About the speaker:
Born in 1974 in a tiny town in the south of Italy, I realised very quickly that I wanted to travel and meet people with different cultures and traditions. My interest in foreign languages was reflected in my choice of high school and further confirmed when I moved to Pisa for my university studies. My first working experiences during my studies introduced me to the function of Human Resources and I decided to deepen my education in that area by obtaining a Master in HR Recruitment, Assessment and Development. From that moment on, I felt I had found my way and started working in recruitment.
Bearing in mind the words often attributed to Darwin “It is not the strongest of the species that survives but the most adaptable”, I adapted to the changes occurring in my personal life and moved to Germany in 2003. Change worked really well as I was finally able to combine my passion for Human Resources with my international inclination. I worked as Recruiter and HR Business Partner in the space sector, mainly part time as in the meantime my life was enriched by the arrival of 2 children.
It was my husband who saw ESA’s vacancy notice for a HR Business Partner and encouraged me to apply. I could never even have dreamt that it would happen, but it did and I joined ESA in February 2018. In my HR Business Partner role, I’m responsible for the delivery of the full spectrum of HR services and for providing guidance on all HR questions both for the Directorate of Operations and the Directorate of Human & Robotic Exploration. Working for ESA is truly unique: everyone is contributing to amazing projects, driven by passion and supported by a collegial atmosphere. Teams are diverse and truly international, which makes every day an opportunity for exchange.
It’s a real pleasure for me to support ESA employees and to contribute to the recruitment of new colleagues and now, to the new class of European Astronauts. What a great journey!
Lucy van der Tas
From an early age, Lucy was a bit of a bookworm. Ask her some unusual scientific fact and she had usually read about it somewhere. But if you had told her when she was a teenager that she would eventually end up working for the European Space Agency, she would have said that you were wrong. And, yet, that is what happened. For many, a dream come true.
With an interest in languages and qualifications in translation, Lucy left the UK to start working for the International Labour Office in Geneva in 1981. Two years later she moved to the Netherlands to join ESA at its Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), ESA’s technical heart where most projects are born and guided through their development.
Starting as an administrative assistant in Recruitment, she moved to Training after a few years, eventually becoming Head of the ESTEC Training Service in 1995. In 2010, she became an HR Advisor which gave her valuable insights into recruitment and selection and in October 2020, she was selected to lead ESA’s newly created Talent Acquisition Team. In this role, she and her team market ESA as an employer with a view to attracting candidates to apply for its vacancies.
In her early forties and by then the mother of a small child, she decided to study part time for a Master in Human Resources Management. Combining this with a full-time job was probably one of her biggest challenges but the return on investment was immense, both in terms of personal and professional growth, and was a major contributor to the further evolution of her career.
Lucy says: “I still get a lump in my throat every time we launch a satellite. The fact that our work has an impact on so many lives and inspires so many people is highly motivating. And I love working in a multi-cultural environment. I see European cooperation at its best on a daily basis and now I have the privilege to help ESA find its next class of astronauts.”