Nationality

Netherlands

Education

Diploma, Pitman's Secretarial College, London, United Kingdom

Languages

English, Thai

I am celebrating my thirtieth anniversary with the United Nations this year. My career began penning shorthand as a stenographer in 1978 at just 19 years old. I am now an Administrative Assistant for the Chief of the Administrative Services Division of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). I assist with managing the Office of the Chief, including the Protocol Office and Transportation Unit. In 30 years, I went from penning shorthand to never going a day without checking my e-mail.

My history of service with the United Nations has been primarily administrative, and I carry a heavy workload as a senior level Administrator. Projects keep me at the office after hours, and I often take work home on the weekends. Going above and beyond my job description feels quite natural. My motivation and dedication come from the realization that I am one small piece of a large and powerful community working on behalf of the neediest.

On many occasions, I have made personal sacrifices to better the Organization. In 2008, I was on leave for a family event in the United Kingdom, and my presence was requested back in Thailand. The Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and his delegation scheduled a short notice visit to Bangkok, and the team needed my help. I was on a flight back to Bangkok within hours.

This trip was particularly challenging because the Secretary General flew to Bangkok, then on to Myanmar, back to Bangkok, then to China and back to Bangkok, all at the last minute. I worked with the Thai Foreign Ministry to coordinate flights, motorcades and lodging under tight deadlines. This fluidity and intensity are both real characteristics of my job.

Founded in 1947, ESCAP strives to create positive change in the 63 affiliated member governments. Our work covers many areas including macroeconomic policy and development, environment and development, social development, statistics, transport, trade and investment as well as information and communication technology. We helped to establish the Asian Development Bank in 1966, the Mekong River Commission in 1995 and the Asia-Pacific Centre for Agricultural Machinery in 2002. ESCAP monitors progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. The General Assembly resolution 63/260 of 24 December 2008 approved resources for the establishment of three new ESCAP Sub-Regional Offices for East and Northeast Asia, North and Central Asia and South and South-West Asia in which ESCAP is taking steps to set up the offices.

My team helps strengthen the relationship between the United Nations and the Royal Thai Government. We are the main point of contact for the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Prime Minister. In 2008 and 2009, the 64th and 65th ESCAP Commission sessions were held in Bangkok. We coordinated the airport reception for Ministers, arranged transport, reserved hotels, and liaised with the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Immigration Bureau.

I am thankful for my supervisors, past and present. Open office doors and thoughtful recognition have made my United Nations experience wonderful. Long hours are satisfying when hard work towards a common goal is celebrated.

I balance a hectic schedule by spending time with my family. We particularly enjoy long drives through Thailand and brief respites from the hustle and bustle of the capital. On Fridays, my husband and I drive about an hour outside of Bangkok to the seaside. We enjoy quiet time together and the delicious seafood. Once the sun sets, we head back home, and I log back in to my e-mail.

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