06/08/20

How our engineers are making an impact with the Imagine Foundation

By Editorial Team

Many of the risks we face in life are determined by where we are born. Economists have found that two thirds of all differences between two individuals on this planet are driven by this one factor.

Delivery Hero engineers, together with the Imagine Foundation, aim to change that. Together, they support international job seekers by offering digital career coaching services that help people find jobs, giving them access to  a new life and work in Europe. 

Leandro Lages, an engineering manager at Delivery Hero, has been volunteering as Head of Engineering with Imagine since the very early days. Abdelrahman Tawfik, a Software Engineer at Delivery Hero, came to Germany from Egypt as one of the first Imagine Fellows in 2019. 

We had the chance to talk to both of them and learn more. 

Could you please introduce yourselves?

Leandro: My name is Leandro. I’m an Engineering Manager and originally from Brazil. I joined Delivery Hero back in March 2016, where I developed my career as a lead. After two years, I joined another company. I worked there for 2 more years, and now I’ve been back at Delivery Hero for 6 months.

Abdelrahman: My name is Abdelrahman, I’m originally from Egypt. I’ve been a Software engineer at Delivery Hero for 8 months now. 

Can you explain to us what the Imagine Foundation is?

Leandro: Imagine is an organization that supports job seekers, mainly from the MENA region,  who aim to work in and relocate to Europe. They do this by providing them with a network of experienced volunteers that often have a HR or tech background. The volunteers share Imagine’s mission and enjoy mentoring and coaching the Imagine fellows to help them access the European job market.

Abdelrahman: Imagine helps people to find a new job and start a new life in Europe. They have proven to be successful in many cases, such as my own. 

How did Imagine help you?

Abdelrahman: A friend of mine from Egypt found a job in Germany and moved there. This inspired me and I wanted to do the same. However, it was much harder to find a job in Europe than I initially thought. This led me to apply to Imagine.

Abdelrahman during his first week in Berlin.

Fernanda, the co-founder of Imagine, coached me and helped me with my CV and LinkedIn profile. When I started applying again, I became much more successful and got job offers from multiple companies. The coaching not only improved my CV and LinkedIn profile, but it also helped me develop expectations, answer interview questions well, and learn how to evaluate different offers.

Leandro: One of my former colleagues invited me to a meeting on “How to become an engineering manager in Europe”. While there, I met Johann, one of Imagine’s founders. As I was already looking for a suitable volunteering opportunity, I got hooked instantly when I learned about Imagines’ cause and flexible volunteering concept.

What does volunteering for Imagine look like? Can you describe it to us? 

Leandro: I have written several blog posts about frontend and backend development for the Imagine blog. This has grown into a mini online course now. Moreover, I’m offering technical coaching and supporting engineers to decide which technologies they should focus on. 

Abdelrahman: Since Imagine helped me to find a job in Europe, I started volunteering with them when I arrived in Germany. Now, even my friends come to me directly for assistance with their CVs, LinkedIn profiles, and even coaching. I often advise them to focus mainly on one technology or stack, as this increases their chances of being successful. My coaching includes: giving tips for the first interview, practicing technical interviews, general preparation and overcoming the fear of speaking English. 

Why have you decided to volunteer with Imagine?

Abdelrahman: I’m volunteering with them because of how successful my experience with Imagine was. I had the dream of starting a new life and career in Europe. Now, I want to make this dream happen for others. 

Leandro: I want to help people who might not have the privilege to easily find a job and start a new life in Europe. As well as that, there is no excuse to not have enough time for it, as most of my volunteering work is done remotely through online calls. I’m also volunteering because it is a great way of broadening my own network. Last but not least, I learn a lot from the fellows. I empathize with them and their life stories. 

Our colleague and volunteer Leandro

Why should someone join the Imagine program and become a fellow?

Leandro: There are many great experts at Imagine, who are happy to share their knowledge and to support the fellows to take the next step in their journey. I’ve met so many amazing volunteers who really want to make sure the participants of the Imagine program will reach the next level. There’s nothing better than seeing someone’s life being positively impacted, knowing that you contributed to it.

Abdelrahman: My friend and I have both had success stories with Imagine. Applying within Europe is different from applying to other regions. So, it’s great to have some additional guidance that really adds value.

What were challenges that you encountered as volunteers? 

Abdelrahman: For some of our mentees, English can be a big challenge. Often they are great developers with many years of experience, but they haven’t gotten an opportunity yet to prove themselves, due to their level of English. I usually recommend that they keep practicing and showcasing their achievements on their CV or during the interview. My advice to our fellows is: Listen and be receptive to constructive feedback. Then try to implement it.

Leandro: A lot of people I mentor are frustrated before they join Imagine because they have been rejected without receiving any proper feedback in the past. Without our coaching, fellows often don’t know what they are doing wrong and why they aren’t getting the jobs they want.

You are both busy people, does volunteering for Imagine require a lot of time?

Leandro: “Imagine uses a simple, wide spread tool called calendly. So, I normally leave a two-hour window per day that can be booked by fellows for a 30 minute call with me. This keeps me flexible and I can do it from anywhere in the world.

Abdelrahman: “Officially, I’m volunteering two hours per week. However, many of my friends are calling me directly, asking me for advice on their CVs and tips for interviews. I was able to make new friends through Imagine and really broaden my network.”

How can a company such as Delivery Hero add value to this organization? 

Abdelrahman: As Delivery Hero is also interviewing many applicants, the recruiting team can provide a lot of valuable insights on how we recruit and select candidates. As employees of a global tech company, we can help to coach people on their next steps in their lives.

Leandro: Delivery Hero is a cultural hotspot with over 100 nationalities in our Head Quarter. We have colleagues from all around the globe. Therefore, many colleagues can relate to the experience of Imagine fellows, as they went through similar situations. Sharing these experiences can really empower the fellows to continue on their paths.

What is it like to be part of the Imagine community? 

Leandro: It’s great! Imagine organizes regular meetings and seasonal parties. So, you get to meet interesting and like-minded people from all over the world. 

Abdelrahman: I really enjoy going to monthly meetings. Through the Imagine community, I also found new friends, especially when I moved to Berlin. It is a great way to make new connections in a new country.

Thank you so much for sharing your insights about Imagine!

We are very excited to announce that we are one of Imagine’s volunteering and hiring partners and are looking forward to sharing our experiences as well as interesting opportunities with their fellows.

Are you interested in becoming an Imagine volunteer? Learn more.

Do you want to join Imagine as a Fellow and get career coaching? Apply here!