Success favors the prepared, says Martina Pavlová, director of FAVEA and a graduate of the Loschmidt Laboratories

Martina Pavlová is a successful graduate of the Faculty of Science of Masaryk University. She currently works as the CEO of the Czech company FAVEA a.s., which with its hundred employees focuses on the development and production of food supplements.

19 Feb 2024 Šárka Nevolová

Martina visited Loschmidt Laboratories in November 2023. She is the first one from the left in the photo, towards the right Zbyněk Prokop, Martina Damborská, and Šárka Nevolová from the Loschmidt Laboratories.

Martina, what did you gain from your studies at Masaryk University? How did you go from studying biology and mathematics to science and then to running a large company?

Studying at the university has brought two benefits to my life. The knowledge of biology and chemistry gained during my undergraduate studies and the professional knowledge gained during my specialization in my doctoral studies enabled me to understand the context and connect partial pieces of information into a whole. This is very important in science itself and also in professional employment outside of science, for me in the management of the company. Context will allow you to see things from a higher perspective, and this is essential for further development, both strategic and creative. Secondly, my studies have taught me not to be intimidated by obstacles, not to stop at the first failure, but to look for other paths. I certainly wouldn't have been able to handle that so naturally without my studies.

I wouldn't change my field of study, even though my original plans were different. I tried to study pharmacy, but I did not succeed in the admission procedure. Eventually, I got into a pharmaceutical company through my studies in the program with a view to Education and Environmental Chemistry at RECETOX.

What do you like to remember from your doctoral studies in the Loschmidt Laboratories?

What I remember most is the great teamwork and huge motivation of the whole team, enthusiasm for work, and finding answers to new questions. In the private sector, this enthusiasm is lacking among many employees. My goal is to have as many motivated people as possible in our company who want to work for the company and overcome the obstacles that come.

Did you take part in any internships abroad during your studies? And if so, what did such a stay give you?

Loschmidt Laboratories has several active international collaborations, and thanks to that I had the opportunity to travel and get to know how it works somewhere else. This experience enriched me not only professionally, but also gained a certain perspective. I spent two years at Tohoku University in Japan during my doctoral studies. My research internship in Groningen, the Netherlands, was also a strong experience. Here I was very impressed by how universities and laboratories cooperate with the private sector and how they approach the applied results that are transferred to the real world of business. At that time, a spark burned in me that my next path would not consist of basic research, but I would like to look for a connection with industry. And then it was just a small step to FAVEA, which develops and brings new technologies for processing various active ingredients.

You may have found in practice that you may have lacked some of the necessary skills. Where would you see the biggest shortcomings of your university education?

While at the university (in the Loschmidt Laboratories) people were strongly motivated, a large part of my work in the company is working with people, and perceiving people, including their strengths and weaknesses. It is necessary to motivate them, give feedback on the work done, and their behavior, and pay attention to interpersonal relationships in teams. I missed the targeted development of soft skills during my studies. I would also criticize the narrow outlook of some university departments, which is not the case of the Loschmidt Laboratories. It is important to be open to the competitive environment, and to follow trends that are happening on a global scale, and not only in the Czech Republic. It is necessary to keep up with the times, and this is a great task for the entire Czech education system.

Do you have any advice for students who want to be successful in their field?

It is said that success favors the prepared. But it's important to think about what preparedness is. I don't think anyone is born successful. It is necessary to work on yourself constantly and improve in what you want to be successful at. We must not neglect our lesser strengths either. It is important to work with limitations, even if it is not easy, not to be afraid and not to give up at the first failures.

And one last question – do you still have time for your hobbies and family with your workload?

Yes, I have. Time is a well-known quantity for me, it is given. I have a job, a family, and two children. When I leave work, I switch to the role of a mother and try to be a guide for the children's lives. Gradually, I also realized that I can't wait until I have time for my hobbies. I need hobbies to be in an optimal mood and condition – sports to discharge energy and silence in nature to calm down and give strength for further decision-making and motivation.

Martina, thank you for the interview and I wish you a lot of success and satisfaction in your professional and personal life.

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