Aashna Puri, Chinwe Sagna and I have just completed a successful roadshow in which we presented the capabilities of the Sub-Saharan Africa team to colleagues and clients in four countries across Europe.
Our travel started in London with a clients’ breakfast on Thursday May 14 2015 and a presentation to Client Relationship Managers in the afternoon of the same day. Interacting with an audience of people who have invested in Africa and with varied knowledge of the market was very interesting. There was the occasional media-informed view, which resulted in questions on how global corporates deal with “power issues in Lagos”, or “what other than tourism drives the Nairobi economy”. Chinwe’s anecdote on how she manages her power in her household of three was a good illustration of ways to deal with the challenge of power that allows one to take benefit of opportunities presented by these markets.
I am new to JLL and my interaction with the UK team was as much an opportunity for me to present Nairobi and our capabilities to them, but also to learn from them; the scale of the London office was impressive. The appreciation of our business as a relationship business was evident in interactions between the CRMs and their client reps at the various forums – anticipating and responding to the needs of these clients.
Early on Monday 18 May, we were in Warsaw meeting with Michael and his team at the Centre of Excellence. This too was an opportunity to impart what we have in SSA and to learn the workings of the COE. The opportunities presented by this COE are particularly important to us in SSA as we can leverage the COE to deliver best in class services to our clients in market irrespective of our small teams.
The cold winds in Warsaw may not be very attractive when one is from a very temperate Nairobi, but with the opportunities presented by the COE, I need to invest in coping mechanisms as I most probably will visit Warsaw again.
We met with the CRMs and the Business ExCo in Paris on Tuesday May 15, and had sessions with a number of clients while there.
We visited Frankfurt for the day on May 21, where the team was very well prepared for us, with probing questions that ranged from general issues such as security in Africa to specifically how we win business there. The scope of Africa is new to many of our colleagues and our slides and presentation served as a good eye opener.
Finally, I’m back home in Nairobi, exhausted, but at the same time excited about the opportunities that SSA presents to JLL’s clients who have a global footprint and being able to deepen these relationships and establish new relationships .