Women in GovTech: Dimitra Tsakanika

The DUET project recognises its responsibility in raising awareness of women working in govtech and wishes to help encourage young women into rewarding ICT-related careers. As part of its commitment DUET wishes to share the experiences of the women involved in our project.

We continue our series of mini-interviews with Dimitra Tsakanika, Head of Projects Management Department,

DAEM SA – City of Athens IT Company.

Job Title Head of Projects Management Department 

I am a graduate of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens holding a BSc Degree in Literature and a post-graduate degree (MSc) in Organizational and Economical Psychology. I have been working for DAEM S.A. since 2007, and since 2010 have been working in EU Sector as Project Manager and later as Head of EU Projects Networking & Management Dpt. Currently, I am Head of Project Management Dpt. and I have been involved in the complete set of activities and projects of the EU Sector. 

Overview of the job

My job mainly includes the management, implementation, and evaluation of research ICT projects funded by the EU as well as the management of National Projects focusing on the improvement of Athenian citizens’ quality of life. For the preparation and implementation of the above-mentioned projects, communication and collaboration with various IT companies, universities, and other organizations and stakeholders is continuous.    

What inspired you?

I can't say who or what exactly inspired me to follow this job, but I could surely say that a series of events brought me to this career path, beginning with my involvement with projects for the international relations of the Municipality of Athens. Then, I have been involved with projects led by DAEM and currently, I manage a great number of EU projects, very inspiring indeed, especially the daily communication with our team and several other people for the implementation of specific project tasks.

Typical working day

My typical working day includes a variety of tasks and responsibilities apart from email communication with partners from ongoing projects and proposals. I undertake administrative tasks for the monitoring of ongoing EU projects that DAEM participates in, I participate in teleconferences with colleagues/partners for the management or dedicated tasks of projects - that in covid period these kinds of meetings have been increased. Other responsibilities are the organization and attendance to events, conferences, and other dissemination activities, the participation in plenary and review project meetings including travel to other European cities, presentations’ preparation for DAEM, and participation in discussions for the progress of projects. Finally, contributions to deliverables and periodic reports, and networking activities are also included in the schedule.

 

Study & career path

While following my MSc I started to work, in parallel, for the International Public Relations of the Municipality of Athens in various projects. Then, I grabbed the chance to be actively involved in European research projects for DAEM, the IT Company of the Municipality and my ambition for professional growth led me to follow successfully this career path.

 

Key skills

  • Critical thinking and analytical reasoning are required in EU proposal preparation and ICT projects.

  • Administrative Skills and Project Management are very important for the organization and the management of a project.

  • Collaboration, Active listening, Presentation, and Social Skills, since I have to work as a member of a team and participate in diverse meetings and events.

  • Editing and Writing are skills necessary for creating or reviewing reports, deliverables, and any other type of communication.

  • Commitment, Creativity, Personal responsibility are skills highly important for performing everyday workload.

 

Career prospect

My skills as they are shaped so far give me the expertise and the confidence to work in positions of ICT field and management of diverse projects in private companies as well as in research organizations.

 

Challenges

I would say that the main challenge is this type of job. Since my background is totally different from the ICT field, the challenge for me is to learn every day something new about technologies and how they can be implemented in diverse services and projects and in daily life. Additionally, since the workload of projects management is high, time management is a challenge as well: organize my daily tasks in order to be always well prepared and meet various deadlines.

 

Your advice to students

I would advise students to follow the motto “carpe diem”, to learn as much as they can, to experiment in different fields, to learn to discuss, to hear all different opinions supporting their own, to doubt, to be open-minded. All these will conduct them to get more knowledge, to acquire self-confidence and self-knowledge. 

 

Your advice to teachers and parents

I would advise teachers and parents to provide to children the conditions for educational and personal evolution, to support them to follow the paths in the fields they desire and are talented too. I would also say to teach them to be dynamic and independent personalities defending their views and positions and surely to cultivate skills like empathy.    

 

What does a Digital Twin mean to you in one sentence? 

A Digital Twin is a dynamic tool that can inspire and help policymakers to collect different data sources and test many services (design, develop, find out benefits and barriers) prior to implementing them.

Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert? 

I would say that I am an introverted person, I get my energy from my self-investing time to internal self-research and self-knowledge, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy social interaction.

 

How do you cope with stress?

A challenging question I could say! I go for a walk to the seaside, I give a chat with my friends, I drink homemade cocktails with my partner and of course we spend time with our children trying always to do many and different things.

What's the last book/tv-series you have read/watched?

Actually, I don’t watch tv, but I try to find time for a book. Currently, I read the book “keep the kiss” and some books for children.

This interview was also presented as a career sheet on the STEAMIT project website.

Dimitra Tsakanika.jpg

DUET has received funding from the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870697. 

 

This website represents the view of the DUET project only.