Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'

Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'

Wittenborg Hosts Book Signing Event in Amsterdam

On 20 March, Dr Cara Antoine, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology, Innovation & Portfolio Officer at Capgemini and board member of the Netherlands Chapter at Women in Tech, presented her Amazon bestseller, 'Make it Personal: Discover the Five Dimensions of Human Collaboration in the Workplace'.

Hosted by Wittenborg at its Amsterdam study location, the event brought together Wittenborg staff, students and members of Women in Tech Netherlands chapter to purchase signed copies of Antoine's book and network.


Wittenborg CEO, Maggie Feng, welcomed attendees and provided a brief introduction to the business school. Senior IT Auditor and Women in Tech Youth Ambassador, Reshelle Naidoo then discussed Women in Tech, which aims to empower women and girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) by 2030. Naidoo highlighted the importance of female representation in technology and finance studies, questioning, "How can we accelerate this change?" She also shared a message from the chapter's director, Lieke Lamb, who thanked Antoine' for her leadership and generosity. "Cara's contributions do not end with leadership alone," Naidoo read. "In a remarkable gesture, she has chosen to donate today's proceeds of her book to Women in Tech."

Antoine then spoke about her book in detail.

Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'

From thesis to bestseller: Dr Cara Antoine's success

The book, which was officially launched in October 2023, took Antoine almost six years to write. Referring to her time at Royal Shell, she said, "Imagine being in a place of work, where you are surrounded by brilliant people, who have great ideas and who really want to make a difference, in a sector which is very important for the world, which is the energy sector. But, at the same time, these brilliant individuals could not figure out how to collaborate or learn how to connect with other people."

Antoine later chose to enter into a DBA (Doctorate in Business Administration) at the University of Bradford School of Management in the United States. When it came time to work on her thesis, she had to identify what she wanted to research. The theme of relationships in the workplace emerged, focusing on how our actions influence positive outcomes in collaboration. "I was so inspired by the environment that I worked in, that I thought this was the place where I could study and do my research and understand the dynamics between people."

Antoine then reached out to individuals in large organisations around the world. She also read around four hundred pieces of literature to procure the theoretical side of her thesis. After doing a thematic analysis, Antoine said that it was interesting to peel back the layers and understand that when it comes to trust in an organisation, for instance, there can be negative and positive connotations. Is the organisation stimulating or hindering our progress because of broken trust, for example? Five themes therefore evolved out of this approach. Her study quickly turned out to be a human study, answering questions such as 'What makes people tick?' and 'What are they motivated by?' 

Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'

Antoine then shared that she often challenge the traditional HR systems found in most organisations. They tend to focus on weaknesses, telling individuals they excel in only a few areas. Instead, we should prioritise enhancing their strengths. "By amplifying what individuals are already good at, we unlock their full potential. It's not just about excelling in those areas, it's about expanding the possibilities of what they can achieve. This approach yields much more from each individual."

After completing her thesis, Antoine reflected on how she wanted to contribute to organisational knowledge. "The university told me, 'Thanks for this block of a thesis, we are now going to put it on the shelf of a library. And that's it.'"

That's when she got the idea to write a book and conduct workshops, among many other things.  

Insights on female leadership  

After Antoine discussed her book, Feng and Naidoo joined her for a panel discussion, covering topics such as education, female leadership and generational differences.

When asked about balancing being a woman and a leader in her field, Antoine shared her experiences of being the first in many situations. For example, at 14 years old, she was the only girl in her class among boys. Fortunately, she had a teacher who believed in her. She emphasised the importance of being the first, not for personal achievement, but to pave the way for others and promote inclusivity. "By being the first, you have an opportunity to be a catalyst for change. It is an opportunity to change the representation of what you want to see. It is not about being 'number one'. It is about opening the gateway and involving others."

Drawing inspiration from Antoine's success

Wittenborg MBA (Master of Business Administration) student and business owner from Macedonia, Marija Cvetanovska also attended the event after she saw that Antoine's book was selling really well on Amazon.  

"I really got inspired by a woman who combines work and life at the same time," Cvetanovska explained. "That is what I wanted to learn. Tonight, I enjoyed Cara's speech on the ups and downs of life. It puts a personal stamp on it. I really got inspired by that because sometimes I wonder if I took the correct steps in my own studies and my business. Isn't it too challenging? Isn't it too risky? Now I've realised, I'm not the only one [taking risks]."  

WUP 10/04/2024 
by Erene Roux 
©WUAS Press 

Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'
Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'
Wittenborg Hosts Exclusive Book Signing Event for Dr Cara Antoine's 'Make it Personal'