We are delighted to introduce Shahnaz Hamade, who has joined Milestone as our relationship manager! Shahnaz brings experience in human resources, admissions, case management, and marketing, which uniquely positions her in this role with our qualified settlement fund team. Born and raised in Lebanon, Shahnaz moved to New York with her family when she was 11 years old. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Counseling from the University at Buffalo and an M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Medaille College. We were able to catch up with Shahnaz and ask her a few questions. Here’s what she had to say.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am passionate about combining psychology and business in my career. I believe that doing so makes for a positive work environment and in return makes business bloom.
You’ve been helping people cope overseas. Can you explain how?
I am bilingual in Arabic and English and a member of the Middle East Psychological Association, and I offer online counseling sessions in the Middle East and some third-world countries. I started my online counseling sessions for the Lebanese community during COVID times. Lebanon has been going through a financial crisis since 2019, and COVID did not help. I was planning my wedding at the time, and because of everything that was going on in the world, I wasn’t able to have my dream wedding in Lebanon among family and friends. This took a toll on my personal mental health, and the only thing that got me out of it was starting an Instagram page about mental health and helping others. Since then, my page has grown, and my background in psychology and counseling has helped me answer the large volume of DMs I have received from people who need help. I decided to start providing free counseling sessions to people in need, and it has grown from there.
What do you hope to bring to the role of relationship manager at Milestone?
I’m excited about being the first relationship manager at Milestone, as it allows me to make the job my own. I’ve been a social chameleon ever since my high school days, when I could sit on any table in the lunch room and hit it off with anybody and everybody. I adapt easily and I believe this ability will help me succeed in this role.
Share something unique about you!
I blend both the Lebanese and American cultures into one. In other words, I take the best of both worlds and break boundaries. For example, Lebanese culture suggests that a woman’s salary should be kept solely for her, in that she is not to spend a penny on the household and/or the kids. It is believed that all these expenses are the man’s responsibility. Personally, I believe in success and growth, and with that comes responsibility. So, my husband and I share the household expenses as well as the tasks that are culturally considered a “women’s responsibility.” But at the same time, there are Lebanese traditions that will never be broken for me. For example, I visit my parents every day and if I can’t make it, I talk to them on the phone at least a couple of times a day. Same with my in-laws. Respecting the elders is a huge thing in my culture. Needless to say, we put an emphasis on family.
I also love traveling and learning about different cultures with my husband. I have a special place in my heart for theatre, especially Disney musicals! My favorite Disney Musical is Aladdin.
What do you love most about Buffalo?
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Buffalo Bills! We are a HUGE football family. I also love the vibe and the people of Buffalo.