Ibrahim Abubakari radiates passion and enthusiasm. As an R&D Recruitment Events Coordinator at Criteo, he’s charged with bringing visibility to his department through strategic recruitment events, community management, and captivating content. A beloved mainstay in our Paris office, he’s always the first to volunteer or take on a new task.
To know Ibrahim is to be captivated by his positive energy. It’s clear when he speaks that he loves his job and sharing his excitement for Criteo with potential new hires worldwide. We sat down with Ibrahim to learn more about his role, his favorite project at Criteo, and what he does outside of work.
Let’s start from the beginning. Where are you from?
I’m from Accra, the capital of Ghana, but I moved around a lot. I attended the University of Ghana Legon and once I graduated, I knew I wanted to work in an international environment.
So I decided to learn French. And what better way to learn French than by moving to France? Now, this was considered somewhat unusual —Ghana is an English-speaking country, so many people who move away tend to go to the U.K. or the U.S. But I wanted an adventure.
I came to France to learn the language and attend SKEMA Business School. After that, I decided to stay. What can I say, I love the baguettes!
Us too! What brought you to Criteo?
I joined Criteo in January 2015 because the organization needed someone to manage events for the R&D team. Today I handle almost every aspect of external events for R&D at Criteo.
Sounds interesting! What does that entail?
For external events, this includes everything from researching and arranging which conferences we should attend worldwide, setting up meet-and-greets, managing personnel attendance, and much more. Many of the conferences we attend are outside of France, so it takes a lot of coordination and attention to detail to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Another big focus for us are what we call “meetups.” We host about 10 meetups per quarter, and they can be either in our Paris office or in conjunction with a partner company, such as Spotify. These events are informal but so important because it helps our team members network and collaborate on what’s new in the industry.
What would you say the goal of your position is?
At the end of the day, everything I do focuses on two main goals: visibility and recruitment.
We want to continually spread the word that Criteo is a global industry leader in adtech and ensure we continue to build our teams with the best talent available. Events are a huge part of that strategy because we get to speak one-on-one with potential candidates. In fact, we’ve had many candidates join Criteo almost immediately after speaking with our team at an event because they see what we’re all about. With over 200 jobs to fill this year, it’s never been more important to have a presence at these events.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There’s no such thing as a typical day for me, and that’s one of the reasons why I like my job so much. I could be working on a communication strategy for new content, planning two or three global events, and wrapping up another one. But no matter what’s on my plate, I start the day by analyzing the three things I want to deliver and prioritize those first.
What Criteo project are you most proud of?
I have two. When I joined Criteo, there was little to no R&D event coordination. I think the team had attended or sponsored two events total. Today we participate in 30 external events and host 40 meetups every year. What’s more, we’re now helping other departments develop their talent events roadmap, using the one we built as a template. It’s very exciting.
My second is that I was a part of the team that helped launched the Criteo Research website and Criteo Labs. These projects had been underway before I came on board but I spent my first year or so contributing, and I’m very proud and happy to have been a part of those efforts.
What’s your favorite part of working at Criteo?
When I first walked into Criteo’s Paris office for my interview, it knocked me off my feet. I truly thought “I can see myself here.”
Now that I work here, my favorite part is the people. Our team is diverse and understanding, but no one is afraid to hold back their opinion, which makes us even better. Beyond my team, every other department I’ve worked with is full of enthusiastic, smart professionals. Almost every company will offer you free food these days, but it’s the people who make this job special.
OK, time to get a little personal. What was the most unusual job you had before working at Criteo?
I was a teaching assistant at the University of Ghana. I worked in a large department and we had roughly 200 students in a class. The professor I worked for traveled sometimes, and I was often in charge of teaching the class. It was intimidating to stand in front of 200 students who were my age or older, but it taught me a lot. It definitely helped give me my confidence.
What do you like to read?
I have very diverse interests. On the web, I love entertainment sites, everything from TMZ to Buzzfeed. I read a lot of Forbes and Bloomberg News. My favorite Forbes contributor is Liz Ryan, who focuses on talent management. She’s forthright and tells the truth. I also love design, so I browse Apartment Therapy for inspiration.
My favorite book author at the moment is Khaled Hosseini, an Afghan-born American writer. But next week it will change — I don’t settle on one thing.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
If you know me, you know my love for food and cooking. I love cooking for friends, whether it be two or 20, and I love all types of food — French, Indian, Chinese, Ghanaian, you name it. It’s a true passion.
I also love real estate. I’m very interested in both the business and design aspects of housing.
You’re a busy guy, Ibrahim! How do you manage everything?
I have to say that I’m the kind of person who loves being busy, but I also have a true passion for my job. For me, it’s knowing that I’m making a difference. And I’ve always said that if I did well today, I can do better tomorrow. And Criteo helps me put that into practice every day.