Our People

Fatma Ahmed

Account Director, Africa

Paul Bell

Senior Advisor

Sir Robert Fry


Doug Griffin

Director, Business Development

Simon Haselock

Director, Strategic Delivery

Sukhwinder Kaur

Finance Assistant

Bertie Kerr

Operations Director

Valeriya Lindholt

Account Manager

Dieter Loraine

Managing Director

Sally Loraine

PR, Marketing & Events Manager

Olivia Lucy

Account Executive

Laura Nettleton

Account Executive/Researcher

Ania Podeszwa

Senior Account Manager

Joanne Smith

Account Manager

Jem Thomas

Director of Training and Research

Derek Walsh

Account Manager, Training


Fatma manages Albany’s Africa portfolio. She has a wealth of practical experience working in Sub-Saharan Africa managing and delivering programmes. Acting as the former Deputy Chief of Party for a US Government cooperative agreement to establish a Center of Excellence in Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism in the Horn and East Africa, she successfully supported setting up the institution and providing technical advice. She also speaks fluent Somali, Swahili and Swedish.


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.


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.<br /> 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.


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.


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.


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.


Bertie spent seven years in the Royal Marines and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq in both close-combat command roles and as part of Brigade and Divisional Headquarters. He finished his last tour as 3 Commando Brigade Operations Officer, commanding the Joint Operations Centre in Task Force Helmand. Bertie then spent four years on a strategy team at Deutsche Bank, gaining a wealth of business operations experience, before joining a technology company as their Head of Operations. He helped the business close a seed-funding round and to double revenues over a two-year period.


Valeriya manages a range of communications projects, primarily in former Soviet Union countries. She has overseen multiple programmes designed to counter disinformation, increase media professionalism and strengthen the capacity of civil society actors for the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the European Union and the US Department of State. Prior to joining Albany, Valeriya worked in the European Union Delegation to Ukraine. Valeriya also speaks Russian and Danish.


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.


Sally has spent her career working in various roles in public relations, marketing and event organisation in the public, private and charitable sectors. Starting out at one of the UK’s most prestigious advertising agencies, she then went on to join the team that established the new ITV network station Westcountry TV.  From there, she worked in post-war Sarajevo, initially with the internationally-backed TV network and then in the public affairs office at the United Nations Mission in BiH. Finally, before joining Albany she ran the PR and Marketing for two Royal Marines charitable organisations supporting injured veterans.


Olivia assists in managing a portfolio of communications projects based in the Horn of Africa. She comes from a media background, working as a TV, film and radio buyer for Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest media and communications agencies. Her background is in marketing, communications and reputation management.


Laura conducts research for Albany and works with the training team. She comes from a marketing background with experience in project management in global corporations, including Nespresso and British Airways, as well as in smaller charities. She has experience in social media analysis and communications from her work at King’s College London and charity Terre des Hommes Suisse. She is bilingual in English and French.


Ania has experience managing communications, capacity building, peacebuilding and community engagement projects for Albany in places such as Afghanistan and Yemen. Prior to joining Albany, she advised corporate and political clients on crisis communications, reputation management and public affairs. She also helped run capacity building workshops and media training for clients, and gained on-the-ground experience in high-risk zones such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Zambia and Mozambique. Ania also speaks Polish and German.


Joanne has worked as a project manager specialising in strategic communications over a range of programmes for the past seven years. Her current geographical area of focus is managing projects within East Africa, with a specific focus on Somalia. Within the space of strategic communications, projects have included community engagement, development of media themes, production and dissemination and the successful management of workshops, symposiums and media events. She has a keen interest and experience in start-up projects and project implementation in hostile environments. Her previous experience includes logistical, duty of care and Human Resources management.


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.


Derek has significant experience managing projects and training products on an international level in both the not-for-profit and private sectors. Derek has worked with industry-leading organisations to develop strategies to launch training products to new markets and developed workshop content to globally recognised standards.