Our People

Fatma Ahmed

On sabbatical

Paul Bell

Senior Adviser

Lord Black of Brentwood

Senior Adviser

Tihomira Doncheva

Senior Business Development & Research Executive

Sir Robert Fry

Chairman

Rachael Garner

Senior Account Executive

Doug Griffin

Director

Kerry Harrington

Senior Finance Manager

Simon Haselock

Director

Emily Hoyle

Senior Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Executive

Yasmin Kamel

Senior Account Manager

Sukhwinder Kaur

Finance Manager

Milga Liban

Account Manager

Dieter Loraine

Managing Director

Jack Lyne

Senior Account Executive

Laura Nettleton

Head of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)

Elias Pogany

Account Manager

Kierat Ranautta-Sambhi

Senior Account Executive

Jem Thomas

Director of Training and Research

Derek Walsh

Senior Account Manager

Biography

Fatma manages Albany’s Middle East and Africa portfolio. She has a wealth of practical experience managing and delivering programmes on stabilisation, early recovery initiatives and preventing violent extremism (PVE). Acting as the former Deputy Chief of Party for a US Government cooperative agreement she provided the technical expertise in the establishment of the IGAD Center of Excellence in Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism. Fatma is certified trainer for advancing the role of Youth, Peace and Security in support of resolutions 2250 and an IVLP (International Visitors Leadership Program) alumni.

Biography

Paul Bell specialises in the development of comprehensive communications campaigns and countering violent extremism in conflict and post-conflict zones. Before his work with Albany, he was Chief Executive and subsequently Deputy Chairman of London’s largest public relations group, Bell Pottinger. Paul was raised in South Africa and worked there as a journalist before serving as Director of Communication for the country’s Independent Electoral Commission, helping deliver its historic first non-racial, democratic general election. He has worked in Botswana, Latvia, Russia, Turkey, the United States, Iraq and Yemen, and elsewhere in the Middle East. He is a Trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People.

Biography

Lord Black of Brentwood is Deputy Chairman of the Telegraph Media Group (publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph). Previously he was Director of Communications for Conservative Central Office and Press Secretary to Rt Hon Michael Howard QC, and Director of the UK Press Complaints Commission. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, Chairman of the Royal College of Music, Vice-President, News Media Europe and Patron of the Rory Peck Trust.

Biography

Tihomira joined Albany as a Research and Innovation Executive, focusing on disinformation and Eastern Europe. She comes from a communications background with experience as a journalist, foreign correspondent and a media researcher. She has conducted field work in the Balkans and Cyprus, with emphasis on media literacy, press freedom, women’s rights and ethnic conflicts. Completing her journalism studies with an MA in Strategic Communications from King’s College London, she wrote her thesis on China’s interests in Eastern Europe. Tihomira also published a research paper on Russia’s influence in the Western Balkans’ information environment with the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence.

Biography

Sir Robert is the chair of Albany Associates. He completed a full military career that included posts as Commandant General of the Royal Marines and Director of Operations in the MoD, advising successive Prime Ministers on the response to 9/11. After leaving military service in 2007 he became CEO of Hewlett Packard’s defence and security business and was appointed chair of Albany Associates in 2011. He is a member of the executive council of the Royal United Services Institute and a visiting professor at King’s College, London. He writes occasionally for a number of periodicals and is a regular contributor to Prospect Magazine.

Biography

Rachael supports the Middle East and Africa team’s project accounts, and is predominantly focused on countries in East Africa. She works on a variety of projects from upskilling civil society organisations, to stabilisation efforts, and communications campaigns focused on countering violent extremism. Prior to joining the team at Albany, Rachael worked as a researcher at the Tony Blair Institute and focused on geopolitics and extremism. She worked on a global monitor that tracked violent extremism and efforts to counter it, analysing the movement, tactics, and predominant victims of extremist groups worldwide. Rachael previously gained a BA in Sociology from the University of Leeds, where she focused on international relations and inequality.

Biography

Doug is a lawyer specialising in media and communications strategy and policy.  He has advised government and civil society, drafted legislation and regulation, and developed and implemented programmes for a number of communications projects across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.  His expertise includes ICT law, broadband, digitalisation, broadcast and internet policy.  Prior to joining Albany, Doug was in private practice with an international law firm in New York, Moscow and Paris.  Doug also speaks French.

Biography

Kerry is Albany's Senior Finance Manager and oversees the finance function in all aspects, including working on projects, managing accounts and business development. Kerry started her career off in the private sector, working for a diving company as a finance manager, looking after entities in the Middle East, Europe and the head office in UK. Before joining Albany, she worked for a global company on compliance and finance projects, implementing new ways of workings to non-finance members, and looking after the Western Europe Credit control.

Biography

Simon is an early innovator in media interventions in countries emerging from violent conflict. Since co-founding Albany, he has directed strategic communications, CVE and media development projects across Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He is a frequent speaker on information operations and counter radicalisation and propaganda issues. He also served for 23 years as an officer in the UK Royal Marines. In the Balkans, from 1996 to 2003, he was the NATO Spokesman in Sarajevo, Deputy High Representative for Media Affairs in the High Representative’s office in Bosnia, Temporary Media Commissioner in Kosovo and then Director of Public Information for UN mission there. He then went on to head the UK FCO’s media development team in Iraq.

