This week we sat down with Senior Consultant Zainab Daham, Consultant Georgie Ndirangu and Associate Consultant Kingsley Ochieng from our Nairobi office to find out more about life for Portlanders in Kenya.
Tell us a bit about the work you do in Nairobi.
Zainab opens by telling us that she leads on one of their largest philanthropic accounts, alongside the rest of the Nairobi team, as well as colleagues in London. “We do a lot: supporting on PR projects, strategic comms and messaging – and anything else that comes in!” Although the team works collaboratively across all the Portland offices on a number of projects, Zainab notes that she is unique as “I only deal with one client – and that’s because it is such a big client with a lot of work!”
Consultant Georgie has worked across the Asian and Middle Eastern markets as well as Africa, leading and providing support on key accounts as well as on special projects.
Kingsley describes the team as working with “a cocktail of clients; we have clients in the health space, in philanthropy and more. Recently we supported one of our clients on the ground in Rwanda, which was so interesting.”
What do you enjoy about working in Nairobi?
“I can start,” says Georgie. “On Mondays we have pastries!”
He continues, “the Nairobi office is a great working environment. We have 2 floors so you can move around and sit wherever you like. It’s great to be able to speak to someone in person if you have any questions, or equally to get a sense of what they might need from you.” Like many workplaces, the Nairobi team enjoy flexible working, with the option to work from home 3 days per week.
Kingsley has a different take on the question. “I would say interacting with the different individuals in the office is a highlight for me. For example, Zainab has a lot of experience from different agencies before, and Georgie himself has worked with one of the top Pan-Africa media outlets. I’m learning each and every day from my colleagues, picking up different skills. It’s a great experience for me.”
Although Zainab is actually speaking to us from outside of Nairobi, she says “I love working from Nairobi – Nairobi is home. I did live abroad for a very long time, but it’s great to come home and be in Kenya. Our Nairobi team is very small, but I think we make a great team, we work well together. As Kingsley touched on, everyone comes from such different backgrounds, which makes it very exciting as well.”
How does the Nairobi office encapsulate the Portland values? (Be smart, be human, be collaborative, grow)
“We use all of them!” says Zainab. “We are constantly helping each other grow. We work together as a team, with everybody bringing their different backgrounds of experience. These different backgrounds also help to make us a smart and strong team. We are always collaborating with each other – when we need help and support, we always reach out and support each other.”
“Just to build on what Zainab said,” says Georgie, “be smart and be collaborative go hand in hand. Let’s say, for example, you have a huge pocket of work, we distribute it between the people on the project or the team across the Nairobi office. As for be human, the team are very understanding if ever there is something happening in your personal life, as well as professional. Our line managers are really helpful with guiding your career and making sure you’re growing within the company.”
Kingsley agrees with his colleagues – they’ve summed it up perfectly.