(guest post by Yoojung Lee)
We were excited to visit the Vancouver office of Habanero for our second studio tour of the year. It was located only a fourteen-minute walk away from the Digital Design campus. Greeting us upon our arrival was Bradley Smith, a Senior Interaction Designer at Habanero and also a VFS alumnus from the very first class of the DD program.
After Bradley guided us into the large main meeting room, we were introduced to some of the other members of the team, including Christopher Parsons, a Senior Front End Developer, and Zak Woytowich, another graduate of the DD program and now an Interaction Designer. It was very interesting to see a number of our alumni actively working in the digital design industry throughout the city, giving us inspirational and realistic advice that we can truly make use of. As we were introduced to the different designers in the group, Steven Fitzgerald, the President of Habanero, walked into the room to give us a brief talk about Habanero and their vision. Steven greatly emphasized how they always work as a team with their clients, endlessly communicating and collaborating upon every step of their work process, in order to bring about the most effective and suitable digital solutions as possible. Likewise, the work culture at Habanero seemed to be strongly based upon supporting and respecting each individual members’ perspectives upon their own career phases. At Habanero, they all worked as a team in a flat hierarchy, where all employees were consulted regularly for custom-career options that would best suit the members’ interests in terms of their skills, preferences, and aspirations. This meant that not only each employee would be able to build upon their own individual career pathways, but also that they would have the passion and openness required to generate the best outcomes together as a company. Building upon their amazing people-centered work culture, another very interesting aspect of Habanero was their long and thorough hiring process. It was clear that Habanero is more interested in establishing a strong team of warm and trusting minds, rather than merely recruiting any skilled body who can finish the given tasks.