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Employee of the month – Sandra Van Vooren

In many companies, receptionists are the face of the company because everyone passes by the reception when entering and exiting the office. At the Antwerp World Diamond Centre ( AWDC), we are very lucky to have the charming and lovely Sandra as the first point of contact for our employees and guests. With her beautiful smile , she makes sure that our day starts in a positive way.

After obtaining her secondary diploma, Sandra started an economic degree in college. For personal reasons, after a few months, she decided to take some time off her studies. She was ready to enter the labor market but did not know what career path she wanted to pursue. Sandra had no prior knowledge of the diamond industry, but it had always been of interest to her. Through her sister in law, who already worked in the diamond sector, she eventually ended up at AWDC – then HRD.

Because Sandra knew she would one day want to continue her studies, she assumed that it would be a temporary job but eventually, she stayed at AWDC for years and is still working there with pleasure.

She gained a lot of experience by working in different departments at HRD / AWDC.
She started in the Diamond lab as an administrative employee. She handled the mail and had to perform all kinds of administrative tasks.  Sandra quickly moved on to customer service, where she had a lot of phone contact with the customers. Then she moved to the lab box office.“ I quickly realized that I wanted to do something more communicative,” says Sandra.

After a while , although she liked her job, Sandra wanted to do something else within the company. When a vacancy for a receptionist was posted, Sandra immediately took her chance and applied for the position. That is how she arrived in her current role as receptionist. Since then, Sandra has been working as a receptionist for 15 years, but in that period she also worked in other departments within the company. She has worked in the marketing department, as well as in the purchase and finance department. All the knowledge she gained in these various departments is without doubt an added value for her job behind the reception today. Moreover Sandra also got the opportunity to follow a few courses.

When I hear Sandra talk about her job, I nearly feel like doing it myself. She is so enthusiastic !  She likes to get in touch with different people and cultures and to help everyone as well as possible. "Every day looks completely different and that makes it very interesting even after all those years", says Sandra.

She gets a lot of satisfaction referring people in a good way and answering all the different questions as correctly and professionally as possible. She is proud to be the first point of contact for AWDC.

Her daughter also worked for a short period at AWDC, mainly as a Tender Facility Assistant but also as a receptionist with Sandra. A unique and pleasant cooperation that caused some funny confusion because they look alike.

"I never come with a bad feeling working” says Sandra. Although she has only one direct colleague, she does not really have that feeling. "You are a bit on an island, but actually I know everyone in the company. You see everyone passing by and keep a short chat with the different colleagues now and then."

The diamond sector is a unique, warm and small world. Sandra knows almost everyone and everyone knows Sandra. She cannot walk incognito through the Hovenierstraat. If she has an appointment somewhere, she always needs to leave well in time because otherwise she will be too late as everybody stops her in the street to talk with her. " There is a very cheerful atmosphere between people. With all those cultures, you always travel a little which is very interesting, "says Sandra. There is also a very good relationship with the police officers and the local soldiers.

Sandra recommends new employees in the sector to be open to the different cultures and their individuality. Every culture has its own habits and it is therefore very important to be able to adapt easily . If you are flexible, there are certainly great opportunities in the diamond sector.

  • What would you do if you won the lotto?

Of course it depends on how big the profit is :-) 

I wouldn’t change a lot in my life. I would rather travel more often and definitely buy a holiday home in Crete. I would also donate part of my profit to an organization that is committed to the care of neglected and abandoned animals.

  • What’s your favorite place in the world?

As many of my colleagues know, I have lost my heart to the Greek islands.

  • Do you have a question for the next employee of the month?

How did you end up in this sector?

Do you want to become the next employee of the month? Send us an e-mail katia.gaertner@awdc.be. We will be happy to contact you!