The versatile Shaga Velikhanova

24/05/2019 - Careers, Azerbaijan
As a Field Service Coordinator in Baku, Shaga has learned to juggle several jobs at once and to apply her numerous skills.

Please describe your career history.

I studied philology (Russian language and literature) at university in Baku for 4 years, then I got a Master's degree in teaching. Although I finished the studies with excellence, I realized I did not want to become a teacher. Therefore, I started working as Business Aviation Flight Coordinator at an international airport.

In 2013 I started looking for new job opportunities and applied for a position at the Vallourec branch in Azerbaijan. First, I started working as an administrative assistant – I mostly handled paperwork for expats, was dealing with company finances and communication with different suppliers.  My manager saw potential in me and gave me opportunity and conditions to grow up and improve my skills. After some training, I moved on to a more technical position: I became Field Service Coordinator.

What is the role of a Field Service Coordinator?

I coordinate logistics for VAM® Caspian technicians in Azerbaijan and Caspian Region. My main duties are:

  • answering all incoming service calls, during normal business hours, as well as afterhours emergency service calls
  • creating jobcards and assigning technicians to jobs
  • making sure that all techniciens have their medical certificates and necessary trainings up to date
  • administrative duties related to assignments: visas, passports, etc.

In this way, my job is similar to Susan Bremner's in Aberdeen. I have heard a lot of good words about her experience and personality so I can tell that she is my role model for this job.

I also take part in the Added Value program, organized by Robert Stelly, our VGS (Vallourec Global SOlutions) Operations EAMEA Director. The program works as following: when technicians go on an onshore or offshore job, they sometimes bring their customer added value in an innovative way and save their time, resources or bring additional benefit to customers. We gather our technicians' comments, and the best comment is rewarded by the company. I am in charge of reading the comments every month, and see which ones can be rewarded. Robert and I meet every month and send our findings to different service centers to let the managers see the results. Working on this program has immensely improved my technical knowledge.

What are the main challenges of your job?

As I have mentioned before, I work at many different tasks, and sometimes I have to switch my brain from one topic to the other, for example from finance to human resources or Field Service coordinating. I need to remain focused on the task at hand. It is easy to become overwhelmed if you want to do too many things at once.

I have to deal not only with technicians, but also with customers. Everyone has a different personality and I have to find a way to reach them. Therefore communication is an essential skill as I am always looking for solutions and compromises for everyone's needs.

You are a woman working in a traditionally male environment. Is it particularly challenging?

It's true, I work in a team with only men. However, it has never been difficult: the Azerbaijani culture is very considerate of women. For a man, for example, it is not acceptable to shout or be rude to a woman. Moreover, we often find women working in high positions who are respected.

If I had advice to give to women to help them advance in their careers, I would recommend that they be patient and keep working hard!

What do you like about working at Vallourec?

Everyone here will be heard if they have problems or ideas. People are not just a number, they are individuals who deserve to be listened to.

Who are you outside of work?

I love sports. Every morning, I wake up at 6AM and do cardio training, then come to work afterwards. Sometimes I even go back to the gym after work. I also enjoy swimming, and I played basketball as a child.

I also enjoy reading, particularly romance novels. My favorite book is "The Forty Rules of Love" by Elif Shafak. I like books which carry a deeper meaning: for example, that particular book is about different types of love.

What is best advice you have ever received?

It came from my father. He told me: "Whichever way you choose, make sure it is an honorable way. People around you will be proud of you."