Meet the team: Lilas El Moughrabi

This series will help you get to know more about a different Hyphen team member, what they do and who they are away from work.


If variety is the spice of life, Lilas El Moughrabi wants to sample all of the flavours the world has to offer. Our senior associate works within our Client Partnerships team but has a curiosity that means she is always looking to learn more and gets involved with other areas of our business. 

Her industrial engineering background means she likes to understand how things tick – and that mindset helps her figure out the best way to tick off the wide array of tasks she faces every day. Now, she is combining those business and technical skills to engineer products and processes that can make life easier all around. 

In this Q&A, Lilas talks about going outside one’s comfort zone to explore new opportunities, why the devil really is in the detail, and the contrasts between the two places she sees as home. 


Hyphen: How would you describe your typical working day? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: Every day has its own pace, it depends on the number of proposals and searches we have, so there’s not really a typical day. Priorities change from one day to the next and, with the Client Partnerships team, it’s all about dealing with external factors and stakeholders. 

We also think about ways to make Hyphen better and change-related topics, whether that’s in terms of the products we use or our internal processes, so it’s always quite busy and changeable. 


Hyphen: You mentioned working with a whole host of external stakeholders but what about internally – how much do you engage with other parts of the team outside of Client Partnerships? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: We’re a close team, we work a lot with each other, and it’s not regimented in a way where people will only work with their own department – everyone still does a bit of everything. 

Obviously, I work with everyone in the Client Partnerships team, and I speak with Chiara, Avi and Eleah about product development or day-to-day work, but I also speak with Kamila about that too. We might work closely with David in the Tech team or Dora for an HR thing so that’s another thing that’s changeable and I like that. 



Hyphen: That variety seems to be something you thrive on – would you say that’s true? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: I came here from a startup and for someone like me, still near the start of my career and building the foundations, it’s good to have that broad skill set and be able to do everything. Here, you work a lot, you’re on calls a lot, and you’re doing a lot because Hyphen always pushes you out of your comfort zone – in a good way! 

The three co-founders give you confidence by trusting you to do things yourself. They’ll say: “Go speak to the expert, don’t worry, even if it doesn’t work out, that’s fine because we can solve things so you just learn, and we will support you.” I think that’s really important for anyone starting their career; it makes such a difference to have those experiences with such amazing people. 

At this stage of my career, I want to keep on learning and taking on new challenges so that backing from senior leaders and that flexibility will help me to keep developing. 


Hyphen: What’s the one thing that has most surprised you about the company since you joined? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: The fact that we get so many clients just through word of mouth alone, even as the team continues to get bigger. More and more are coming on board and our reputation is really strong, which is perhaps not a surprise having worked with everyone, and as the work has been so good, we haven’t needed any real marketing gimmicks – what we do sells itself. 


Hyphen: Thinking about building for the future, how are you getting involved with that? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: Avi, Chiara and I recently worked on something called strategic network management, trying to find new ways of approaching top consultants and getting them to join us. We are also teaming up with Kamila to look at new products and processes so there are plenty of things to work on as well as the day-to-day activities. 


Hyphen: Does your degree in industrial engineering help you when it comes to looking at products and processes at all? Does the mindset that comes with that sort of background translate well into working in this sort of environment? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: I think it does because I like to understand processes and details and work out the ins and outs of things, so this really helps me with critical thinking. If you only have a general overview of something, you will not be able to process things to the same level as if you have looked at every single detail of the process. 

It might take time at the start, but this approach can help you later on as it saves you a lot of time when building stuff because if something goes wrong, you understand why it happened and can address it more quickly. 


Hyphen: When did you first take an interest in industrial engineering and what is it that you like most about that in particular? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: I started studying mechanical engineering but didn’t like it, so I transferred to industrial, which was a better fit for me. 

I like the business side of things and to understand how things come together. We had some courses in accounting and marketing, and I really liked them, but I also liked the technical stuff. I found industrial engineering combines the business and technical sides of the world into one. 

I would say those insights from industrial engineering help you do things more efficiently. It just makes life easier by helping people create better processes. 


Hyphen: Speaking of making life easier and creating better processes – do you think that our co-working retreats are useful in that respect by bringing everyone together? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: I still remember my first co-working retreat, which was in Belgium for a few new starters. 

Once I had met the team and was back, I had this very satisfying feeling because now I knew each person I was going to work with and saw that everyone had a fun side. Once you connect in person, it’s so different so I think it’s very important to have these retreats for us to connect and get to know each other better, which obviously helps with work. 

That being said, it’s not just about work and it fits in with our value of making memories because we have fun together. The retreats give you that feeling that these people are not just colleagues, they’re also your friends and you can create memories together. 


Hyphen: Which co-working retreat was your favourite? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: Kas, for sure. The place was amazing, we had those long summer days and nights, and it was great to go from finishing work to swimming in the pool. The activities there were great too. 

I also think Turkish people are amazing because they’re quite close in terms of culture to Lebanon, where I come from. Turkey is a place I’ve been to a lot because I like it so much so with the villas we had, it almost felt like being on holiday with family. 



Hyphen: You mentioned your family back home in Lebanon there and you live in Dubai now – how often do you get to see them? Does remote working with Hyphen help? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: I was born in Beirut and lived there for 23 years but I moved to Dubai right after graduation. Working remotely means that I can just book a ticket, take my bag, go to the airport, go back home, spend some time with family and come back and the company is really good in that I have my residency under Hyphen’s name, and they are very flexible. 


Hyphen: What are the biggest differences between the two places in your eyes? 

Lilas El Moughrabi: Lebanon is much calmer and has better food, of course! It’s a fast-paced lifestyle in Dubai but it also gives you peace of mind in that you get exposed to a lot of opportunities, it’s a very safe place, and it’s very international so you can meet people from all sorts of different cultures. 

After work, I like to just walk down the street or see some friends and chill out – I like to get out and connect with people. There are pros and cons to both places, but I think Dubai has something special for me and will help me continue to grow as a person. 



Quickfire questions 

What sorts of music or podcasts do you listen to? There’s a musician that I like called Ash, who plays a few instruments and creates a fusion of Eastern and Western music. I sometimes put it on in the background but most of the time I keep the room silent while I am working. 

If there was a fire and you could only grab one non-living thing from your house, what would you pick? My passport – we have issues in Lebanon issuing passports! 

What is your favourite type of cuisine? It’s Italian, no question. 

Which superpower would you most like to have? I would travel to the future. I would love to see how things work, how people and technology would be different, and what new things we would have come up in, say, the next 200 years.