Chiara, who works as a Marketing, Sales & Application Engineer, appreciates the diversity her job entails. In additional to technical work, Chiara is also responsible for sales and marketing, which turns out to be a strong combination. “Most applications are quite technical and understanding them requires a photonics background”, she says, “so it helps that I can translate the technical elements to the customers in a language we both understand.”
After studying physics at the university of Milan in Italy, Chiara did a PhD in Graphene Photonics at imec and Ghent University. During her PhD, Chiara first came into contact with Luceda, where she used Luceda’s software in her research. This experience encouraged her to apply for a position within Luceda, and the rest is history!
At Luceda we’re a small, close-knit team, where we value interpersonal connections. So, let’s get to know the person behind the job!
What would your job have been if you hadn’t become a Sales & Application Engineer at Luceda?
For a brief while I considered becoming a patent attorney, because I love meeting different people and discovering a variety of ideas. I also thought about becoming a teacher, coaching in any form really appeals to me. In my job now, I create tutorials and application examples for our customers, so I’m able to put my passion for teaching to practice.
What excites you most about your job?
The many interactions I have really fuel me. I learn a lot from interactions with potential clients, and colleagues or by attending conferences. In a way I occupy a backstage position, where I help people navigate our software. By speaking with customers, I gain insight into their field, how they use our software and what problems they encounter. This feedback is very useful and helps us improve our products. I love to keep a bird’s eye view on the photonics market.
When do you consider a workday to be successful?
I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people. The passion for solving problems or providing support is something we all share at Luceda. I go home with a smile when I know I was able to help someone.
Did your environment influence your career path?
I was probably subconsciously influenced by my parents, who were also scientists. But they never pushed me to pursue a career in science. My parents worked for a semiconductor company, and by learning about their work, I became familiar with the intricacies of the science industry from a very young age.
What did you learn the past year that you are most proud of?
We all had to learn how to work remotely. At first it was quite a challenge to effectively adapt our communication to the changed circumstances and work well together. I learned, when in doubt, to always verify assumptions rather than relying upon them.
I also grew a lot in my job itself and on a technical level. I was assigned to the role of Product Marketing Manager one year ago, without any prior experience in marketing. Our CEO saw my potential and trusted me, even before I trusted myself. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and the marketing skills I’ve learned. I feel that, because of our teamwork, we cracked the code that aligns product development with product marketing.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I lead quite an active lifestyle and I have a lot of interests. I like to play video games, practice sports such as mountain biking, climbing, hiking, or skiing. I love being in nature. I’m very sociable, so meeting up with friends also gives me lots of energy. Thanks to the flexible work schedule at Luceda, I was able to pick up the piano again, which I thoroughly enjoy.
Who do you look up to?
My biggest inspiration is my family. I know it might sound cheesy, but my parents really inspire me. They both had thriving careers combining it with our family life. Leading by example, they taught me to chase my dreams. My maternal grandparents are also very inspiring. Despite not having any formal higher education, they kept learning new things well into their old age. When my grandfather needed heart surgery, he went to the library to study everything he could about the heart, and the specific intervention he had to undergo. I aspire to always keep the same curious attitude.
What was your childhood dream?
Thirteen-year-old me wanted to become an artistic gymnastics coach or a choir director. Luckily, I went for a career in science instead because I sing terribly.(laughs)
What is your goal for the year?
Being able to travel more again and spend more time in the mountains. And hopefully, also buy a house with my partner.
What cultural differences do you observe between Belgium and Italy?
Belgians are less confrontational. It’s harder to have a ‘straight’ discussion, both in a professional and a familial context, which is quite the opposite of my character (laughs). I’m way more direct. It was also a step for me to understand that food isn’t such an important part of the day as it is in Italy.
What do you miss most about Italy?
I miss Italian food, the warmer social interactions, the Alps, and my family of course.
What is your favorite Belgian dish?