“Be ruthless about prioritizing.”
In episode 55, Sham chats with Veronique about her path from science to diplomacy, her work for the Luxembourg embassy in Washington D.C, and her experiences raising a family in international postings.
Veronique Dockendorf’s is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the embassy of Luxembourg, currently based in Washington DC.
Veronique and Sham met when they both lived in Luxembourg – the country she is from and serves internationally. Veronique is trained in international relations and has represented Luxembourg in various roles – peacekeeping expert to transatlantic relations. She is also a mother to three wonderful girls who have traversed the globe with her and her lovely husband.
- She is the deputy chief of mission and she works with a dozen people and she served the ambassador to run the embassy and do what they do on a daily basis – which is to foster the relationship with the United States. Lots of discussions on issues – foreign policy, NATO – just a few examples. Preparation for visits.
- An important and interesting role in serving Luxembourgers in the US or Americans with Luxembourgish heritage.
- In representing Luxembourg, Veronique also serves the European Union. Especially with any new administration. And a lot of work into explaining the bigger picture – being part of the European Union – what peace and prosperity means. The pooling of sovereignty and what it means to the EU.
- Her job depends on the day of the week, the time of the month.A diverse set of tasks that serve the greater purpose.
- She did not think she would end up in diplomacy work initially – she trained in science and switched gears quickly when she realized it was not a good fit. As she looks back, she knows she always wanted to be part of an international community. She enjoyed all the foreign exchanges and knew she wanted to be a participant.
- She always loved enjoyed learning foreign languages. She speaks Luxembourgish, German, French, English and an understanding of Portuguese and Dutch.
- She lucked out with landing the first job of diplomacy with an internship. She sailed in smoothly.
- She has worked in Brussels, New York, back in Luxembourg and now in Washington DC.
- Her family enjoys the international postings and believes they have been spoilt. And her three daughters were born abroad. She knows that her family being happy and having the peace of mind that they are well is of utmost importance.
- Her husband is of extreme help in all the postings. He managed to find his own things to work on with the foreign postings. He also has helped out in the Luxembourg mission.
- Veronique played a crucial role in getting Luxembourg into the UN Security Council. She served with a secondment tot he Belgian embassy and learnt the ropes. It involves campaigning to convince the other 192 countries that your country would be the best candidate for the placement.
- She sees her career in diplomacy evolving and looks forward to the next adventure.
- She believes prioritizing – ruthless prioritizing enables her to do her work well.
- Veronique struggles a little with the fact that she will never be an expert, while being surrounded by experts. But she believes by investing into the issue and throwing herself into it, she can learn and contribute.
- Even if you have not studied something for 10 years you can still contribute.
- You should not be too modest – learn, and jump in.
- Have the right balance – have a solid base and learn from the experts but contribute.
- Her failure, an ongoing failure – she is not a digital diplomat yet.
- She sees the getting elected into the Security Council as a success but she likes the small success more – the daily successes – seeing a group of students and enlightening them. The feeling of having contributed to someone’s life – be it citizenship recovery or speaking to ministers and officials.
- As a woman, she would advise other women to not overthink the gender issue – you can have family and career – just balance it all out. Do not spend too much time worrying about it all.
“There is no good moment to have kids. Just have them!”
Connect with Veronique