Giovanna – Operations Support Officer

Giovanna is an Operations Support Officer based at RHEA’s Noordwijk office, in the Netherlands.

She joined the company in September 2017, straight from university.

What did you study and why?

I did my bachelor degree in International Relations with the idea when I was a teen that I would have liked something related to diplomacy. Going forward with my studies, I decided to do a Masters in international human resource management, liking the idea of being the point of contact in helping employees.

Is this the role you were initially employed for?

I joined RHEA as a junior HR generalist in the company headquarters in Belgium. After six months, I was presented with the opportunity to move to the Netherlands to join the Operations team, which I gladly took.

What does your job involve?

I am the first point of contact for anything our employees on client sites may ask. I contact them before they start working to help them get set up in the Netherlands and in their new job, and continue to support them during their time in RHEA. The requests and scope of help varies greatly from one person to another. Besides that, I am also in contact directly with the client for administrative purposes such as reports, and to ensure RHEA is meeting the client’s statement of work.

What is your favourite aspect of your job, and why?

Exactly the reason why I decided to do my Masters degree…the contact with people! I like even just having a chat with our colleagues that work in ESTEC and in the other sites I support. Before the pandemic, I would have weekly walks around the client site and meet the people I always talk to via email.

Being so close to the people I work with and being able to see them – and not just talk through a device – is something I really value. It’s also the reason I decided to take the operations job.

What makes you want to get up for work each morning?

I mentioned that I enjoy helping people, but every day something different happens, so curiosity is definitely a big factor!

How does your role makes a difference to the success of the company?

For people working at the client’s site, I am the face of RHEA, and the person they interact the most with in RHEA. If I don’t provide a good service, that will be the impression they would get of the company and could be inclined to leave. Making sure I give a good service and build a good reputation for RHEA is important to attract and retain people.

What made you want to work in the space sector?

The space sector is something I’ve been surrounded by since I was born. As a kid I would go to these space events and play with telescopes, which I always found fascinating. Growing up I realised science wasn’t really my calling, but I found a way to still be surrounded by this environment, just through a different route.

RHEA’s company values are Trust, Collaboration and Commitment. How does RHEA encourage you to live those values?

During the time I’ve been working at RHEA, I’ve seen big changes in the tools used and the company is always trying to find new ways to improve our ways of working and make it more collaborative between departments, which is something to be appreciated. On top of that, I’m lucky enough to work in a team (both my local team and with the other operations support officers) in which we have great communication and know we can trust each other.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

When the world was in a better place, I’d take any opportunity to travel, leaving every other weekend to see friends and family. For the more sedentary activities, I help out in an online group and I am very much hooked on TV series and movies. I love going to the cinema!