After three months of searching, after reviewing a whopping 91 (!) applications, I am thrilled to introduce you to our new Studio Manager.
Sabah Ali Khan
Sabah (pronounced SUH-bah) found her way to Grey House via the road less traveled. While pursuing her undergraduate degree in Information Technology, she was set to follow in her father’s footsteps and pursue a career in engineering. But a pivot away from a STEM-centric path was inspired by her father’s wishes, too. Toward the end of her senior year, he was hospitalized to undergo a major surgery, and sat her down for a heart-to-heart. Discussing her impending graduation, called her bluff: he knew she wanted to pursue something creative.
“I remember him telling me, ‘Look, you’re not happy in this. I know where your heart is, and it’s not in IT,’” Sabah recalls. “And then he said, ‘I didn’t come to this country for my children to do what they’re told: to go the safe route.’ He said he came here for new opportunities. And that was a pretty poignant moment.”
Just three classes away from a degree in Computer Science, Sabah decided to transfer to Columbia College Chicago to study film and pursue a career in the creative arts. Along the way, she picked up photography, and an arsenal of technical and creative skills she’d utilize at boutique production studios and freelance digital content jobs. Through it all, she credits her background in IT to laying the groundwork for pragmatic methodologies and approaches to production. “That kind of worked in my favor,” she says, “having an analytical mindset with which to approach very complex projects in a very creative field.”
In a way, Sabah’s analytical approach to production boils down to one thing: effective communication. For her, that means a whole lot of listening, and making sure that every member of the production team is being heard. “I think that’s where Hannah and I agree: our definition of success is parallel,” she says. “Nobody has to sacrifice their happiness in order to make a great project. We can all work together. There’s this ability to address very difficult conversations that people are wary of participating in. And when you approach them responsibly and thoughtfully, there’s always going to be progress. You’re going to get the end result that everyone wants.”
Photos by Chloe Camille Photography
Sabah says that Grey House is a “eutopia” of a production company that she was happy to discover while researching potential production partnerships this fall. “It’s basically the type of production company that I’ve always had in my head,” she says. “I honestly felt when I met Hannah that we’d met before. We just clicked. And there’s a polarity there: There were aspects [to this job] where I knew I could definitely learn from her and respect her, but also I saw and felt respect from her coming toward me. It felt like I would be heard, and not talked down to. It felt that it would definitely be an experience, rather than just a job. I’m very, very excited. And that’s an understatement.”
Hiring our first-ever studio manager was not a quick process. I was adamant about taking time to find the right fit, not the quick fit. After our first push to get the word out within our inner network, we had 73 applicants. And while we were able to narrow those down to two final candidates, we realized that while both were wonderful on paper, they weren’t “it” for GHP. So, we went back to the drawing board.
After a second round of outreach to our network, social media, and crew nationwide, we received 18 additional applicants — one of which was Sabah Ali Khan. As soon as Sabah came in for her in-person interview, I knew she was special. Right away we had her come on set, and crew and clients both loved having her on the team.
After crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s, we sent the formal job offer — and then some. Sabah is our very first full-time hire, and I’m excited that her offer will set the standard for how GHP will support full-time staff going forward. Beyond a salary package, health insurance reimbursement, PTO and traditional benefits you’d expect, we also offered a “personal development stipend.” We want to encourage and support members of our team to be lifelong learners — whether that’s attending a conference, or yoga teacher training, or any number of personal growth goals. We believe growth in one’s personal life ripples into growth in one’s professional life. It’s just another way our team is looking to “work hard and stay savvy.”
- 91 applicants
- 38 initial video interviews
- 12 second in person interviews
- 8 group interviews with two professional colleagues
- 4 paid test projects and final interviews
- 1 job offered