Women in GovTech: Ilia Christantoni
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 Ilia Christantoni, Head of EU Projects Sector, DAEM SA
– City of Athens IT Company.
Job Title Head of EU Projects Sector
I am a graduate of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens holding a BSc Degree in Computer Science and Telecommunications (2004) and two post-graduate degrees (MSc) in Radioelectrology and Electronics (2012), as well as in Neurosciences, Socio-biology, and Education (2014). I have been working in the IT sector (System Administration, Education) since my BSc graduation and since 2014 I am a freelance Scientific Collaborator in the National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) and working as a Head of EU Projects Sector in DAEM. My professional skills were further enriched in the field of project management as a financial and project officer in EACEA (Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency), European Commission. Currently, I am a long-term Scientific Collaborator of NHRF and I am responsible for the EU Projects’ activities in DAEM SA as Head of the Sector.
Overview of the job
My job includes both the management of innovative, research ICT projects funded by the EU that apply to the city of Athens and its citizens, but also the networking with colleagues from other European ICT companies, cities, universities, etc and the preparatory phase of shaping our idea to a successful project. All projects include the deployment, implementation, and evaluation of IT technologies at the edge of innovation.
What inspired you?
My short experience in working for the European Commission inspired me to work at the actual implementation of research ICT projects and their applications. The co-working and networking with partners at a European level and the multi-cultural nature of the projects’ consortia are a strong drive for my career currently.
Typical working day
My typical working day can potentially include a variety of tasks and responsibilities including:
email communication with partners from ongoing projects or proposals at a preparational stage,
teleconferences with colleagues for the management, overview or dissemination of projects,
discussions, field-work with end-users,
organization of events, co-creational workshops, etc,
administrative tasks that refer both internally for DAEM or externally for the projects EU monitoring such as financial reporting,
contribution to deliverables, reports, and other documents.
Also, my working days (in the pro-COVID era) can include trips abroad for plenary meetings, EU review, and monitoring, networking events, participation in dissemination conferences and workshops, etc.
Study & career path
Initially, my study path was determined by my passion for science, math, physics etc, so studying Computer Science and Telecommunications was a natural evolution after school. The working experience in the field of IT gave me strong background but working on research projects was a professional advancement. The multi-lingual, multi-cultural and innovative - in terms of technology- environment of research projects is the ground for professional evolution for me. Although my colleagues from the projects are mainly in the field of ICT, the multi-disciplinary approach of my job provides me the opportunity to work with partners from other career/study backgrounds as well.
Research, Analytical Reasoning – especially during the preparation of a proposal, research skill is necessary to make it successful.
Administrative skills, Project Management, Delegating tasks, Time Management – for the projects’ organization and management.
Collaboration, Presentation, Social skills, Nonverbal communication – generally all skills that refer to public speaking, participation in discussions, presentations, etc are a high percentage of my work.
Writing, Editing, Content management – reports, deliverables, emails, or other written communication is included in the working day, hence writing skills is a pro.
AI, Software Engineer, Mobile Development, User Interface Design, Web Architecture and development, Network and Information Security, Tech Support – the monitoring of ICT projects requires knowledge in the field of IT.
My skills as they are shaped currently can offer me the opportunity to work in several positions in the field of ICT apart from my current job, such as system admin, IT support, telecommunications and networks, education of IT, management of projects etc covering a wide range of possible professional environments such as private companies and research.
The main challenge is deadlines. The only solution is a high organization of the workload and identification of the way that is sufficient for the internal organization (calendar, tasks, inbox, teleconferences, archiving, management tools etc.).
Your advice to students
I would advise students to have creative thinking and doubting towards anything that they learn so that they can always explore more knowledge, reasoning, and deeper understanding. Also, I would advise them to stand up and always express in life, family, school, and society what they want to stand for, are passionate for, and their true opinions.
Your advice to teachers and parents
I would advise teachers and parents to provide to children as many stimuli as possible in different domains such as science, arts, theoretical studies, cinema, sports etc, and let them free to explore and select their passion. Also, I would advise them to provide a ground for personal and educational evolution for their children/students while in parallel withdraw in order to help them become independent and self-standing adults.
What does a Digital Twin mean to you in one sentence?
Digital Twin is a combination of technologies that provide the opportunity to interconnect data sources from different domains, correlate them, and forecast the outcomes of future scenarios in many applications.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?
Although I am a highly social person, the energy recharge derives actually from introvert self-work and self-awareness.
How do you cope with stress?
I go for a run, for a long-walk, anything that keeps me “moving” forward.
What's the last book/tv-series you have read/watched?
Currently reading “The Selfish Gene”. I am not fond of tv-series.
This interview was also presented as a career sheet on the STEAMIT project website.