Black History Month IPIC Member Spotlight - Antoinette Bugyei-Twum
In celebration of Black History Month throughout February IPIC will be highlighting leaders in the #IP profession through a series of Member Spotlights. The spotlights promote the significant contributions these members have made to the IP profession and industry and bring awareness to challenges and/or obstacles they have faced in their careers. Each spotlight will also include insights and advice to inspire the next generation of IP leaders. The following spotlight features IPIC member Antoinette Bugyei-Twum, Associate & Patent Agent Trainee, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.
About Antoinette: Antoinette is an associate and patent agent trainee in the Intellectual Property Group at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, specializing in drafting and prosecuting patent applications in the life sciences. Antoinette has over a decade of research experience in the biomedical sciences, with technical expertise in structural, molecular and cellular biology. She is co-inventor of a clinical-stage antibody therapeutic for heart disease and has published widely in several scientific journals. Prior to joining the IP profession, Antoinette taught as a sessional instructor at Trent University. Antoinette holds a PhD in Biomedical Science from the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto.
Why is equality, diversity, and inclusion important to the IP profession?
The IP profession is a great example of why equality, diversity, and inclusion is important. Collectively, it is important to recognize that we serve a diverse pool of clients, which is a reflection of today’s global marketplace. The profession should invariably reflect this.
Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?
I am most proud of where I find myself now—personally and professionally. I am a Black female, with a doctorate degree, working at Canada’s largest law firm with truly amazing colleagues.
What advice would you give to those who are just joining our association as they look to advance their careers?
I would advise those just joining our association as they look to advance their careers to join a committee or community group. It is important, early on, for one to identify networks or advocates in the profession that can provide guidance and counsel. Joining a committee or community group is also a great way to connect with other professionals that may help advance one’s career later on.
What will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of BIPOC leaders in the IP profession?
I think the biggest challenge for the next generation of BIPOC leaders in the IP profession will be keeping the momentum that has been created thus far, with regard to equity, diversity, and inclusion. There has been some progress, but I think as the profession evolves, the next generation of BIPOC leaders in IP will have to contend with how to make meaningful changes in sustainable ways, so that collectively we do not fall behind.
How has your background/influences brought you to this position, and what made you want to volunteer for IPIC?
When I reflect on what brought me to this position, I am reminded that although I go forth alone, I arrive as many. That is to say, I am reminded that I have benefitted tremendously from many throughout my life. I was fortunate to have been exposed to what one may consider “non-traditional” careers available to scientists during my graduate training. I joined IPIC while finishing my PhD, and was connected with a wonderful mentor, who has been a constant source of guidance and support. Through her, I recognized that it was possible for those who look like me to enter and excel in the IP space.
When I think of why I volunteer with IPIC, this Maya Angelou verse comes to mind: “When you learn, teach; when you get, give.” I have benefitted tremendously from the help of many, so the least I can do is pay it forward.