Portland Profile: Saburi Chirimi

Portland Profile: Saburi Chirimi

1. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career so far?

I have received a lot of great advice over the years from such amazing people. My most memorable one is “working hard is not enough, you have to be seen”. This always resonates because as an introvert, my default response is to do things quietly. I often remind myself to speak out and share with others: the successes, the shortcomings and the learnings.

2. What is your favourite part of your job?

I would say working on the different thematic areas we work in. I am passionate about development in Africa. Seeing the work we do translating into real change for communities across Africa and the world is both humbling and satisfying.

3. What is the biggest mistake you’ve learnt from in your career?

I have worked for over 14 years so you can be sure I have made plenty of mistakes. What I have learnt from these is to “fall forward”; I allow the mistakes to inform my learning and growth. I have learnt to acknowledge and own the mistake, to fix it where possible, to reflect and learn and let the experience grow me into new levels of understanding both about my work and myself.

4. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self starting out in comms, or to someone entering this field of work?

I would advise my 20-year-old self to speak up. I would urge her to trust her gut and believe that she knows more than she thinks she does. I spent a big chunk of my early career years “afraid” to speak up lest I said the wrong thing. Looking back, it’s in the speaking up and sharing of your thoughts and ideas that you learn, you grow and you are recognized. So, speak up!

5. What do you do to switch off from work?

I am a mom to two lovely babies both under five years. I spend a lot of my free time with them. Anyone with children knows all you have to do to switch off from work is to get into “parent-mode”. That’s how I unwind.

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