We are EMBL: Angelika Thomasson on administrative support to EMBL staff

Angelika Thomasson, administrative assistant at EMBL Grenoble, talks about her role in supporting her colleagues in organising events and travels, what she enjoys about EMBL, and which famous female scientist she would like to have coffee with.

White woman with short red hair standing in garden in front of a tree. Picture of Angelika Thomasson. Credits: Marcos Lopez-Marrero/EMBL
Credits: Marcos Lopez-Marrero/EMBL

Seminars, courses, conferences, retreats: over the past several months, many events switched from being held only virtually to hybrid mode. In-person events are good opportunities to reconnect and exchange in informal ways, but can be consequently more demanding in terms of logistics and administrative support. 

Behind the scenes, Angelika Thomasson is providing this support in Grenoble, juggling between travel arrangements, coordination with providers, on site logistics – in brief, making sure that everything runs smoothly.

What do you think is the most exciting thing about your work and EMBL?

The most exciting thing about my work is the opportunity to make life and work easier and more convenient for my colleagues. The best part of EMBL is the international environment, working with so many different people from different countries and backgrounds. At EMBL Grenoble itself, we have more than 20 different nationalities!

How important do you think collaboration is to achieving your goals?

Cooperation is essential to achieving my goals, as otherwise I would not be able to organise events and travel or provide administrative support. In organising an event, you have to consider many other people involved in the organisation of the event agenda, including assistants who are taking care of participants’ travel. You might also need to interact directly with participants to learn about their needs or constraints. Since we are all working together for the same purpose, teamwork is essential for everything to be carried out in the best possible way.

What is your passion and what do you do in your spare time?

My passion is travelling, exploring new places and meeting new people. The trip I enjoyed the most so far was to Norway, as I’m fascinated by the Viking and Scandinavian cultures. For me, it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I also often visit Italy, which I love for its art and cultural patrimony, and of course for its food! The next country I would like to visit is Iceland, to discover its spectacular landscapes of volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, and lava fields. Europe has a lot of beautiful and interesting places to offer. In my daily life, I enjoy swimming and gardening; they allow me to clear my head and relax.

If you could have coffee/cocktails with three famous scientists who would they be, and why?

I have just one – Maria Skłodowska-Curie. Because of her courage in living the life she chose. She caused sensation not only because of her scientific discoveries, but also because of the decisions she made in her private life. Throughout her life, she tried to break down barriers that inhibited women’s position in society. She was not afraid to take on jobs considered typically for men.

Where do you find inspiration for solving problems at work?

I think my family gives me the best inspiration to solve problems. I have three children, which is quite challenging, and we are a multicultural household. I’m Polish and my partner is French, which is very enriching, but cultural differences can sometimes add another level of complexity! 

What’s the best advice you were ever given in pursuing your field?

To take responsibility for my mistakes and not put the responsibility on others. I think this advice is true not only in the pursuit of one’s field but in life in general.

If there was a sign hanging above the door to your office, what might it say?

Welcome! How can I help you?

Tags: administrative support, grenoble, we are embl


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