Our People

Fatma Ahmed

Account Director, Africa

Paul Bell

Senior Advisor

Sir Robert Fry

Chairman

Doug Griffin

Director

Simon Haselock

Director

Sukhwinder Kaur

Finance Assistant

Bertie Kerr

Managing Director

Valeriya Lindholt

Account Manager

Dieter Loraine

Director

Olivia Lucy

Account Executive

Zakiy Manji

Research & Innovation Executive

Laura Nettleton

Account Executive/Researcher

Maurice O’Shea

Finance Director

Ania Podeszwa

Senior Account Manager

Leah Selig Chauhan

Research & Innovation Executive

Joanne Smith

Account Manager

Jem Thomas

Director of Training and Research

Derek Walsh

Account Manager

Biography

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

Biography

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.

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

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.

Biography

Zakiy sits in the Research and Innovation Hub at Albany, with specialist interest in political engagement, research, and strategic communications advice. He was a Strategic Communications Adviser for RICU International at the Home Office, ending an 8-month posting in North Africa before joining Albany. Prior to this, he honed his communication and political skills in Westminster, working on several high-profile political campaigns, including senior roles in the 2016 EU Referendum, Theresa May’s leadership campaign, and the 2017 General Election. He also had a brief stint in corporate PR, specialising in crisis communications and strategy. Zakiy began his career as a Researcher in Parliament for two Conservative MPs, after graduating from Oxford with a degree in Modern Languages, where he spent a year in Paris at a diplomatic think-tank. He speaks French.

Biography

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.

Biography

Maurice is an experienced Finance Director. His early career, after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, was as FD for major media and advertising agencies. After gaining his MBA from the London Business School, he specialised in start-ups, raising finance, turnarounds and growing entrepreneurial businesses. He held senior positions with News International as FD of a technology business and was MD of BskyB’s rapidly growing SkyTalk telecoms operation. He was Regional Director for the FD Centre, placing part time FDs into SMEs. He then worked independently helping business and entrepreneurs get clarity of direction and how to overcome the brick walls that hold up growth. Before joining Albany, he was Chairman of a fast growing technology start up and held various non-executive positions and part time FD roles for a range of businesses and charities.

Biography

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.

Biography

Leah sits in the Research and Innovation Hub at Albany. She has extensive knowledge of the intersection between technology and violent extremism, which she developed whilst working on the UN CTED ‘Tech Against Terrorism’ initiative. Prior to this, Leah worked at a leading British counter-extremism think tank, as well as at the Centre for Analysis of Social Media. She has also written about the relationship between radical beliefs and violent behaviour for the Flemish Parliament. Leah holds an MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Identities and Ideologies (distinction) from the LSE, and received the Michael Oakeshott Award for her dissertation, which focused on the UK's 'Prevent' legislation and education.

Biography

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.

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 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.