Meet Ahlam Harb, avid guitar player, huge basketball fan, passionate UI/UX designer and one of Aspire’s most talented Quality & Design Coordinators.
Why did you choose IT?
I studied Computer Engineering. I have always felt that even though I am a computer Engineer, I have never been far from art and design. From the beginning, I was indecisive between choosing IT or Medicine. I ended up choosing IT, in order to stay close to my family (as to do Medicine, I would have to leave the country and study abroad) and to do something that the market was in need of. I am very happy with my choice and to have studied Computer Engineering.
What are you particularly passionate about within your industry?
After graduating, I felt I wasn’t far from art and design and my main interest became in User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX).
I had a friend from University who was working at Aspire and told me about the company (my friend Tuleen is still at Aspire by the way). I applied and joined after graduation having around one and a half years of previous work experience.
What was the path to your current role at Aspire?
I joined Aspire as a Quality Analyst. After less than a month, I was selected to join the Automation team. There was a separate Automation team at that time. After five months, I got the chance to travel to the US and work on a project with one of our clients as a Systems Analyst. Things went very well on that project, which led to many other projects and showed us the need of having a new team at Aspire for Systems Analysis. After that, we started doing some design work and the first designer joined the team which was a turning point. The consistent good work and client satisfaction for two and a half years showed clearly the need of having a separate Creative Team of designers and developers to do various UI/UX tasks. I was honored to lead this team for more than 6 years. Currently I am coordinating both Quality efforts and UI/UX design work for multiple projects.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical working day nowadays since the COVID-19 lockdown is that I wake up, make my coffee and check emails and any updates from the clients. After that, I have a daily standup meeting with my team, then with the directors and leaders to communicate the status of our work. Throughout the day, I sync up with all emails, team updates, client needs and assignments and I usually have meetings with the clients in the afternoon followed by completing different tasks and following up with issues.
My day-to-day didn’t change all that much working from home. I guess it’s just the face-to-face interactions. However, before the lockdown I used to go to the gym to exercise or swim. I tried to make exercising a habit, which has been hard to do from home.
What do you value the most about the company?
I have been at Aspire for more than 15 years, so I value the company a lot! It’s hard to say just one thing because there are so many things I love about Aspire, but since I have to choose, I really love the flexible and dynamic working environment. Employees always have a chance to keep learning. When I talk about my experience, I had a chance to work on many different things and to constantly challenge myself throughout the years.
Ahlam at Aspire office
What is your favorite movie or series?
I don’t have any specific favorite movie or series, however, I really love the Sci-Fi genre. Sci-Fi is what I prefer to watch, always.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love spending time with family, swimming, playing guitar (which is my favorite hobby), and I also love to run outdoors whenever I get a chance.
Ahlam loves running outdoors
What is something that will surprise your colleagues?
Most of the new Aspirers don’t know that my only sister also worked at Aspire before moving with her family to the US.
Ahlam with her sister Ghada Harb on the 10th year anniversary for Aspire
I am also a big fan of basketball. I used to play for my school and college. I love all of the Jordan national team matches and I try to go to as many matches as I can. The Jordanian Basketball Team is one of the best teams in Asia and they even qualified for the FIBA World Cup in China last year.
Ahlam with her nephew at (Jordan vs New Zealand) match – World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I would be a dolphin because I love dolphins and they represent intelligence, balance, harmony and joy.
You have 10 seconds to impress someone. What do you tell them?
You can’t impress someone without knowing their interests, so I would try and find something out about them first.
What’s your favorite singer/song/band?
I love turkish music the most and my favorite singer is Gökhan Tepe.
Gökhan Tepe, Turkish singer.
What is one thing you want to do before it is too late?
I want to go skydiving in Dubai.
What’s your biggest personal achievement?
I was one of the very first graduates from the Jubilee School which was a pioneer pilot from the King Hussein Foundation for talented students in Jordan and the Middle East. I had 4 years of exceptional advanced learning opportunities along with a great chance to develop my personal and leadership skills.
What’s your biggest professional accomplishment?
Choosing a moment during these 15 years is hard, but leading the Creative Team for more than 6 years was the most memorable for me! It was a great chance and experience including the onsite visits with the creative team in New York.
What superpower would you like to have?
To be able to materialize dreams into reality, pretty much to be a full-time genie.
If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Fruits, I love fruits.
What’s your life philosophy?
Nothing worth having comes easy.
Why are you still at Aspire?
No one can know what the Aspire family actually means, except those who work here for a really long time. Everyone cares about each other like a family along with sharing experience and knowledge freely. We adopt an open door policy with regards to any matters and we always make sure important information and feedback reaches the leadership team. This policy comes from our Founder and Managing Director, Kaushal Shah. Till this day he walks across all floors and asks us how we are, knows employees by name. Even during the lockdown, he cares about us and has online calls to check on everyone. I am proud to be an Aspirer! We encourage openness and transparency for all employees.
How do you feel life is going to be post COVID-19?
At a certain moment, life will go back to normal, however in another shape with a ‘new normal’. New ways of thinking, of working, new challenges and new opportunities.
Any tips for new graduates?
I would advise them to not limit themselves with assumptions and expectations. Having a positive outlook is super important, so they should make the sky their limit and always keep learning.