Talia Souki, Visual Content Designer @ Danielle LaPorte

Categories Interview

Talia never stops, she works as a graphic designer at Danielle Laporte but does also freelance and co-founded an homeware brand. Her story and projects are driven by a positive energy. She’ll tell us her story, what motivates her and her thought about remote working.

Hello Talia, before starting, I recommend everyone to check your portfolio! tel us about your background and what are you working on?

I started my career working as a graphic designer and prop stylist in the luxury industry in Paris, for brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc. After 5 years, I decided I needed to find meaning in my work and went to Jaipur, India to volunteer in an NGO giving arts & crafts workshops to railway children. This experience led me to co-found the socially conscious homeware brand Tomorrows with Heart 4 years ago.

Right now, I am the Visual Content Designer at Danielle LaPorte, and I also take freelance work. I’m interested in shifting towards using design for social innovation and I’m currently preparing my next career move. I am based between Paris & Beirut, with stops wherever I feel like going.

It seems you never stop doing things and getting involved in new adventures while being around the world. You first left your job in the luxury industry to do volunteering in India.  What motivates you to move and jump in new adventures?

It’s usually a really deep need to do more for our world. For now, the pattern I’ve had is that I always get to a point where I question my work and if it’s helping create a positive impact on our planet. I guess it’s the need to feel aligned with my convictions that pushes me in my choices.

Along your projects and life choices, it looks like it was always related to friendship, am I wrong? What’s important for you?

It’s true that until now my personal projects were always related to friendships. But it wasn’t a conscious choice. It’s just the result of long talks about changing the world over drinks. Well actually for Tomorrows with Heart, they were long talks in buses traveling through India with my business partner Eugenia. I went to Jaipur knowing I wanted to create something out of my experience there and she jumped onboard with me.

Tomorrows With Heart: a conscious homeware brand.

Beirut Jam Sessions is a different story. 2 of my friends decided to start this project together, and I was helping so much they decided to include me. We knew I’d go silent after 2 years to work on other projects.  I’ve only had positive experiences working with friends, it’s all about choosing the right people and respecting each other’s differences and rhythms. It’s been a bumpy road sometimes but we grew stronger from it.

In your current job at Danielle LaPorte, you’re part of a 10 girls remote team around the world, how is the team getting things done? How is communication and management done there?

Aha! That’s the thing I was really curious about when I started working with Team D. So, how we get things done… We use Asana to assign tasks to each other as part of bigger projects and set deadlines. Strategies and creative briefs are usually made on google docs after brainstorming on a call. We have a shared calendar to know who’s on which timezone and when we’re unavailable. We chat on Skype on a daily basis and have 2 weekly calls, one to talk about the objectives of the week and another to chitchat about our lives and bound. That’s my side of things, some people on the team have calls everyday. And we use Invision for visual presentations.

Asana

Asana is the easiest way for teams to track their work and get results.

Skype

Skype is an instant messaging app that provides online text message and video chat services.

InVision

Prototyping, collaboration & workflow platform.

As for management, what I find truly amazing is that they are very conscious of our needs and not only respect them, but know how to work with them. They know overworking is bad for us, give us flexible fridays in the summer and we unplug for a few days after launching a big project.

About a year ago my boss actually asked for a meeting because I was working too much and she was worried I would do a burnout. The next day I hurt myself badly and had to spend a month at home. That was my body’s way of putting a stop to it. And she saw it coming, because she’s amazing like that. It’s all about balance. If I had to say how the team is managed in a word, I’d say it’s with Love. And that’s because Danielle is such a beautiful person inside out and she chose the best people to manage us. I’m really lucky to be a part of this.

Where do you usually get things done?

I’m a bit weird with routines. I need it to a certain extend. I don’t have a routine on where I get things done because I actually need to change often to get inspired. So it’s usually between home, coffeeshops and co-working spaces, depending on where I am in the world. Changing my surroundings helps me focus. Also the less I work during the day, the better the quality of the work is. And that’s something coming from an ex workaholic! But it’s really all about time management.

An awesome day looks like this : 7-9am is my me time (that’s when I have a routine), then 9am-1pm getting shit done from home, taking a break, then I work from outside for the rest of the afternoon, 2 more hours for clients if needed and then 1-2 hours on personal projects. Not everyday looks like this but that’s when I feel the best.

Danielle seems like an angel and it makes sense. Most successful remote teams are driven by goodwill and in a way have more human relationships than the one made inside an office.

For you what are the qualities required for a remote worker? And which advice would you give to people who are interested in going remote?

It’s a balance between structure and flexibility. You have to be structured and actually work your hours everyday, but what’s amazing about it is that you can also enjoy the freedom. It wouldn’t make sense for me to work remotely from the same co-working space from 9 to 5 everyday. An advice would be:

  1. Create your own work routine that includes some flexible time. It doesn’t have to be a daily routine, it can be a weekly routine.
  2. Make sure you’re always putting yourself in situations to meet people, email people you admire, set networking targets. Get out there, don’t retreat into your shell!

I guess when you left your career in the luxury industry you had no idea about what you will achieve and do in the future, do you feel like you found your path or new adventures might happen?

I hope to still be on new adventures when I’m 80! We grow and things around us evolves. There is always so much to learn and that’s what’s amazing about it. I feel like I found my path and I’m narrowing it down, connecting the dots to get into the core of it.

What is your daily inspiration?

I listen to podcasts and follow entrepreneurs/bloggers like Seth Godin, Tim Ferris, Debbie Millman… I’m obsessed with anything that has to do with Ideo’s Human Centered Design methodology right now, watch TED talks every week… It’s a mix of a lot of things. What you’ll learn from reading about innovative people like Elon Musk or Steve Jobs is gold. And for hands-on advice on freelancing and design 99U is usually a good source.

 

Talia knows how to tell stories through her designs and she is always interested in new projects.

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