Today is International Women’s Day! You are the “A” in AXS and the sole female co-founder of this company. Over the past 15 years, AXS has flourished into an award-winning leader in the medical animation industry. We want to know — how did AXS start?
SA: The idea for AXS started back when Jason, Eddy and I were still in school taking animation class at Sheridan College. We carpooled together between Toronto and Oakville in Jason’s grandma’s car, which meant we were spending a lot of time together talking. And one fateful day, one of us said: We should start our own studio!
What was your role in helping AXS off the ground?
SA: The three of us have very different personalities and strengths, and we complement each other. My role in the beginning was to act as the glue and facilitator. I focused on logistics, Eddy directed the creative vision, and Jason led the charge in drumming up business.
There were a lot of late nights, take out, and caffeine. So much caffeine. The tea kettle was constantly on. But because our skills complemented each others’, things ended up working out very well.
“Double burden” is a term used to describe the addition of a domestic workload on top of a career. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced balancing work and family?
SA: I read a quote recently that said: “We expect women to parent like they don’t work, and work like they don’t parent.” Growing up, I wasn’t the girl who dreamed of her wedding day or having children, so it’s funny how things work out.
I’m lucky that my partner-in-life is a “modern” dad in that he is hands-on and involved. And at AXS, many of us have families and understand the struggle. I’m doing an okay job, but I haven’t figured it out completely. I’m taking care of clients at work, and my family at home. Taking care of myself too — that’s the next step.
Did you have any female role models you looked up to growing up?
SA: Fossey, Goodall and Galdikas, any kickass lady scientists who lived in the jungle. Also the character Ripley in Aliens (which I watched when I was 9 and was my favourite movie growing up), who isn’t a lady scientist, but is definitely kickass.