"I am an enabler. I am the one to make sure our staff is the best of the best"
Agnes Takacs, HR Officer at UNICEF's ICT Division, shares her career journey from local staff to an international professional
Five years after having joined the Global Shared Services Centre (GSSC) as a General Staff, in 2021, Agnes became an International Professional for the Information and Communication Technology Division (ICTD) that recently relocated from New York to Valencia. Agnes talks about how the GSSC helped her move forward in UNICEF, transitioning from locally recruited staff to an international career, and she shares some pieces of advice.
As an HR person, I am an enabler. I am the one to make sure our staff is the best of the best, and they have everything they need to perform well, so as an organization we can deliver results for children and women across the globe.
Human Resources Officer,
ICT Division, Valencia, Spain
What were you working on at the GSSC?
I started as a team lead in HR team in 2016, soon after the centre opened. My team was handling the offboarding of international and local staff in the West and Central Africa Region, and I was coordinating the handover of ongoing separations from New York to Budapest. In 2019, due to restructuring, I was transferred to the Onboarding team, where I handled onboarding worldwide and got to participate in a lot of exciting projects.
How did the GSSC prepare you for an international career?
I had gained previous experience in the UN in non-staff contracting, staff recruitment and rotation. The GSSC added to my portfolio very strong skills in HR entitlements and an overview of UNICEF practices in HR. In addition, the GSSC offers a wide range of training opportunities, and I benefited from a lot of them, including project management, career management, cross-functional trainings, etc.
How is a day in the life of an international professional?
The daily work that I am doing now is drastically different than the one I was doing in the GSSC, yet the basis has not changed. As an HR person, I am an enabler. I am the one to make sure our staff is the best of the best, and they have everything they need to perform well, so as an organization we can deliver results for children and women across the globe. I wake up every morning knowing that even on my worst day, I am contributing to making the world a better place, and that is a feeling that pushes me to go forward!
Do you have any advice for colleagues seeking an international career with UNICEF?
You know the saying, “when life gives you lemons… hand it back and make coffee?” Joking aside, take responsibility for your own career! No one else knows you better than yourself – find out what you want to achieve in life. Do your job really well. Broaden and deepen your skills, soft skills included; participate in every training that points in the direction you want to go. Listen to feedback. Participate in projects and try to contribute; learn and get to know people. Broaden your network. Go on stretch assignments to try yourself out. Benefit from career management training and counseling that UNICEF offers. And most of all, believe in yourself!