Interview with Stefania Tarquini, Assistant to the Development Cooperation Director and Assistantship “Coordination and Cooperation Committee” SecretariatStefania Tarquini is a familiar face around the UPU’s International Bureau, where she is something of an office style icon.
“I always try to be as fashionable as possible – the idealization of beauty is very Italian,” she says with a grin.
While fashion is a passion she explores in her spare time, at work she devotes her time to development projects benefitting the UPU’s member countries.
Tarquini began her journey with the UPU nearly 30 years ago, after an advertisement for a position in the French typing pool caught her eye. She loved languages and had once dreamed of becoming an interpreter; she thought working in the language department of an international organization could be an interesting job. After some time, she had the opportunity to move to “Section F” – what is today known as the UPU’s Directorate for Development and Cooperation (DCDEV).
“It’s strange because today I work with interpreters,” she muses.
She does more than work with interpreters. Nearly three decades on, she has assisted all the UPU’s regional programmes, except Latin America, and now assists the DCDEV Director with a wide range of tasks. Interfacing with member countries, working for the Union’s bodies, supporting the organization of workshops, and managing internal projects are just a few of her daily responsibilities. She also trains new DCDEV staff on development cooperation methods to help them integrate within the team and the International Bureau.
“My job is interesting because I touch a piece of everything within DCDEV. When you are the assistant of a director you have an overview of everything,” says Tarquini.
Professional development has also been a priority for her at work, and something that the UPU has supported.
“When you’re younger and have less experience you work purely as an assistant. But through the years, I’ve learned how to do project management and I’ve done certificates in management and human resources,” she explains.
She adds that her work in project management has brought her the most satisfaction so far. Two years ago she helped organize directorate-wide trainings on the subject to help her colleagues deliver more impact in the field.
“This was the last piece of the puzzle for my professional life,” she says, adding that she is searching for her next professional goal. “I feel ready to do more. This gives me the motivation to fulfil my duties as best as I can for the countries, but also to grow my own skills,” says Tarquini.
Tarquini adds that working with people from around the world has also allowed her to grow and enrich herself.
“I like that it opens doors to get to know different cultures, religions and people who come from all countries and different realities. It opens your mind to what happens outside Switzerland,” she explains.
She also derives her enthusiasm from her DCDEV team, which she describes as “a family.”
“You cannot work in DCDEV and help countries and be an individual person. If you are social in your work, you are social in your life – these are directly linked,” she adds. “We are like one hand with many fingers.”
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2021 issue of Union Postale.