A day at HLabs with Creative Director, Shadi

Hlabs Meets
Curious to step into the world of an outstanding creative leading a team of fellow innovators? In this article, we’re putting the spotlight on our very own Creative Director, Shadi.
25th August 2023
5 min read
Written by Andiana Cáceres Martínez
Shadi: Hero

Get ready for an adventure into the mind of an extraordinary creative. Shadi is the first guest in our ‘A Day at HLabs’ series and we can’t wait for you to discover all about her!

From the charming buzz of her morning routine with her feline friend Misha to steering a team of creatives at our remote virtual offices, her day is a blend of structure, spontaneity, creativity and connection.

As she cycles through tasks with energy and a smile, Shadi unleashes her passion and design magic on everyone she interacts with.

Read on as we explore Shadi’s joys, challenges, and aspirations, revealing the essence of a leader who keeps the vibes high and the design standard even higher.

Can you walk us through your typical morning routine?

Meowwww meow that's Misha, my kitty clock. Once his bowl is filled up, I will usually do my morning workout or yoga for an hour. Then I’ll cycle to my studio space at Broedplaats LELY, an old school remodelled into a breeding ground for creatives. I work from Amsterdam during UK hours, so by now, it's almost 10 o'clock.

I open my computer while making coffee and drop the daily "morning" message on our team slack channel and spend the next 15mins checking emails, Slack messages, project updates and calendar events. 10h15 is the allocation meeting with the HLabs PM queens Margot, Leti, Bea and Andi: a 15min sprint to assign everyone daily tasks, ending with "see you on the other side!" That's when we jump onto the other morning call with the rest of the team where we outline the schedule of the day and present inspiration and share updates. But the day hasn't truly started until I’ve sent my bestie Lara a heart emoji on Slack.

Can you share an example of a project or task you’re currently working on and your progress so far?

All our projects have very short turnaround times, the latest one I worked on was a one-day brief designing a PDF brochure for a real estate project in Serbia. I love architecture and interior design so I really enjoyed this one, having a tight deadline makes me work more effectively and productively. I had creative freedom on this one, with no brief from the client apart from "it needs to look good", don't we all love these ones? A designer's nightmare or blessing you never know...

“Having a tight deadline makes me work more effectively and productively.” - Shadi, Creative Director at HLabs

What kind of interactions do you have with colleagues or team members throughout the day?

I'm constantly chatting with different people on Slack. I also have 121s with my line reports, internal meetings about strategy, briefing calls with the team, or small catch-ups about design, so I feel very close to the team. As I'm based in Amsterdam, interactions are remote but I never feel lonely or isolated, we do a good job at keeping connected and memes always help get the vibes across.

What are some common tasks or responsibilities that you find most enjoyable in your role?

My favourite thing is still designing, I just love it when I have a few hours to fully focus on a project, taking time to design without interruption is what gives me the most joy and sense of achievement. I also really enjoy learning, whether it's a new tool, a new technique, or listening to a talk, anything to keep me inspired!

On the other hand, what aspects of your job do you find the most challenging?

All the admin stuff, keeping on top of emails, comms and Slack channels takes a lot of energy. Managing a team is also a pretty new thing for me and very challenging (in a good way!). I'm constantly learning how to navigate team dynamics, communication styles, identifying tricky situations, supporting when needed. It requires a lot of introspection and self-reflection, I still have so much to learn.

“One thing that I aspire to is to be seen as a kind and inspiring person” - Shadi, Creative Director at HLabs
“One thing that I aspire to is to be seen as a kind and inspiring person” - Shadi, Creative Director at HLabs

What are your long-term career goals, and how does your current daily routine contribute to achieving them?

Ouch! difficult question. To be honest, I don't really have a specific career goal, I often just go with the flow and take opportunities that are presented to me. One thing that I do aspire to is to be seen as a kind and inspiring person, so I try to do a bit of that every day hoping that eventually people will remember me as so.

What is your favourite emoji on Slack?

I've been loving the spinning cat and running pink penguin, I feel it represents my current status, I'm always busy running in all directions.

You're in charge of the dress code for a day at the HLabs office, what are you asking everyone to wear?

Category iiis: project panache... come dressed as your favourite HLabs project. We'd have Red Bull athletes, illustrated outfits and so many themes to work with.

Approach personal growth in an assertive yet enjoyable manner.

Harmonise morning routines, creative projects, team interactions, and personal growth in an assertive yet enjoyable manner. Creative freedom sparks joy, resulting in exceptional designs. Team management challenges fuel the growth journey, embracing introspection and inspiring leadership. Despite remote work, always stay connected with the team and use memes and visual props to keep the spirit and motivation alive.