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At the time, Sandra’s language studies helped her get her first job taking calls at a service desk. “I was fascinated by IT, and got a degree in IT infrastructure by taking evening classes. That’s how I managed to climb the ladder to get a job as an infrastructure analyst. Over the years, I’ve done just about everything in IT: from answering the phone to carrying out customer interventions, pulling cables and setting up networks – all with the same enthusiasm,” she says, laughing.
Passion, enthusiasm and ownership
More than three years ago, Sandra joined ICT company Realdolmen, part of the international group Inetum formerly known as Gfi. “The Realdolmen values of passion, enthusiasm and ownership stood out, while the slogan ‘To get there, together’ also appealed to me. The focus here is on customers and employees. I think it’s important for employees to grow based on opportunities and possibilities and to be able to move around internally. I’m also a firm believer in having the right attitude. If you’re keen to learn, you can go much further than if you think you’ve already learned everything you need to know. You can put a company’s workflow into different processes, but at some point you need to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in to find a solution for your customer.”
Sandra was initially involved in process organization at Realdolmen until she was offered the job of Infrastructure Services Operations Manager. “In this role, I coordinate our entire support environment, and I manage around 250 people either directly or indirectly. But without the different teams, I’m just a small cog in the machine. All of my colleagues make it possible to bring projects to a successful conclusion, and with a great spirit. I obtained my degree at the time to be able to progress, but one thing I’ve noticed is that all the steps in my career, all the experiences I’ve had and all the obstacles I’ve overcome are what help me to do this job well. The combination of a background in IT and a drive to succeed for our customers and our staff on the shop floor is what makes it work.”
Round the clock
Customers lie at the heart of everything Sandra and her team do, and they take a proactive approach to help find solutions with their customers. “Our customers call with a wide range of issues that we can help them with,” says Sandra. “The service desk handles everything related to end-user support, such as problems with passwords or connections. We try to solve these by phone. If there are bigger issues with the server or network infrastructure, our back-end support organization will analyze and resolve the infrastructure. We work around the clock with a team of engineers, who are available day and night on a rotating schedule for customers who wish to use them.”
Sandra is a female manager in a predominantly male world. “Indeed, the majority of our management team is still male. About twenty-five years ago, you rarely met a woman in the IT sector. However, I’ve noticed a positive change over the last decade, seeing more and more women in our field. My message to other women is this: if you believe in yourself and fancy joining the IT industry, go for it.”
In addition to the varied and challenging work, Sandra praises her employer for the great work-life balance. “Even though I don’t pay enough attention to it because of my own drive and enthusiasm! (laughs) Everyone has to decide for themselves. You can discuss anything at Realdolmen as long as you’re transparent and set your own boundaries. This allows you to take charge of your work-life balance. It’s also possible to work in one of the satellite offices to avoid any unnecessary travel. I prefer the head office in Huizingen myself, as my team is there and I need to feel connected to people. And if I want to escape technology and stress for a little while, I work out, take drawing lessons and have fun with family and friends,” she smiles.
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