United States


Master's Degree in International Business, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States


Master's Degree, Maitrise en finance avec grande distinction, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la- Neuve, Belgium


Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Studies, Governors State University,  Illinois, United States


English, French, Spanish

Many years ago, when I was in my 20s, I played the organ and synthesizer in a jazz-rock band. For about eight years, I invested all of my spare time in playing music as a way to communicate to the world. One day, all of my equipment was stolen. It was a changing point in my life; destiny telling me this was not my path in life. Today, I invest my energy into my work at the United Nations: it is not as glamorous as being a music star. But the impact we have on the world, as one organization and one team is greater.

When the company I was working for in United States closed in 1987, I took my severance package and left for Belgium to study, to perfect my French, and to experience living in another country. This journey to Belgium not only led me to love, it also eventually led me to the United Nations.

After my studies, I became head of an industry association in Brussels that promoted international electronic business standards. I was head of its delegation to a Working Party developing these standards at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, which promotes European economic integration. This is how I became familiar with the Organization’s work in these areas. In 1992, a job opened up at that Commission for an Economic Officer to coordinate work in electronic business standards. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to fulfill a long held passion to make a difference.

My career with the Commission has since evolved with increasing responsibilities. In 1998, I became Chief of the Trade Policy and Governmental Cooperation Section, where I worked for seven years before my current position as Director of the Trade and Timber Division.

The work we do covers a wide range of areas. I am responsible for electronic business standards, trade facilitation, regulatory cooperation, promoting sustainable forest management in Europe and agricultural quality standards. If you go to a grocery store, especially in Europe, and you find class I or class II apples, oranges or peaches, these are standards we develop with international participation. At the airport, the code on your suitcase tag indicating its destination is a United Nations Location Code, maintained by us.

I am proud of the work we do; we develop very practical things people can use. For instance, one of our trade facilitation projects called Single Window makes a real difference in trade. These are places where you can go to take care of all the administrative procedures for import and export clearance in a country. This concept was developed by our staff, and we work with other Organizations to promote it globally.

My work with the United Nations is a great opportunity. We work across divisions, departments, organizations, and countries; all of which I find tremendously exciting. There is no other place in the world where you can work with as many different people from as many different backgrounds as the United Nations. I am always learning new things and feeling intellectually challenged.

I took my first airplane trip from the United States to England when I was 12. At the time, I was fascinated by quotations from famous people like Gandhi, Confucious and Aristotle. Flying over the clouds and reflecting upon how people from so many different cultures could say things that embodied universal truths, I remember thinking, when I grew up I wanted to be a citizen of the world. But after school, I got a job and never had an opportunity to realize this dream. Now, this dream is being fulfilled.

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