Read about Francia Peralta
Chief, Field Technology Section
United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
What brought you to a career in technology at the United Nations?
My career started from teaching computer courses in colleges and universities, followed by designing, coding and implementing applications, up to managing US government regional ICT operations in 5 countries in Central Asia. It was in 2007 when I was selected as Chief FTS in UNOWAS (UNOWA at that time) where my career in UN started. It was my first job in UN and although I felt demoted from managing a regional ICT operations to managing a small ICT unit, I enjoyed and patiently faced all challenges that came my way. This is part of learning how to work in the UN. I was fully motivated to be part of an organization which can help the world become a better place. In 2009, I had the opportunity to move to UNLB in Brindisi where I managed a world-class Data Center. The success of the Data Center section in delivering application platform enables me to be part of a handful of experts who start the GSC Valencia operations. I joined GSC Valencia in 2011. As pioneer of GSC Valencia, I launched the first platform and application at the Data Center in Valencia and enjoyed many successful projects after that, including the infrastructure setup of UMOJA platform, setup of the first in-house cloud environment at GSC, setup of the Citrix farm for UMOJA, establishment of Disaster Recovery for Valencia and Brindisi including the very first DR exercise and deployment of still existing Data Domain backup infrastructure for 36 field missions sending backup data to GSC, and many more. To boost my career after 7 years in Valencia, one of my mentors suggested to have a lateral move, so I accepted the Information Security post at GSC Brindisi (UNLB) in 2017 where I led the GSC ICT Security team and which gave me opportunities to rollout SCCM in 36 missions, centralized anti-virus system in 33 missions, and Federated Checkpoint firewall. Before the end of 2018, I had the chance to have another lateral move to MINUSCA as Chief of Service Management Unit, and finally in March 2022, I was promoted as Chief of FTS in MONUSCO.
What has been your favorite IT project at the United Nations and what was your technical contribution?
I believe I had a chance to contribute to many successful projects in the UN. One of my favorites is the Data Domain implementation to 36 missions, which is still functioning (not a surprise because nothing beats its performance yet!). Before the Domain, we were storing backup data to Terabytes of storage which costs millions. With data domains, which applies de-duplication technology, seamless integration in vmware infrastructure, encryption, and replication, it shrinks data up to 99% resulting in less storage space with 30x reduction costs. It also requires less bandwidth for replication. Another project that I enjoyed working on was Teams Voice. By having Teams Voice instead of traditional extension, users will be able to call from anywhere without having a physical extension. Aside from financial benefits, the ability to use Teams Voice while telecommuting will have huge savings on roaming voice calls.
What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a field in technology?
Enjoy what you do and you'll never work a single day! Work hard and don't stop thinking of ways we can provide the best service to our end-user. Think of opportunities, rather than constraints. Create opportunities for others to grow. Don't stop learning. Do not blame others but be humble and learn. Have as many mentors as you can who are really good in character, not just in words. Lastly, think about your career because no one is responsible for your career except you.