International Women’s Day – Eva Van Herel

We continue to celebrate #InternationalWomensDay by speaking with Eva Van Herel, Executive Support Administrator for the School of Humanities. Join in the conversation using  #UoRWomen.

Area of work
Executive Support Administrator at the School of Humanities.

How did you get into this line of work?
By accident. A friend suggested it might suit my personality and pointed me towards a vacancy.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people! While I’m a bit of a geek and can be happily absorbed in spreadsheets or mail-merges, the joy of work is in the people I work with.

What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment in your career?
Learning to give up on the right things. The word career doesn’t really apply as my work history is, shall we say, diverse. I’ve done a bit of everything. As a result I am not very high up the career ladder, and that’s all right with me. I have taught refugee children a new language, started a business and failed at it, was a stay at home mother, coded websites, taken photographs which have been used on greeting cards, and was recently Chief Hatmaker for Terry Pratchett’s Masquerade at the Progress Theatre.

At my day job, apart from keeping the exec support office ticking over, I like to have a project or two on the go. Next up is creating some short help videos on how to use the CRM software to edit the university websites. I’m also part of the group that created a community of practise for the Executive Support administrators, which brings together the almost 100 of us who are spread out all over the Reading campuses, and I look forward to keeping it the useful group it has become.

What advice would you give to anyone wishing to embark upon a career in the same field?
To be honest I have no idea. Advice is no use if it is not made to measure. If you wish generic advice, read Marcus Aurelius. Please do something that will make you happy – life is a journey, if your job is not a good fit, try something else!

Who inspired you to get to where you are now?
The people in the toastmasters group I joined over ten years ago. I found my self-confidence there and learned a lot. 

What are your aspirations for the future?
I’m to be costume manager for the Jesus Christ Superstar production at the Progress Theatre this autumn, although that’s a voluntary role of course. At work I’d like to wiggle my way into a role that focuses even more on projects or that would allow me more interaction with people, working on some common goal.

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