May Barber

Brand Management Consultant at Ayed&Barber and Founder of The Cartel May Barber hopes these challenging times will enable us to embrace a spirit of collaboration where we all help each other rise.

How are you finding the transition to a new way of working/life?
It is certainly challenging but I am quite enjoying the slower pace of life. I used to travel a lot as my work is based between Dubai and Paris, and I am adjusting to being in one city and one place. The transition is a work in progress and some days are definitely better than others, but I am keeping positive and trying to enjoy the positive side of this challenge.

What have been the biggest challenges?
Not being able to work from the office and meet with the team as we encourage each other. Planning short-term instead of long term as the world is changing rapidly and we are trying to anticipate and respond swiftly. Home schooling for my daughter was a challenge at first, as we tried to navigate through this new routine. Managing the household and keeping everyone’s zone of focus as both my husband and I work from home, my daughter Nai undertakes online learning, and we have a two-year running around in between! I miss running outdoors and the simple pleasures of coffee with friends.

What’s been the most pleasant surprise?
Spending time with my family and bonding with my kids. We do different activities together from art to baking. As business slowed down, this gives me time to work on research and revisit a project I have always wanted to launch. The stillness is giving me time to reflect and plan forward despite the uncertainly. I am reading a lot and connecting with friends around the world that I haven’t spoken to in a long time. We eat home-made food everyday and we finally managed to sit down as a family around our table and enjoy a meal together. That’s priceless!

What are your hopes for the future?
I hope we emerge out of this as more responsible individuals and companies where we value our blessings and take care of our environment and people. I hope we embrace a spirit of collaboration where we all help each other rise. As an SME owner, I hope as SMEs we can capitalize on the synergies we have together and find ways to share resources and support each other’s’ work. Compassion and collaboration are the way forward.

What message do you have for Grazia readers?
Stay positive and try to use this time to reinvent yourself and revisit your goals with a fresh perspective. Also, give yourself a break sometimes. It’s normal that we don’t enjoy the same sense of motivation everyday. Keep a routine for certain number of days week and alternate on the others to break the monotony a little. We are in this together and we shall emerge from it all together Inshallah.

Photo: Courtesy of May Barber taken by her eight-year-old daughter Nai