Q&A with Maryam Antikchi, Forty Under 40 Winner 2021; Founder and CTO, Ecoation Innovative Solutions Inc., Age 39
Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?
We are solving a huge problem in a big market and I have had to learn to be laser focused on milestones. It is especially important for me as a working mother of two young kids to ensure I have space for quality work and time with family.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Netflix with my husband and bakery dates with my daughters.
What is the best book you would recommend?
For work: Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, Good to Great by Jim Collins. For life: The Help by Kathryn Stockett and The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates.
Now that you are (or are close to) entering your forties, what goals have you set for yourself?
My goals are very different now than they were before entering my thirties. I now aim to be: happy, fulfilled, making progress, learning, growing and helping to move the needle for women at work in big ways and small ways.
What was your childhood career dream?
I wanted to be a heart surgeon and chartered accountant — always went back and forth between the two.
Name your happiest place.
Tofino with my family.
What was your toughest business or professional decision?
To pivot in the middle of the pandemic — but it worked out! Sometimes, as entrepreneurs, we fall so deeply in love with our ideas that we end up with blinders. The pandemic forced me to focus on finding product-market fit.
What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
You are enough. You can and will do amazing things — you don’t have to try to fit in — it is simply not worth it. You bring something different to the table and it’s a strength, not a weakness. I follow this advice with my company too — dare to be different!
What is your best habit?
Follow up and follow through! I make sure to follow up with mentors, clients, advisors, friends and family and follow through on my commitments.
Tell us one improbable fact about yourself?
I was engaged to be married, twice — at the age of 15 and 17, respectively. If I can navigate that, I can literally do anything.
Best piece of advice ever received?
Focus on proving the people who champion you right, instead of focusing on proving the naysayers wrong. Motivations matter.
Biggest learning (about life or business) during the pandemic?
Sometimes we need a global pandemic to figure things out. Whether that means to focus on the right key areas of life or business. In the end, what matters most is that we have loved, lived and built something meaningful together.
What career highlight are you most proud of?
Building a bootstrapped tech company from the ground up, hiring great people and achieving profitability.