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Astrid Neuland - Thalesgroup
Business Development Executive

I report to the Director of our C41ISR business line and uncover new opportunities and understand requirements at the senior level in order to leverage Thales’ extensive global capabilities. I’m responsible for development of specific existing business opportunities and progressing these as necessary to ensure a successful conclusion. I’m tasked with client relationship management with existing and new clients within the Canadian Defence customer community, including the Army and Joint Staff, and government departments;  and also with industrial colleagues in order to solidify collaboration partners/subcontractors for business opportunities.

 Why did you choose this career path?
 
My career is quite unusual but the consistent element is business development and client relationship. I moved from the wine business, to IT software to IT professional services, and from there to defence and security. In all cases I was mentored and provided with guidance as I entered a new environment. My introduction specifically to defence came when I met a retired General who gave me an opportunity to both learn and be successful.

I took every chance I could, to learn about defence, both from a business point of view, but from a human point of view. As a civilian working in defence and security I bring a different perspective to the business and use my own past experiences to bring value to the organization, understanding the operational challenges and unique needs of our customers.
 
 Looking back, what are the highlights in your career so far?

Any time I have an opportunity to provide value for my client, I feel success!

 What are the major challenges of your job today?

Since my career has included a variety of industries, I would say learning the unique environments has been a challenge – but a terrifically exciting challenge. Also, as a civilian working in Defence and Security, there are times when assumptions are made because I do not have traditional military experience. I approach this by applying business development principals in different contexts to the client discussions.

 What’s next?

I will continue to work to bring value to Thales' clients and our defence and security community.  Pay it forward, support the next generation of women, and mentoring young leaders in the field. Continue to learn. The demand for new technology and innovation in the field demands ongoing learning and appreciation for the best solutions.