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#GEANTwomeninSTEM: Irina Mikhailava

In honour of Women & Girls in Science Day and International Women’s Day, two important days marked by the United Nations and celebrated across the globe, we are celebrating the women in our community. As our wonder women are involved in many fields, we decided to focus on specific fields and this year we are highlighting the women in Trust & Identity! Like everything in the world of GÉANT, our trust and identity team is a strong collaboration between women (and men!) all over the globe.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to our colleagues working for T&I, which shows perfectly in this series.

Let us introduce you to Irina Mikhailava, Learning and Development Champion.


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Irina Mikhailava and I work as the Head of Learning and Development at GÉANT.

What is your study and professional background?

I hold a PhD in Management Learning and Leadership.

How did you end up in STEM?

I am not directly in STEM, however scientific work is not totally share of academic thinking when I was doing my PhD and teaching at the university. My special interest has always been with understanding and navigating complex system, particularly human systems like teams or organisations, and there are a lot of analogies with classical disciplines like physics as well as with engineering.

Are there any challenge(s) you face as a woman in STEM (personal, in the sector, in T&I)?

I think the biggest challenge for women in STEM, as well as for women in general, is the challenge of overcoming (self-)perceptions of what a woman should or should not do, or what what should or should not be. Sometimes this mindset inspires action but most often stops women from taking action, which then results in disregard and underrepresentation. Shedding these self-(dis)beliefs is the a way forward, in my view.

What is it you do in the field of T&I?

My role is to ensure the state-of-the-art knowledge and skills within the T&I community. Interestingly the skills don’t only concern technical competencies, but also reach out into the professional competencies like communication skills or inter-cultural collaboration. In combination, they are important for delivering T&I services within our community. I am also actively involved in collaborating on the T&I incubator where the aim is to identify and support viable ideas for new products and services.

Name your greatest experience or achievement in T&I work

When thinking about a personal achievement, what comes to mind is my exponential growth in understanding the solutions and technologies under the umbrella of T&I. I remember during my first meeting in the role I was introduced to such long words as authentication and authorisation which at the time made me nervous. Now, I feel confident, curious and excited about the T&I work.

Any inspiring words for our readers?

Have fun, stay curious and question everything. Assumptions are often the first block to innovation.


From all the men and women at GÉANT, we would like to show our gratitude to the female career tigers, young professionals, researchers, students, mothers, experts, in short all the hard working women contributing to not only trust and identity, but all the work we are doing in R&E networking.

Make sure to keep an eye on the GÉANT blog and social media channels and follow the campaign under #GEANTwomeninSTEM.

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