Entrepreneur sisters Lucy and Camilla D’abo launch Together, the first culture consultancy in the MENA region.
The new venture which launches today aims to help brands in the region evolve while keeping culture at its core. In an exclusive interview, Lucy d’Abo, CEO at Together, speaks to Communicate about the upcoming endeavors and the inspiration behind the consultancy.
What inspired you to establish a culture consultancy in this region?
I have spent most of my life here, my family’s been here since 1982. I’ve worked here for over twenty years and that’s why I am very committed to the region. As for the launch of this consultancy, it stemmed from my previous business venture. In 2004, I co-founded a communications agency with my sister Camilla. It came to us very intuitively, as there were values and a culture in this region that was very dear to us. But, as more people joined us, we became more intentional about it. Since we’re putting culture at the core, we decided to hire a culture manager, which back then was an unusual designation. With this, we were recognized and rewarded for the creativity and the quality of our work across a lot of platforms. But what we’re most proud of is the incredible community that we have built over these years. Everyone still reconnects and supports one another both professionally and personally. This demonstrated that culture is actually a business superpower and that’s really where I became evangelical about workplace culture and the power it can have on an organization.
In terms of strategy and approach, what attributes is Together going to look at when delivering to its clients?
What Together brings to the table that is relatively unique is, firstly, experience. As CEOs and leaders who’ve run and built a business in the region, we resonate well with the pressures that come with that role. Secondly, access to technological advances which we’ve further been exposed to after the pandemic. This will allow us to connect with industry veterans from across the globe.
Ultimately, our goal is for brands to bring the best out of their employees, and that tends to become our biggest challenge. We believe people’s performance drives the business’ performance. Microsoft’s Work Trend index for this year cites how more than 40% of employees are looking to quit their jobs because one of the five attributes they expect is an excellent work culture. So, it seems like a consistent need for employees across the world; leaders need to listen to them and act on it. We’re here to give the leaders in this region that opportunity. No two entities will have the exact same work culture, it will always be unique. Leaders can either be very passive and let the culture evolve on its own or they can be intentional and activate a culture that will support their employees. Together aims to become a partner that will help brands activate that culture.
Which brands are you looking forward to working with? Will the consultancy cater to diverse fields of work?
We've had the privilege of working with a set of diverse clients. We’re working with media and communications agencies, local businesses, mobile applications, etc. Our intention is to improve lives by making great culture the norm, not the exception. Some companies already have phenomenal cultures, but they want to get better. Whereas some have a global positioning around their purpose of culture and values, but it's not relevant or resonating locally. That’s where we can help them localize it.
At the end of the day, we need to be emotionally invested in the values of every business we’re working with.
As a communications professional, why do you think culture is so important?
We spend the third of our life at work, that counts for something. Moreover, to be involved in something that’s bigger than just you and to be connected with a community that is working towards the same goal as you, is the most rewarding and satisfying experience for any employee. Culture is not just about having a ping pong table or beanbags; it’s about bringing commonality and values to a large group of people. An aligned, engaged, and effective workforce who are working in one direction will help you achieve your business goals.
Lastly, what do you do to maintain culture at the core of your consultancy?
It’s all about investing time in the process. One of our product demos includes a culture manifesto and values playbook. Since recruitment and retention are the two biggest factors, these are very helpful. This means that all our employees will have a uniform expression when they are approached by potential recruits who want to know more about the workplace culture.