We Are IT | Meet Lillian Shafik
Lillian Shafik is not a fan of routine. Which makes the fast-pace and constant innovation of the technology industry perfect for her. Lillian has worked in technology for over 15 years and currently serves as a senior IT project manager within ITS. In her current role, she enjoys solving problems and finding new ways to use technology and knowledge to move ITS forward. She also is an avid bookworm, opera lover and always eager to embrace fresh challenges and opportunities.
Where are you from?
I am from Egypt. I was born and raised and lived all my life in Cairo, the capital. I came to the United States in late 2019 with my two sons and decided to stay in 2020.
Where did you attend school?
I attended school at Cairo University. It is the biggest school in Egypt. I attended the Faculty of Commerce and majored in accounting. Then I got my master’s degree in 2009 from Nile University where I studied the science of management of technology.
Why did you choose to work in technology?
The dynamic and fast pace of technology made me want to study more and build my knowledge set in that area.
Technology is very fast-paced, and every day there are new insights. You are always exposed to the latest technology and what companies are doing. It is a very dynamic field. As we speak, technology is becoming obsolete. It’s mind blowing.
How long have you been at FSU?
Nine months. I started in late October 2022.
What is your role at FSU?
Project management. I do project management a little differently though—it’s all about your vision and your roadmap. The core of the success of a project is having a vision of where the project will end and communicating all the details. You must see the problem, analyze it and form a solution with the technology available. It is about learning something every day and sharing best practices with others.
I have a couple projects I am working on, but the one that takes up 80% of my time is with International Programs. The objective is to move the department to a new database management system and rewrite each of their applications. It's a big project.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Solving problems and development through learning. It's rewarding for me to think of how to use this technology or this knowledge to move the organization forward. You do not want your organization to get behind in the race. The mission is to solve the problem and make sure your organization is always ahead of peers.
Working on various projects and technologies is very insightful as it broadens your knowledge base. I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to work in diverse technologies such as telecommunications fiber optics, cybersecurity, database management systems and research and development.
What is the most rewarding project you have worked on at FSU?
The International Programs database project. Despite facing changes within the team over the past couple of years, we didn't have to start from scratch and could build on existing progress. Introducing new strategies and approaches was fulfilling, and I am grateful for the support and trust I received from the International Programs team, the ITS internal team and my supervisor. A strong network of communication with other teams involved in the project has proved to be useful in promoting cooperation and problem solving. The remarkable teamwork spirit that emerged throughout the project played a significant role in making sure we successfully completed phase one within the designated timeline. And currently we are working on phase two.
What is your favorite app?
Audiobooks. I used to read a lot when I was young and would spend much time at the libraries. These days, I prefer to listen to books more than reading; it keeps me focused more. My favorite book is “From Good to Great” by James Collins. It’s about what makes companies move from good to great. I first read it back in 2007, and it never gets old to me.
If you were to invent one piece of technology, what would it be?
I read a lot about the wave of AI—I just tried an AI travel planner that creates an entire travel plan within your budget—and I think about what if AI creates the loss of jobs? So, I wouldn’t say invent, but more so how could I participate in creating regulations and protocols to protect the human work force? And beyond that, how can I educate people on how to protect their personal data and identity? That is what countries need to be thinking about. It’s scary, but when you see how things are going, it’s going to be about how to create a balance between using technology and protecting humankind. Maybe I can contribute to thinking and finding a solution for that.
What is a fun fact about you?
You know when you watch a movie so many times you know it by heart? I’m crazy like that. I have multiple movies memorized—American and Egyptian movies. My favorite though is “Face/Off.” Oh my gosh, I’ve watched “Face/Off” maybe 50 times.
Talk a little bit about your family.
I have two boys. The eldest is a junior at FSU and is studying finance. The youngest is a first-year student at TCC and into sports. He plays goalkeeper for the Tallahassee Soccer Club. Finally, Milo, our dog, is the cherry on top of the family.
We are a typical crazy, Egyptian family. We are very attached and love to gather a lot.
What do you do in your free time?
I love to attend music concerts and ballet shows. I also love going to the movies and bowling.