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Thursday, 7 April 2022

My Morning Routine: Sherif Hashem, CEO, BasharSoft

Sherif Hashem, CEO, BasharSoft: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Sherif Hashem (LinkedIn), CEO of BasharSoft.

My name is Sherif Hashem, and I’m the CEO of BasharSoft. I started my professional career as an M&A lawyer. I transitioned into the business side because my experience working on mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures, always piqued my interest. The business angle of the work was always the most exciting part of the job for me. Two of my former bosses encouraged me to jump to the business side of the fence, so I followed in one of their footsteps: He stopped practicing law twice — once to get into investment banking and the other time to get into the private equity field.

I started off in BasharSoft’s investor relations and corporate development department in 2020, and became CEO in September 2021.

BasharSoft is a tech firm specialized in developing web-based online employment marketplaces and platforms. Our aim is to help solve the persistent problem of talent acquisition. As the multiplication and diversification of fields and specialities continues to grow, so do the challenges businesses face with finding the right talent. There is always a growing demand that outstrips the supply of talent. Our aim is to enable organizations to fulfill their growth goals by matching job seekers with the entity that best fits their potential.

BasharSoft owns Wuzzuf and Forasna: Wuzzuf, which has become a household name with regard to talent recruitment, helps white collar job seekers and university graduates to find knowledge economy jobs, whereas Forasna focuses on helping blue collar job seekers find jobs.

My daily routine is extremely important to me. I wake up between 5:30 and 6:30am, even though I’m not a morning person. I need that precious “me time” early on in the day before I kick off and engage with the rest of the world. I use that time to hit the gym everyday. I also read Enterprise, Reuters, BBC, and Bloomberg to catch up on the news in the morning.

One thing that I have to do everyday is listen to articles and audiobooks. Traffic no longer bothers me because I always use that time to enjoy an audiobook.

I divide my workweek into three equal parts. As a numbers person, thinking in terms of weeks, instead of days, is ideal for me — it enables me to see patterns and trends as they arise. A day is too short and a month is too long. One third of my typical workweek is focused on strategy, which involves looking at quantitative and qualitative data. Another third entails day-to-day management activities, including enhancing internal processes and a focus on building the company’s culture. I use the third part of the week to engage and interact with external stakeholders, whether they be customers, partners, or other players in the market.

I care about maintaining a healthy work-life balance, both for the team and myself. Personally, I can’t say that I was able to have that balance last year. I was a workaholic who used to burn the midnight oil to get work done. Over the past couple of months, however, I have managed to restore a routine that allows me to have healthy energy levels. Now, I go to bed early and wake up early. I sleep better and don’t need extra time to decompress from stressful work days like I used to before.

We’ve adopted a hybrid work environment at BasharSoft to make our team’s lives easier. We usually work from home and have meetings either at business-friendly coffee shops or at the office. We have bi-weekly or monthly management meetings at the office, but otherwise we handle a significant portion of our workload remotely and in a very flexible way. This is one of the reasons I love the company.

To relax and switch off from work, I go out with my friends or call them over the phone to catch up. Good company and a change of scenery always takes my mind off of work. I often use a guided meditation app called headspace to unwind and reduce stress as well. Traveling is also very therapeutic for me. If I have some time off of work, I like to travel and get away from the hustle and bustle of Cairo.

To stay focused and organized, I take good care of myself, both mentally and physically. If you don’t focus on your wellbeing, you can’t expect yourself to take complex challenges without compromising your productivity and empathy levels. Another factor that helps me stay focused and on top of things is having an executive coach, who I can turn to for business advice. His name is Amr Yehia, and he helps me set my priorities and navigate the many challenges I face as a CEO. The job of a CEO is a lonely one and it comes with a price. No one prepares you for this position — it can be an emotional rollercoaster and I believe that getting help from a professional mentor can help you become more resilient.

The last great thing I watched was Ozark on Netflix. I’m eagerly waiting for the upcoming season. It’s one of those mesmerizing TV shows that has a great mix of crime drama and very interesting, complex characters. I love the character portrayals and how the series delves into the psyche of the characters. On occasion, I also like to kick back and watch mountaineering documentaries. My favorites include: 14 peaks, FreeSolo, and North Face. I find them fascinating: You get to watch brave, resilient individuals battle the elements and embark on exhilarating and incredibly dangerous adventures.

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