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With a strong background in IT and a passion for continuous learning, Shahinee started her journey at NaviPartner as a Magento developer 10 years ago, and due to her hard work, she gradually  progressed to the position of Head of Web Development. But there is more to this talented person than her professional achievements, as she’s certainly not all business and no play! When she’s not slaying web development challenges, you’ll find her on the mats, unleashing her inner warrior as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu enthusiast. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, she’s also mastered the art of finding zen through yoga. Who knew our web guru had such a secret superpower? Today, we’re diving into her journey, uncovering the lessons learned from grappling opponents and striking the perfect pose, and how all that awesomeness translates into her exceptional leadership as the Head of Web Development. So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a career interview like no other!

1. Can you tell us a little about your background and your journey at NaviPartner?

I’ve been fascinated by computers since my childhood, which is why opting for a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science for my advanced studies was obvious. Shortly after I completed my studies at the University of Mauritius, I was appointed a Software Engineer in a big Mauritius-based firm where I stayed for almost a year before joining NaviPartner as a Magento developer. With such a high demands of jobs in the IT sector in Mauritius, where employees switch companies on a regular basis, I was surprised to meet some people who had worked at the company for 5 plus years. But I quickly understood why – NaviPartner is a dynamic company where you learn something new every day. I guess this is the recipe for getting people hooked. I cherished my career as a Magento developer at the company and I was surrounded by a team of qualified professionals who helped me grow each day.

However, my thirst for knowledge pushed me to embark into getting a Master’s degree. In 2014, encouraged by my family, I joined the University of Mauritius for further studies in Software Engineering and Project Management. It was a challenge, handling both work and being back at school, but it was worth the effort. Soon after, I was promoted to a Technical Project Manager and Team Lead in the Web Department. This role proved to be my real vocation. Under my lead, new processes and procedures were created, which are still being used today. It was great to be part of building the foundation of the web team, guided by the best. I was also lucky to have a team made of amazing and passionate individuals.

I was able to build a career path from Magento developer to Technical Project Manager/Team Lead and recently as Head of Web Development. I am grateful to NaviPartner for trusting me with these big responsibilities, and I try my best to be up to standard.

2. Can you walk us through what a typical day looks like for you?

I’m an early bird, so I’m very active in the morning. With a big smile and my cup of tea in hand, I like to start my day by reading emails and going through my cases. I need to make sure that the cases are distributed across the team and that the resources are aware of their priorities so they can work in the most efficient way possible. Some days are spent running from meeting to meeting while others are quieter, so to speak, whereupon I can work on project delivery or dedicate time to our standard solution. Being at NaviPartner for almost 10 years now and with the acquired experience, I would say that the most satisfying part of my day is assisting my fellow colleagues in solving their cases. No matter how busy I am, I try to help. I believe that companies run better when employees help one another. We have a very good team spirit prevailing in the company.

We are also lucky to have lunch offered by NaviPartner daily. During the lunch breaks, we spend time talking, sharing ideas and jokes and even debating. No day is the same at NaviPartner.

3. What’s the most challenging part of your role?

Handling people with different personality traits, age or culture is always a challenge. People react differently to situations or conflicts. Given the diversity of our workplace, it’s not surprising to have a different opinion and perspective. It’s a leader’s role to find the proper channel for a productive discussion within a healthy and fair environment. I think that conflicts should be addressed quickly and be resolved with respect and an open mind.

4. What’s the most rewarding part of your role?

Being the head of a department is no easy task. Leadership style varies from individual to individual, but I feel that every leader values seeing their people progress and reach their goal. What I enjoy the most is a project’s go-live. After months of hard work, the website is finally delivered at which customers can enjoy a good shopping experience within a few clicks. We don’t underscore enough on how much work and collaboration is behind a website. It’s like after reaching the top of the mountain, you get to enjoy the view. There is this feeling of accomplishment and pride.

5. Can you tell us the three core values of your team that you respect the most?

  • Collaboration & Teamwork – Despite our cultural differences and physical distances, we try our best to be considerate and encouraging towards our peers. We’re all here to learn and get better, but we also care about the growth and development of everyone in the team. You will often see senior developers assisting junior developers on cases or junior developers sharing their materials with newcomers. We also like to joke around, which helps in promoting a sense of camaraderie. We even have a Microsoft Teams chat with the joke of the day. Like we like to say: work hard, play hard.
  • Respect – We respect and value one another. Everyone has a certain role, and each role is as important as the other to achieve our goals.
  • Trust & Reliability – The web team has always been a team where we could rely on each other. In case of any issues, a developer would not hesitate to stay after office hours just to help their peer.

6. What advice would you give to a candidate who would like to join your team?

The web department is a fun team with passionate and creative individuals. We learn, grow, and make things happen together. Newcomers are provided with a buddy who will be assisting them for a smooth integration in the team. We try our best to make new candidates feel at ease. On the first day, a team lunch is organized where the new candidate gets to meet the whole team.

7. In your opinion, what three characteristics best describe a good leader?

  • Be a perfectionist – This is a debatable trait, but I believe that being a perfectionist sets a certain standard and level where you are motivated in delivering top quality work. Leaders should be ambitious. Perfectionism can be a double-edged sword, so it is important to avoid ruminating about past mistakes and instead, focus on surpassing yourself for the next challenge. It is vital to be consistent in your effort.
  • Empathy – When you work with people, you should be able to put yourself in their shoes. If you want to help someone achieve their goals, you should be able to listen and assist them. This creates a bond with the team member as well as trust.
  • Patience – I’ll be honest. At first, I wasn’t very patient but with time, I acquired this skill (after a few sessions of yoga and meditation).

8. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

It is important to have a work-life balance. I love my job but sometimes it can become overwhelming. Work has a significant part in our life. We spend at least 8 hours a day at work so it’s crucial to have a good work-life balance. It can be hard to disconnect but it’s healthy to have a balance. It has also been proven that having a work-life balance makes employees more productive and less prone to depression or burnout in the long run.

9. Who is Shahinee outside of work? Do you have any hobbies? How do you spend your spare time?

Well, I’m a foodie! As such, I make it a duty to work out so I can eat as much as I want while keeping fit. And that’s how I eventually got into sports. I have been practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu for a few years now. It has proved to be more than just a hobby, as I end up spending 2 to 3 times a week at the training center. Martial arts have taught me to be humble and to never underestimate anyone. Also, I’ve acquired discipline and consistency in my actions.

Another hobby of mine is yoga. There is a Chinese philosophical concept called the yin and yang that describes opposite but interconnected forces. I like to think of yoga as my yang and martial arts as my yin. Yoga gives me peace while Brazilian jiu-jitsu builds up my fighting spirit and motivates me. It’s all about finding the right balance.

I’m also lucky to live on a beautiful island with splendid beaches. I love spending time at the seaside on weekends.

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