Member Spotlight: Co-President Ahmed Hamodi
UW Blueprint is a student-run club that provides top-tier tech for non-profit organizations. Founded at the University of Waterloo in 2016, we could not have provided strong partnerships with NPOs without the dedication, passion, and time of our members. Throughout this term, we’ll be spotlighting different members and teams that have left a tremendous impact on Blueprint as well as the projects they’ve worked on.
Tell us about yourself and your background with Blueprint!
I am the current co-president of Blueprint and have been on the team for 9 terms — 6x developer, 2x project lead, and now co-pres. I joined Blueprint after my 1B term as I was missing the community volunteering that I did back in high school. I was also looking forward to expanding my developer skills and making some new friends.
Could you tell us about your role within Blueprint?
The co-president of Blueprint is responsible for managing the executive team, which includes our finances, recruitment, NPO scoping, marketing, events, sponsorships, and our craft (engineering, design, and product) practices. The co-president runs weekly e-team meetings and bi-weekly craft meetings. I also step in and help in any of the above areas as needed to ensure things are moving in the right direction.
What has Blueprint taught you, and how has it helped you grow as a developer?
So much, it’s actually quite insane. I joined back in summer 2018 and I didn’t know anything about web development (React, Node.js, etc.) so being a developer for 6 terms and project lead for 2 terms has honestly made me much more confident with my web development skills. Beyond that, I feel like I have grown in leadership, mentorship, and management skill areas which have helped me in my latest internship as a product manager intern at Wish!
What’s your favourite part about Blueprint?
The community — some of my closest friends were made during my 9 terms at Blueprint. Also, everyone is so wholesome and it sometimes feels like a second family. Everyone on the team is amazing and has so much to give back to the community, and is taking the time out of their days to do so, and that is something I respect a lot.
What direction do you see Blueprint heading in and what high-level goals do you have for the club?
I genuinely feel like Blueprint is one of the best running clubs at the University of Waterloo, so it’s honestly a ton of minor tweaks and adjustments at this point. I appreciate the work of all the previous presidents in getting the club to this point, it makes my life a lot easier as a president this term (and next). Moving forward, I am interested to see how the in-person school dynamic plays a role in the recruitment pipeline and the culture of the team. That is something I will be monitoring and adjusting how we do things if necessary. I hope to maintain a similar club size of ~7 project teams and ~100 members each term. I want to improve onboarding for all roles ranging from the executive team to the project teams, as well as continue to build a financially independent club through sponsorships. Supporting team leads (project leads, product managers) so they are not overwhelmed with their responsibilities and can increase retention in these roles. These are just a few of the goals we have as a club!
Moving forward, what are your plans and goals for the future?
I am graduating in April 2022, so it’s tough to say. The future is very much undefined for me, but in the short term, I hope to graduate and start my full-time job successfully and join a good and supportive team there. I hope to leave Blueprint in a great situation for future growth and for the future generation of students to be able to impact NPOs while making friends and growing their personal skills.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
One that I always use when asked this is that I “cut my own hair” or a similar variation — “I have only gone to a barbershop 3 times in my life”. I honestly think it’s such a good skill to have, saving $20–40 per haircut for your whole life?? Talk about saving! Other than that, I used to be a soccer referee for ~5 years and I raced life-sized elective vehicles in high school at the University of Waterloo EV Challenge.
What can we catch you doing outside of school and work?
I am really into sports! As mentioned above, I refereed soccer for many years, but I also played since I was a kid. More recently, I picked up basketball and volleyball. In fact, in the last study term before COVID, I played all 3 intramural sports (soccer, basketball, volleyball) and I hope to do so again for W22.
What’s a cause for social good you really resonate with?
Perhaps very ambitious, but if fortunes turn my way, I want to open an NPO in the name of my family to provide education and guidance to orphans. Perhaps the biggest blessing of my life is the fact that I have parents to provide guidance, encourage me to try and succeed in school, and become the person I am today. It pains me to know that people do not have this same privilege, and it is something I hope that I can help change in the world. I believe every single person in the world can have a positive impact, but we are often dealt non-ideal circumstances to do so. I hope to change that one day on whatever scale that is.
Tell us about your favourite memory with Blueprint!
Cheesy, but everything. Legit everything. All of the people I interacted with, the projects I worked on, the late-night coding struggles, the bubble tea runs, and team socials. I enjoyed every memory and moment, and I am glad I made the decision way back to join this amazing club.