corporate. I like to wear blazers, and in the winter I choose black ones and in the summer light colours. I also like to add a touch of modern vintage.
As women in the bio tech industry
I am the deputy secretary general of Bio.be, which means I have a lot of contact with member companies, as well as people in the political world. That is why it is important to have a good and businesslike appearance. I also come into contact with clients through my business or I go prospecting. So there too, a business appearance is important.
The biotech industry is not very different from other corporate industries. For example, from Monday to Friday you had a more formal dress code and Friday was the typical casual Friday. Sometimes I joined Casual Friday, but I also have my rebellious side and went against it by keeping my style. I can understand that companies implement casual Friday to loosen up a bit. But again, I think it's important that it remains both business-like and a reflection of your own style. Personally, I don't applaud the casualisation trend. It would be a pity if the class and style we knew for decades would be lost within the business world.
The importance of taking opportunities for women empowerment
When we talk about women empowerment, I mean taking opportunities. I have never felt that I did not get opportunities. I have had many opportunities and I have always taken them. So we need to help women to take opportunities. Think about salary negotiations, for example. This can be at the root of the wage gap. So let us help women and girls to negotiate their salaries.
Of course, we carry a history with us and women and men are inherently different. That is why I believe that women empowerment should in principle be part of our education. There also needs to be sisterhood among women, which unfortunately is not always the case. We also need more men to act and we don't see that in all sectors yet. I often get the comment that in Open VLD Vrouwen there are only women, while men are also welcome. Men and women are different, but gender equality is about having equal opportunities and being able to take them. That is the essence to work on. We need both men and women for that. Men need to give opportunities and women need to take opportunities.
But I am definitely positive. Many people are working on it and making it discussable - like us with Open VLD Vrouwen, UN Women, Women Inc. etc. - and the young generation is also addressing the topic. We still have a way to go, but good steps have already been taken.