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Layla Lebesque's projects are all about optimising logistics processes. As deputy research manager for Military Operations, she is keen to see everything running smoothly.
“I studied Econometrics and Operational Research. It was only at TNO that I was gripped by optimising logistical processes: transporting things as efficiently, effectively and sustainably as possible with the help of technology that fits into the Dutch infrastructure. In the end, that became the leitmotiv in my career and I did that for a few years as a project manager and consultant.“
“Since I became a deputy research manager, I have been less involved with research projects and more focused on the ins and outs of the department. Do we do the research we want to do, does everyone enjoy their work and what is the financial situation of the department? I like to focus on the bigger picture. A while ago, together with the ten youngest employees in my department, I thought about how we should develop in order to remain relevant in the future. For example, I asked them: what studies will see us featured in the newspaper in 2025?”
“I joined TNO as a trainee six years ago. After that, I worked for Sustainable Transport & Logistics for three years as a project manager and consultant. When my team leader went on maternity leave, I spent six months taking on her role. I liked that so much that I wanted to move on to a management position. When the manager of my current department, Military Operations, was looking for a deputy, it was a great opportunity for me to find out if that role really suits me. Moreover, it is interesting to use my expertise in the field of civil logistics for defence purposes.
The same goes for the experience I gained at my previous workplace with serious gaming, another of my areas of interest. This is a great way to allow people to discover for themselves what a new way of working or technology could mean to them. The insights you gain from it are better than a report or a presentation.”
“The biggest challenge of my work is to combine the different hats I'm wearing. As a project manager, for example, I may desperately need an employee while, as his manager, I know that he is already busy enough. I'm also still exploring which tasks I might be able to outsource. That's sometimes difficult, because at TNO there are so many enjoyable things to do.”