Name: Eva Capogna
Organization: European Central Bank
Role: Deputy Head of Division, IT Governance and Business Relations
What is your background? What did you do/study before working for your organization?
I have been incredibly lucky in my career, as I have witnessed the beginning of two major evolutionary steps in technology. When I started secondary school, the third generation of computers had just been launched and the fourth was already on the horizon. After school, I decided to take a diploma in computer science and I had no doubt that it would be a good ticket to the future. However, during my studies, I discovered a passion for mathematics, and I went on to study for a Master’s degree in that subject. Afterward, I was undecided as to whether to pursue an academic career in artificial intelligence or in teaching. Instead, almost by chance, I walked into the beginning of GSM mobile networks: it was clearly going to be the next elevator to the future. So, I started to work in the field of telecommunications and learned about telecommunication products, in particular, mobile networks. It was one of the most rewarding and fascinating times of my life: being part of such a huge change in society has been thrilling. However, it also showed me clearly how pure IT solutions would soon replace the proprietary equipment and software solutions used initially. Just as 3G was knocking at the door, I moved into IT applied to telecommunications. This allowed me to learn more and more about the two worlds and how they are interconnected. This went on to take a clear shape in the form of service management. When I was looking for a new line of development for my career, it was then natural to move into IT service & project management and IT governance. But I was looking for a way of using my skills in something other than the private sector: that is how I came to work for a European Union institution.
What drove you to choose your current position?
Choices in life never come down to a single reason. In my case, they have always been based on a combination of dreams and objectives, opportunities and the State of the Art prevailing at that precise moment in my personal and professional life. In the specific case of my current position in European Central Bank (ECB), I should also add that the trust and encouragement of my professional network was a key element in moving in that direction.
What single fact would surprise people the most about you?
This is difficult for me to answer. However, let me try: possibly my honesty and authenticity.
What do you look for in candidates?
I look for professionalism, motivation, enthusiasm, assertiveness, persistence, respect, transparency, curiosity and people skills. The ability to take risks is also a necessity. It is all about believing in what we work for or, better still, about what we are contributing to achieving, as we are always part of a bigger picture.
What first attracted you to this organization?
I believe in European values, and I am convinced that the ECB plays an essential role in European stability. As a European citizen, I feel proud to work here and to contribute to the overall European project.
What’s the best thing about working for your organization?
Since the outset, I have been impressed by the high level of skill and the competence of my colleagues at the ECB, as well as the vast array of topics covered and the synergies between them. In particular, within IT, it has been amazing to see people’s professionalism and flexibility to delivering results, despite high demand and constantly changing needs. Furthermore, as in other European Union institutions, the possibility of working in a multicultural environment is invaluable. I also like having contact with other institutions and companies across Europe.
What are your proudest achievements with your organisation?
I am still quite new to the organisation, so I cannot mention any tangible achievements on the management side. However, I became Deputy Head of Division within a short period of time, and I am proud to have been brave enough to try it, to make it and to deal with all the consequences that I was aware taking this step would bring.
Nicest fact/surprise about your organization/employer?
As I mentioned earlier, it is a great place to work, full of possibilities to grow both professionally and personally.
What advice would you give other women interested in following in your footsteps?
Giving advice is difficult, as each of us has to find our own path, which depends on many factors. However in general my advice is to be self-aware, open-minded, always listen actively (suspending judgement) and being perceptive to the surrounding. Keep your private life out of your work environment and vice-versa but always bring them together to balance your life energy, your objectives and your choices. Women in particular should never get discouraged by stereotypes and rumours, because most of the time, even if it is not trivial or immediate, our actual value and results are what distinguishes us.