Last week, we shined the Mango spotlight on in-house designer and resident creative genius, Eon Rodrigo. This week, we are continuing the tour de Mango by catching up with our endlessly beloved, endlessly awesome COO (Chief Operating Officer)/Integrator, Hamsa Daher. Some call her a superhero, we call her Hamsa the Hammer. But mostly, we call her a superhero. Here’s her side of the story, and trust us, it’s a good one.
Tell us what you do at Mango.
I am the COO and Integrator here at Mango. I do a little bit of everything, and I love it. Every day, my role has many different functions – I work with Sales and Marketing, and with our verticals: our libraries, corporate clients, and schools. I also make sure that everything is integrating well across departments. So, I make sure our budgets are in line, that people are meeting their goals, and that, across the board, we have the right people on the bus.
Do you have any new, exciting projects in the works?
It’s hard to choose just one. There is one project that’s very recent: our office redesign. I’m really excited about it – the idea is to open up the office more. We’re creating more conference rooms, infusing more culture into the workplace, and it’s going to be a really cool space. We plan to name each room after a global destination. The process has been a real team effort; HR, IT, and people from every department have helped by pitching in, sharing offices, and being flexible during the redesign. It’s going to be great.
We also have an ongoing project for the year. We’re testing out two new markets; it’s exciting to see how the year will end and how we’ll do in these markets. It feels like the sky’s the limit, there are endless opportunities for us. Week by week, we’re focused on figuring out how to increase volume in these new markets, and match the success that we’ve had in the public library market. There’s never a dull moment around here.
Now let’s talk about you. Tell us about your interests, background, and – of course – your language and culture.
I grew up in Baghdad, Iraq. My family and I moved to the United States on Christmas Eve, 1991, so my first impression of the States was the Big Apple during the holidays – all of the lights and the big city. New York City was my first love.
My first language is Arabic, and I speak Chaldean; a form of Aramaic spoken in Northern Iraq, so I learned English as a second language after moving here. I experienced firsthand how to assimilate and communicate within another language and culture.
I’m also a long-time Michigan resident. I’ve lived here since 1992, and I worked in academia for 9 years. I worked at Walsh College, and the cool thing is that I was able to work with international students from all over the world. My passion for language, culture, and education was a direct part of my job, and I loved it. I joined the Mango team in 2011, and now I’m able to use those passions to enrich lives with language and culture.
I’m trilingual – I’m fluent in Arabic, Chaldean, and English; I also speak a little bit of Spanish, and I’m currently learning Italian and French. I love studying languages – even outside of Mango, I love learning new languages and meeting people from different cultures. When I’m out and I hear someone speaking another language, I want to run up to them and ask them about their language and culture.
I also love my family and friends; I’m very close to my family. Coming from the Arabic culture, I have 51 first cousins – I’m not even joking. So, I’m always at a family event, whether it be a baptism, a communion, or a wedding – there were 600 people at my cousin’s wedding. We’re always hanging out and catching up. Traveling is also big thing for me. My husband is from Lebanon, so we try to go to the Middle East once a year.
Final question – why Mango?
I love Mango. I love what we do, and I love the people. Our office is so culturally diverse and rich, and the people are genuinely caring and interested in one another. Say I’m working on a new project, everyone’s reaction is always, “How can I help?” and “How can we support you?” You’re never in anything alone.
We talk about language and culture all day – it’s pretty sweet. There are so many new learning opportunities all of the time. We do trainings, we foster professional growth, and we encourage taking risks. We work to challenge the status quo every day. I’ve never been at the office and looked at the clock, wishing the work day would go by faster. I need 12 more hours every day. There’s never a dull moment and there’s always new things happening.
We’re glad you like us, Hamsa, because we really like you. You’re basically our spirit animal: you embody our core values and put them into motion every day. Cheers to a life-long love of language and culture.