Matanat Rahimova, Ph.D., MBA
I believe that working in the development organizations is one of the best career options for those who want to grow personally and professionally while still doing work that has a social impact. Although business companies also create an impact on society and environment through growing socially responsible business practices, making a profit remains the main goal of the for-profits. But creating an impact on a community, society and on the world is a direct mission of a development organization. However, many people from the outside, find the UN system and international development sector complex, unfamiliar and thus are not sure what it takes to be successful there.
With a tenure of more than 18 years’ international managerial and HR experience in the United Nations’ system and international organizations, and now as a qualified coach and talent development consultant, I have a passion to help individuals who want to build their dream career in the UN and other international organizations.
My international career has taken me around the world, to numerous field offices and Headquarters in Europe, Asia and North America. I feel privileged to have worked with various UN affiliated organizations like UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, UNHCR, WFP, UNFPA, WB, ADB as well as intergovernmental organizations CTBTO and OSCE in multiple domains (social development, capacity building, nuclear non-proliferation and human resources).
I have hands-on experience in capacity building and professional development.
It means that I conceptualised and delivered programmes, provided individual and team training, and coached and mentored staff and stakeholders at all levels of responsibilities. Namely:
- I hired and developed staff for projects that were recognized as best practices for scalability and sustainability.
- I organised capacity building programmes that helped thousands of experts, diplomats and staff members to enhance their personal and professional development in local and international contexts.
- I supported and guided national experts of OSCE participating States to enter the OSCE field missions and institutions through pre-mission training programmes in cooperation with national authorities and institutions.
Outside of my work, I support professionals in there career development through my association with the IAEA Chapter of the Women in Nuclear Global Network (IAEA WiN), as a member of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and Association for Talent Development and as a Board Member of the Professional Women’s Network in Vienna, Austria.
I see myself as a trusted advisor to support the engagement of professionals in the international development movement to ensure long lasting impact on the society, business and the world. Therefore I am strongly committed to sharing my knowledge and to provide relevant career guidance to those who want to work in the international development world and make a difference with the work they do.
As a career coach, I guide professionals to bring clarity to their next career move and help them to develop an action plan so they can make their next career move with confidence.
My Personal Story
I have a complex and nonlinear career path. I was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. With a passion to information technology, I graduated the “Azerbaijani Institute of Oil and Chemistry”, one of the top 10 prominent universities in the former USSR with the honours diploma in computer engineering. I aimed to build my career in research and development in the artificial intelligence area. At the age of 29, I gained the Ph.D. equivalent degree in area of the computer science for my work on development of expert systems in the oil energy sector.
But a collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 and consequently breakdown of all social and economic relationships drastically changed my life and career. In addition, a serious sickness of my father made it impossible for me to leave the country to pursue my dream career abroad. As millions of others I was pushed to survive a hardship of the transition to a new life. The complex and expensive artificial intelligence research projects were no longer a top priority for the battered post-Soviet economy. I had to search for new career options and re-invent myself.
Before landing a UN job, I had worked in many positions including as a senior researcher, lecturer, software developer, head of computer science development, dean of engineering school in state and private universities, and as IT project manager and trainer in the Microsoft Training centre.
From my experience, what is most important in career transition is not so much the skills that you gathered at work, but rather taking a conscious look at your inner abilities and examining a broader picture of one’s opportunities.
I invested a lot of time and effort into self-learning, to better understand my inner strengths and growth areas and my interests and the motivating reasons of why and what I wanted to do. I explored opportunities, developed necessary skills and built supportive networks. This experience helped me to realise that helping people and organizations to develop their potential was much more exciting and impactful for me than developing software algorithms. It became clear for me that I wanted to work in a development sector and make an impact on a larger scale.
In 1998, I began my career in the international development world as a UNICEF Development Officer in Azerbaijan’s country office. I feel fortunate to have worked with the international development community and UN family organizations providing crucial support to my country and region at a most critical time. The programmes I developed and managed made a proven impact on the lives of millions of disadvantaged people. I found my mission to become an international professional, and to help people and organizations to enhance their potentials and effectiveness. And over the course of 18 years, working with UNDP, UNESCO, UNHCR, WFP, UNFPA, WB, ADB as well as intergovernmental organizations CTBTO and OSCE in multiple domains, my international career has brought me to numerous countries, field officers and headquarters.
My work I did in the international development world not only made an impact on society, but also gave me the fulfilment, satisfaction and skills to help me develop my own personal, social and financial stability.
Currently based in Vienna, Austria, I lead the coaching and consulting practice at Talent Tech. I feel fulfilled helping people who dream to work in the UN and international development organizations, and to make an impact with their work on their societies and on the world. I gained an MBA from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria, and Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, USA. I am qualified CO-ACTIVE COACH®. I am native speaker of Russian and Azerbaijani and also speak English and German.
In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, particularly Azerbaijani mugam, cooking for my family and friends, and traveling.
If what you have read about me sounds likes I might be the right person to assist you in your career journey in the UN and international development world, you’re welcome to view how to work with me. Please contact me to explore how my skills match your needs, and tell me a little about your career dream, where you might feel stuck and need help.