A day in the life of an Arab businesswoman

Published August 5th, 2015 - 06:16 GMT

Hama Yassen is a product manager, team leader and social media enthusiast (you can find her on Twitter at @HamaYassen). She works on launching new consumer apps at Startappz, a company specialized in building mobile, web and social apps. Hama has worked on award-winning apps with millions of downloads. Apps Hama helped build are affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of users across the Arab world.

Hama has extensive experience in driving product strategy and motivating teams to get things done. She is also capable of designing user experience and testing it effectively during the entire product life cycle.

Hama holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Al-Zarqa’ Al-Ahliyya Al-Khassa University in Jordan. She is married to entrepreneur Mohamad Khawaja and has three children.

Here’s a day in Hama’s life:

6:00 – 7:30 AM

I usually start the day with my morning exercise. Nothing more refreshing than a morning run! After that I wake up the kids (with hugs and kisses!) and make sure they have a healthy and balanced breakfast, before getting dressed for work.

7:30 – 8:30 AM

I drive the kids to school while enjoying our morning talk. Sometime I help them revise for their exams.

8:30 – 10:00 AM

I usually come into the office a little early to get a nice chunk of quiet time. I set up my desk and prepare my cup of coffee and skim through my email inbox. As I start earlier, I set priorities for the day and send calendar invitations for important meetings.

10:00 – 10:15 AM

Quick stand-up meeting with my team to review yesterday’s progress and check up on all due tasks for the day. Avoiding creeps is the second-toughest challenge I face at work, after managing talent. Luckily, I have gained a lot of experience motivating team members with different mindsets — part of my job is to keep them always super excited and empowered.

10:15AM – 12:00PM

As my role is deeply collaborative, I spend a good amount of time persuading people to support the team decisions and work with passion, regardless of the circumstances (tight timelines, new technologies, etc.).

12:00 – 1:00PM

Inspiration time: I read “fun” articles about new products/features and the latest tech trends on publications such as The Next Web, TechCrunch and Mashable. This is also the best time to work on wireframes, illustrating and highlighting what we should do in the next product release using a tool called Balsamiq.

1:00 – 2:00PM

Lunch time: food is about having a good time with people you love and can be another great reason to hangout with friends.

2:00 – 3:00PM

This is usually when I meet with our marketing manager to discuss and analyze success metrics, and reflect on the marketing plan.

3:00 – 4:00 PM

Skype with the editor-in-chief of the cooking magazine in Jeddah to discuss new recipes for some of our apps. Yummmmy! 

4:00 – 5:00PM

This is usually the time where I celebrate with the team any new product release.

5:30 – 7:00PM

Family fun time: xboxing (Just Dance and Fifa are our favorite games!). Sometime we just enjoy homemade dishes together with the kids (fruit salads, cupcakes and cookies are our best choices!)

7:00 – 8:00PM

Kids bedtime: sometimes I read them stories, but most of the time they share their adventures at school and raise big questions like: Why Aren’t There Any More Dinosaurs? Can We Have Our Summer Vacation In Mars — In A Few Years!? I hope one day my little ones will be able to figure out the answers to these questions themselves.

8:00 – 9:00PM

Attacking email inbox one more time. I close off as many conversations as I can. I also check if there is any urgent email pending reply or any email that I can respond to in 2 minutes (I follow the 2-minute rule diligently!)

9:00 – 11:00PM

Entertainment time: watching our favorite TV series , YouTube videos and comedy shows. My husband and I are also heavy social media users — so in addition to series and shows it’s usually Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for us. 


Off to bed, but not before reading my daily page of “Everyday Happy” by Jenny Hare…

All night until I wake up again

Dreaming of the next big thing in our products and looking forward to a great day after.

By Reem Boudraa

This article originally appeared in bayt.com.

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