NAME: Lené Pieters
TIKTOK HANDLE: @moonberrystudios
JOB TITLE: Founder of Moonberry Creativity
MOVED TO THE UAE IN: January 2005
Lené is a multipotentialite, paralegal, working in various industries: construction, corporate, banking, regulatory, legal, medical and web3. She is also a sustainability mixed media NFT artist, having exhibited her work at various prestigious exhibitions and events, including Dubai Design Week 2022.
Lené also oversees high-level corporate English communications, technical documents, educational material production and white papers. Lené is one of the contributing writers and editors of the first NFT Encyclopedia under the leadership of Alyze Sam, an expert in web3 and blockchain technologies. Lené is also a developmental editor for various award-winning and established authors in the UAE and internationally. She ghost-writes for various clients and is also the editor of a science fiction anthology to be published in 2023, which will include some of her own works for the first time.
After moving from South Africa to Dubai in January 2005, Lené immersed herself in Dubai’s vibrant culture of growth, transformation, futuristic innovations and the warm hospitality of locals and long-time residents alike. Her career at the Dubai Financial Services Authority was cut short due to the demands of starting a family in 2007. She continued honing her skills and expertise, working for various clients while raising two daughters without the assistance of a nanny. After years of quietly building up a solid portfolio of work for influential clients, the 2020 pandemic created a new opportunity to venture into the blockchain and web3 industries. Lené considers this the most impactful stage of her career growth, as various professional and obscure skills and knowledge of the previous 30 years have culminated in some fantastic crossover projects. Lené is also a venture capitalist, investing in new start-ups and bringing her considerable expertise to various founding teams.
Here’s a look at a typical day.
5:30 AM: I wake up early every morning and take a few minutes to focus on my mindset goals for the day before I get up. After ensuring that my two teenage daughters are awake too, I get dressed, do the dreaded makeup, and rapidly check my messages, emails, LinkedIn, Facebook, and TikTok for anything requiring an immediate response. This includes communications from the school if any. If I have time, I drink a coffee before we leave at 6:30 to do the school run. After the 7 am drop-off, I like to challenge myself with the Virgin Radio Pop Quiz, then catch up on the Business Breakfast on Dubai Eye. I also make my first calls on the way home, if they are early birds, like me.
9 AM: I try to schedule important meetings for mornings, as the afternoons become too rushed. If I have an early meeting, I will work in a coffee shop near the meeting venue, where I will have a bite to eat. I edit, draft or catch up on correspondence at this time. Some work requires research before I can respond to clients. Plausible research takes time, as I filter it through various systems of risk mitigation, regulatory compliance and other corporate/legal frameworks.
If I have no meetings that day, I go home, grab some breakfast and do a bit of housework, before I allow myself one hour to work on my paintings or other projects. Then it is back to the computer.
12 NOON: I usually have meetings running from 10 am through to 2 pm. They might include lunch or not. I have to be at the school for afternoon pickup by 3 pm. This is sometimes a challenge, especially if meetings are far away. I might also have a monthly catch-up lunch with a friend or a coffee with a fascinating connection visiting Dubai in the off-time in between their other meetings. Random clients might be here for one day only, and this is the only time we can meet face-to-face.
About 70% of the time, I have to adapt my plans for the day, reschedule things, respond to urgent requests or help solve some crisis or other. There are a lot of those happening at any given time, more so since 2020’s viral outbreaks. I have had to cover as a speaker at prestigious events with 10 minutes advance notice. Similarly, I have had to moderate panels, speak at podcasts and television shows, and stand in for VIP clients who were suddenly unavailable. Single events are easier to juggle. Complex events such as GITEX and Dubai Design Week take up 5-6 days at a time, and can also turn into 15-hour work days. In those cases, my kids have to feed themselves (I call it “foraging in the cupboards”) and I rely on the network of school moms to help with emergency transport in the afternoons. As my husband works in Abu Dhabi during the week, I am basically a single parent most of the time.
3 PM: The afternoon school run is usually at 3 pm or 4 pm, depending on after-school activities. I try to reserve some time for my daughters to discuss whatever they like. I encourage independence, innovative problem-solving and freedom of choice (with responsibility for their actions). The IB curriculum is fantastic in this regard, as the school system supports the same principles. They usually disappear to do homework or study/play with their friends online. This gives me another opportunity to check all the socials, emails and messages. Then I start working again on whatever is next in the production line. I use a large stand-up whiteboard on wheels to keep track of various projects, deadlines and the To-Do List for each day.
6 PM-11 PM: After preparing dinner, I might watch a TV show with one or both girls; or catch up on a Netflix show. Then I continue working the evening shift. I will go through all the socials again, responding to emails, messages, and tags and perhaps post a new bit of content. When I am focusing on writing or editing though, it is important to rest my eyes every half hour. I take 10-minute breaks to cuddle one of my cats, do some housework, or work on any one of my gallery artworks or 1:12 scale miniatures projects lying around. Tactile distractions help keep my batteries recharged and inspire me.
Occasionally, I will attend evening functions. Then I organise dinner for the girls and focus on the event: networking, speaking (which is sometimes a spontaneous request), connecting with people, impromptu emails sharing information or locking in meetings, and sometimes being interviewed by TV crews or journalists. The digital nomads of the web3 blockchain industry do not function during normal office hours. I have had to adapt to this work style to align with my client’s requirements.
I try to shut down my laptop by 10:30 pm most nights. Sleep is essential and I try to get at least 7 hours of downtime. I unwind with a few pages of a novel or a guilty pleasure: puzzle games on my phone. Before I fall asleep, I refocus on my mind-set goals for my overnight subconscious mind to process. This system works well for me. I will wake up refreshed, with new ideas and energy to bring them to life.