Catherine Hartmann is a seasoned association executive with over 25 years of experience in the field of EU health. Originally trained as a lawyer, she focuses on gathering, coordinating, and supporting expertise and good-will through not-for-profit organizations, promoting civil society contributions to the advancement and improvement of social, environment and health status.
Equity and fairness have been guiding values throughout her whole career, and she is passionate about making a positive impact on health through her public health and policy work. Besides her professional pursuits, Catherine is an avid photographer and loves Irish set dancing.
What inspired you to work in the international association sector? Would you recommend this career to others?
I always had a genuine interest in international relations, hence my studies in political science and law. I thought I would have more impact working for NGOs than through international political institutions like the UN or WHO. In associations, I enjoy the fact that I can share and test my ideas with people from other cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. I would definitely recommend it if you are not afraid of getting out of your comfort zone and if you are open and curious.
How do you/ your association #EmbraceEquity? Does giving a voice and a space to diverse groups make for better results? What are the challenges you encounter? Did you solve them?
As the association I am leading, we are striving to make medical nutrition accessible to all who need it, irrespective of their social and financial status or their postal code: access to treatment should not be based on where you live or on your ability to pay for it. We promote equity through fair health systems and by supporting stakeholders representing a variety of profiles, patients, healthcare professionals, and careers, which makes for better results.
Challenges we encounter are linked to external economic and geopolitical challenges such as COVID19 and the war in Ukraine: this has – for instance – an impact on the costs of services and the interest of policymakers in EU health.
How important are diversity, equity, and inclusion for the future success of associations?
Very important: diversity, equity, and inclusion are the whole purpose of being international.