Read about Alexandra Kinigopoulos

Alexandra Kinigopoulos
Publishing Officer
Meetings and Publishing Division, Department for General Assembly and Conference Management


What brought you to a career in technology at the United Nations?

I am thriving in what can be described as a non-traditional “tech” career at the United Nations. I specialize in digital publishing for print and electronic distribution. I came across this role by dovetailing two areas of specialization. The first area of specialization was the traditional “tech” experience as customer-facing technical support and computer repair. I pursued this specialization because of my interest in technology, from programming languages to video games, as well as my tendency toward focused and methodical problem-solving. The second area of specialization that brought me to this role was my bilingual background with formal native-level education in two United Nations languages which was reinforced by a college degree in linguistics and certifications in publishing and editing. My comfort level with learning and exploring new technologies, specifically the desktop publishing technologies that have evolved since the start of this millennium, gave me the opportunity to lead my unit. My role consisted of offering training and support, exploring new ways of doing things, designing and demonstrating new templates, and introducing automation processes. I am surrounded in my chosen career by successful women, be it language professionals or management staff, who support the exploration of new technology and are constantly challenging themselves and each other to keep up with the technological opportunities available to us.


What has been your favorite IT project at the United Nations and what was your technical contribution?

My favorite IT project at the United Nations has been my design of the Disarmament Yearbook template in Russian, which was later adapted into other languages. This template has been going strong for over a decade now, which to me is a testament to its robustness. The project allowed me to use the full capabilities of the desktop publishing software at the time, introducing macros and automation so that rather than manually placing coding elements at every stage every year, the production editor could click a button and have an element fly to its appropriate place, complete with styles. It also automatically scrubbed the text for keywords and elements (for example, Latin text in a Cyrillic or Arabic context) and used a different font style for these. Automation, instead of relying on a human production editor or graphic designer to manually implement routine modifications, dramatically reduces both time and fatigue This allows our team to spend more energy on proofreading, a task that remains outside the realm of machine capabilities.


What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a field in technology?

Seek out a woman who knows what you want to know and establish a mentorship. Take every opportunity for new projects, even if you’re nervous. Ask questions and ask for help: training, performance feedback or watching someone do something new... take notes, Google everything. And when it’s your turn to help someone younger, give her everything you’ve got.