Read about Kristine 'Tata' Velayo

Kristine Velayo
Chief of Service
Regional Service Management, Operations Support Division, Office of Information and Communications Technology


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

As a child I enjoyed tinkering with broken FM radios (pretending I could fix it). I started developing small applications and games using QBasic when personal computers (PCs) were mainstreamed in the 90s. And then I discovered IRC (you can google that), and was able to chat with other people around the world - I was hooked! I suppose my inherent sense of curiosity for things and people are really what got me into tech.


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

Projects that directly impacted beneficiaries in Afghanistan and the Middle East and North Africa are clear favorites. For example, I led project teams who implemented IT solutions that helped facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to natural disaster affected and conflict displaced communities. In another project, I led the provision of various IT solutions to facilitate the timely migration of refugees from Syria to the United States where they would build a new life.


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

I would say complement your technical expertise with good communication skills and a willingness to engage in good collaborations. Extroverts typically have an added advantage in this space but ultimately, your ability to provide solutions and articulate how technology impacts a business outcome positively is what will bring you to the table. Better yet, define the table! Understand what your personal values are (mine are transparency, collaboration, and integrity) and let these guide you through your journey. Take risks and seek mentorship from experienced leaders. Remember, your unique perspective and contributions can make a significant impact in the technology field.