I have worked for NATO for almost 10 years, initially as a military staff member, and currently as a NATO Civilian. I lead a successful team of highly skilled professionals: a good mix of soldiers, NATO civilians and contractors. This position allows me to combine technical responsibilities with team management functions. With the transition of the Agency to a new structure, my service line - Core Enterprise Services - will offer a consistent service across the entire life cycle. I am confident I have found the best position in the world! The opportunity to resolve problems which affect large groups of users on a daily basis is absolutely thrilling. On a Saturday night, being on the phone with system administrators from Kuwait, working on problems in Afghanistan might not sound great – but it is!
The part I remember most about the selection process was my anxiety to be able to present myself during the interview in a credible and confident way. Having worked with NATO on NATO's IT infrastructure gave me the confidence with regards to meeting any technical requirements, but not knowing what to expect and preparing for behavioural questions was quite challenging. However, the board gave me a reassuring feeling, showing an understanding of the stressful situation of the interviewee. If I were to advise candidates, I would say:
Be confident - Know your strengths – but also your weaknesses. Come prepared, know the background information about NATO, NCI Agency, NATO's mission and vision.
Remember - the board members are people who decided to invite you – you made it through the shortlisting – they believe in you.
Be honest – speak about your direct involvement, do not hesitate to state an area where your experience needs strengthening – no one is perfect!
Working in the worldwide operating area of Service Operations means permanent exposure to high priority, high urgency issues which arise all across the globe. To be successful I need not only technical expertise, but also good communication skills to be able to correctly address, route and troubleshoot incidents. I require the ability to easily switch between highly technical issues which arise and business or process oriented conversations. During my employment, I also had the chance to develop my knowledge with Microsoft, becoming a MCITP (Microsoft certified IT Professional) Enterprise Administrator. As my focus changed more towards the field of successful Service Delivery and bringing value to the customer, I was able to acquire experience and knowledge in the area of ITIL and COBIT, looking at the management and governance of IT processes.
During the last few years, the city of Mons has focused on improving many cultural aspects. Mons will be the cultural capital of Europe in 2015 - it recently hosted the Andy Warhol exhibition - and is on its way to catch up with other cultural offerings. In addition, I was able to find an adorable house close to work, where the family and I enjoy our life. The availability of Belgian/German and US childcare facilities allows our children to grow up exposed to three main languages, English, French and German, which is a gift I wished I could have enjoyed during my childhood.