Biography

Emily is a Research and M&E Executive working across projects in the MENA region, the Balkans, South East Asia, and East Africa. Emily joined Albany following the completion of an MPhil in Islamic Studies and History from the University of Oxford, with a research specialism in Iran and the surrounding region. She has lived and studied in Turkey and the USA, and has a particular interest in counter-state propaganda, P/CVE, and the dynamic role of data science and strategic communications in understanding and responding to complex local and international issues.

Biography

Yasmin is a Senior Account Manager in the Middle East and Africa team and currently manages and develops communications projects throughout the MENA region and the Horn of Africa, specifically in Somalia in countering violent extremism and stabilisation. She led on the development and delivery of several communications campaigns focused on tackling complex social issues and targeting audiences within the PVE and CT arena. She oversaw the development of multiple capacity building programmes in the UK with CSOs through the development of a network of credible messengers with the CT sphere on behalf of the UK Home Office programmes. Furthermore, she played a significant role in the tactical communications rapid response events during the terrorists attacks in the UK in 2017, providing crisis communications advice to the UK Government with the aim of challenging the divisive rhetoric and hostile environment commonplace in the aftermath of security related incidents.

Biography

Sukhwinder assists with a wide range of accounting and financing issues, often involving some of the world’s most challenging environments. She has considerable experience with projects in Africa before joining Albany. Sukhwinder worked in France and Kenya and also speaks Punjabi, Hindi and Kiswahili.

Biography

Milga supports the Middle East and Africa team’s project accounts and is predominantly focused on countries in East Africa delivering strategic communications, community outreach, media development, capacity building and P/CVE projects in the region. Based in Albany’s office in Nairobi, she works closely with local key stakeholders, government representatives and media organisations. Milga is a strategic communications and public health specialist whose previous roles included conducting a country wide health sector mapping exercise on the health sector landscape in Somalia on behalf of the World Bank.

Biography

Dieter co-founded Albany after a career in the Royal Marines, running a niche regional PR agency, holding several senior positions in Bosnia’s media and communications regulatory authority and working in Iraq as a communications consultant for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He has garnered over 20 years of experience in strategic communications, institution building and media and communications regulatory development, helping to establish and advising more than twenty media and press councils across South East Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Dieter is on the board of trustees for the Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust.

Biography

Jack works on a range of communications and capacity building projects throughout the Western Balkans, North Africa and Central Asia, that seek to support free and independent media, build strategic communications capacity of governments and counter violent extremism. Jack gained a BA in Politics and French from Queen Mary University of London where he specialised in US foreign and counterinsurgency policy in Iraq in the 21st century.

Biography

Laura is Albany’s Monitoring and Evaluation specialist, overseeing M&E activities across all projects. She has conducted field work in Africa and the Western Balkans as well as primary research in Central Asia and the Middle East. Resulting from her work with Hedayah, she co-authored a paper on preventing violent extremism through education in Uganda. With a background in communications, Laura is experienced in project management within global corporations and NGOs. Laura is bilingual in English and French.

Biography

Elias oversees Albany’s projects in the Eurasia region, focused on countering disinformation, preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE), and building the capacity of government officials to communicate more effectively, transparently, and coherently with citizens. Prior to joining Albany, he managed large-scale Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) programmes for Tetra Tech International Development (formerly Coffey), in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mozambique and Ethiopia. A native of Boston, Elias holds a BA in International Studies from American University’s School of International Service (SIS) and MA in Governance and Development from the University of Sussex’s Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

Biography

Kierat assists on projects in the Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining Albany, Kierat interned at a 'think and do' tank working to counter extremism and polarisation globally and, previously, at the King's Centre for Strategic Communications. Kierat has also worked as a regional security analyst at a geopolitical, security and risk management consultancy focusing on the MENA region. Kierat has a MA in International Peace and Security (with a focus on strategic communications and PCVE/CT) and na LLB in Law with French Law and Language.

Biography

Jem leads Albany’s training in media relations, media literacy and strategic communications with a specific interest in communication aspects of foreign policy and post-conflict reconstruction. He has delivered courses across Africa, the Middle East and Asia and has developed and implemented instruction for UK ambassadors and senior UN management. Prior to joining Albany, he had a long career in the Royal Navy, where he was spokesperson for the EU in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Chief Instructor at the UK MoD's Defence Media Operations Centre.

Biography

Derek is an experienced project manager specialising in the development of capacity building initiatives within both the public and private sectors. Derek’s area of focus is countering violent extremism (CVE) and is geographically focused on MENA, South-East Asia and the Western Balkans. Within this space he works on strategic communications projects that encompass both new and traditional media, the use of emerging technology to counter extremist narratives, and government & civil society capacity building in medial & digital literacy. Derek has worked with industry-leading organisations to develop implementation strategies to launch new products and has developed learning and development content to globally recognised standards.