Antonieta and Eva Maria

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Photo: Suste Bonnén

“Antonieta’s courage inspires me", says Eva Maria about her Bolivian mentee. Their meetings are more about inspiration and brainstorm than guidance.

Antonieta was born in Bolivia and moved to Copenhagen in 2004. She has had a challenging professional life from the moment she started working, as a graphic designer and an illustrator of children’s books.

In Bolivia, Antonieta had worked as a project manager at a children's museum, she had run a national campaign for the Ministry of Education, and done freelance work for various multilateral organisations. She was also teaching visual communication, semiotics and illustration at a number of universities in La Paz.

When she came to Denmark, she did not have a professional network and could not find jobs in her area of expertise. So she joined KVINFO’s Mentor Network because she needed someone who could be a sparring partner, someone to talk to about approaching Danish publishing houses and arousing their interest in her talents.

She was matched with Eva Maria, who had worked in the advertising industry for many years but had just started her own publishing house.

Their first meeting took place in a nice café that Eva Maria knew well, not far from Antonieta’s house. Antonieta was somewhat nervous. She had such great expectations. She wanted to show Eva Maria all the things she had accomplished right away. Now she smiles at the memory of that meeting, and says: “I had all my books with me, but it is impossible to display your life across a table.”

Eva Maria was relaxed and focused. She proposed that they use their time efficiently by outlining and discussing a plan and certain goals, and she wanted to set dates for future meetings. By the time that first meeting was over, both knew they would continue seeing one other. They quickly built up a rapport that in time became mutual respect and admiration.

“I realised I had met a very interesting person,” explains Eva Maria. “I’ve always looked forward to our meetings.”

For Antonieta an hour with Eva Maria means total immersion. They only speak Danish when they are together and they don’t spend much time on guidance. Instead, they brainstorm.

“I know very well that it is up to me to find ‘the job’ I want in Denmark, but I am learning a lot from Eva Maria’s fresh outlook on things and from her knowledge of the editorial business.”

The relationship has become more personal over time. Last year they both enrolled in the same workshop.
“Antonieta’s courage inspires me when we do things together,” acknowledges Eva Maria. “She is always willing to take a chance, to go that one step further.”

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