In this article, we continue on with our interviews with the most active and successful members of our international professional architect and designer community. In this article we talk with Hams Alfeky from Qesm Sedy Gaber, a quaint seaside town near the metropolis of Alexandria, Egypt
Ham’s registration on GoPillar is relatively recent. Since joining, she has participated in 17 contests, 10 of which she has placed in the top 5. This equates to a 60% placement which is extremely impressive and quickly caught our eye. In order to learn more about her work and success, we reached out for an interview.
She works for a large architectural firm, starting early in the morning and working until the late afternoon. This results in a busy work schedule, but we were able to set up a time to chat and learn more about her work.
As soon as we connect, she appears smiling and happy!
Hi Hams, how are you doing? We managed to organize ourselves, thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Thank you, I’m always busy with work, but I’m very happy to do this interview!
It’s already evening where you are, so we don’t want to steal too much of your time! Let’s start with our first question: how did you discover GoPillar and what did you initially like about the platform that convinced you to sign up?
The first time I heard about GoPillar was from one of my university professors. In one of our classes, she told us about the platform and explained to us how it could be a good opportunity. To tell you the truth, at first I thought it was one of these complicated online sites that results in little chance to actually work. However, when I actually visited your site I realized how easy it was to participate in projects. There were no expensive registrations and I could decide what contests I wanted to participate in! These were the initial reasons why I signed up, and since then many of my colleagues have too.
You’re laughing, how come?
Well, as I told you, several of us have signed up and some contests on the site have also become internal competitions between us.
Very well, this is the right attitude. In fact, we’ve seen that you finished in the top 5 in more than half of the contests you have participated in! Tell me, how has GoPillar helped your work as an architect?
As I’ve told you, in several of my courses my professors told us that GoPillar presented the opportunity to expand our work portfolio. You know how in university they make us do many projects, but they are often impractical in reality. On GoPillar, we dealt with real jobs, coming from real clients with real needs and expectations.
You know a colleague of yours from Caracas also reported to us more or less the same motivation
Why, is it so! For us architects, especially at the beginning, it’s very important to do some projects that allow us to have a portfolio for later on. Whether you want to open your own studio or find work at an architectural firm, you must present past projects you’ve worked on. Working with real clients gives us the opportunity to grow a lot as an architect.
So did you also need to find work?
Yes, I work for a large design studio and am one of the youngest professionals. It was very important that I show my completed projects from GoPillar.
They hired you then!
And why didn’t you leave GoPillar?
Because on GoPillar I can express my ideas. I don’t have to answer to anyone but the customer and above all, if I win, I win!
I’m guessing you have little time to devote to GoPillar. How long does it take you to participate in a contest, and how do you organize your work and normal activities to fit in the commitment on GoPillar?
My work is really my passion. I’m an architect because that’s what I always wanted to do and I really enjoy it. Yes, I’m very busy studying, and of course never want to take time away from my main business, but when I have some free time, I work on GoPillar’s contests. It doesn’t bother me! However, depending on the customer’s needs and requests, it takes about 2 to 3 weeks to participate and the contests give me all the time I need.
And how does winning GoPillar’s contests help to improve your work?
It has certainly helped me to grow as a professional, but of course the cash prizes are also a great motivation. (editor’s note: laughter)
How do you choose the contests to participate in? Is there a type of project that you are most passionate about?
I participate in all projects, I like the variety! Interiors, exteriors, renovations, constructions, furnishings- I don’t have a favorite. Of course, I always look at what the customer asks for and then I choose what I want to do! Let’s say that I follow my mood. If I want to work on a lighting table, I choose one contest, but if I’m interested in preparing an abacus of tree species, then I choose a different one. As you’ve seen, I’m registered as a premium member, which allows me to see how many other people are registered in the contest. So, I also choose what contests to participate in based on how much competition there is on a project! I can see where the customer is from and when I can work with the customer. Knowing where a particular customer comes from also helps me to understand who I am working with.
Are you making a strategic choice then?
Why on earth are you laughing?
Okay, I’ll tell you. I usually choose the construction contests from scratch.
Because there is less competition. There are no interior designers.
You’re very nice Hams. Thank you for letting us know your tricks too! This was a really nice interview but before I say goodbye, I want to ask you one last question. If you could give advice to your colleagues around the world, what would you tell them about GoPillar?
Sign up. It’s really simple and fun! It allows you to grow as a professional, to experiment, to work on different types of projects, and to follow your ideas. You work with real clients from all over the world, to whom you can propose your ideas and perspectives or from whom you can learn different points of views on your everyday work. There are also the cash rewards, those are also important (laughter ed).
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