An Ally in Social Innovation
Read about Net’s life after Patana story.
Kavita (Net) Supatravanij attended Bangkok Patana School for ten years before graduating in 2012. Following her graduation, she pursued her BSc in Media, Culture & Communication at New York University (NYU), and eventually master’s degree at London School of Economics (LSE) in Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship, which she completed in 2019. Net’s favourite memories of Bangkok Patana are English classes with Mr Robertson and Residentials.
“My favourites were always doing the overnight trips on the train, hanging out with my friends at lunch and then getting a smoothie afterwards (it was only 20 THB back then!).”
Net said her time at Bangkok Patana School helped to develop her confidence to interact with diverse groups of people from all over the world.
“I’ve never once felt like I was ‘less’ than someone else, even when I went to university where I went from being in the majority to being part of a minority group.”
“After NYU, I went down the corporate route, got an advertising job at a multi-national company in Singapore (Ogilvy), but soon realised that I needed my day to day to have more social impact. Gender was something I had always been interested in, but up until then it was more of something I did on the side through volunteer work, for example. After starting the CSR initiative at my company, I realised I wanted to pursue Social Innovation as a career. I knew I needed to switch gears and decided to enrol for a master’s degree in this field at LSE, which is where I met my co-founder (on the very first day!).”
Her organisation, ila, is a UN Women award-winning social start-up that uses human-cantered design to build inclusive societies. The name is derived from an Indian name that means “the power of speech” and is also a common name in various other countries. Registered as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in the UK, ila’s initiative in response to increasing domestic abuse rates throughout the COVID pandemic was to create a platform through which to empower others to help victims of abuse, which was initially launched in the UK.
“We’ve recently launched ALLY, a mobile application that turns local places into safe spaces for victims of abuse. Because of the global increase in domestic abuse rates combined with the never-ending problem of street harassment, we realised we needed to tap into public spaces and turn bystanders into allies. We do this by training retail staff to recognize signs of abuse and redirect victims towards help.”
With social innovation at her core, Net shares what helps her to remain optimistic and motivated: “I love reading (I bring my Kindle almost everywhere), my dog (who inadvertently made me more of a nature person) and donuts (I need to try one in every city I visit!).”
What will Net be doing in ten-years’ time? “This question is funny because I recently looked at my Bangkok Patana Grad ’12 Yearbook. They asked us this exact question at that time, to which I replied, ‘Getting married’. That obviously did not happen, so I don’t want to jinx myself with any future predictions! Whatever I’m doing in ten years, I just hope I’m surrounded by good people. That’s all you really need.”
Net visited Bangkok Patana before the Christmas break in 2021 and was full of nostalgia as she walked down memory lane, catching up Mr Robertson and reminiscing about her time on campus.
To learn more about ila, and their mobile application ALLY, visit their website: https://www.ilageneration.com/