March 18, 2021

So, turns out my new pro bono client Ella has taken on a new agency partner

For those of you following my intrepid new encounter with my overachieving pro bono client Ella, you’ll be curious to hear the next instalment in this tale I hope. Well, a lot has changed since we last conversed, so let me fill you in…

Despite being a fully committed, all-in consultant to Ella Solanki, the time came when she decided to take on a new agency partner. Things had changed, her remit was opening up, restrictions were lifting and she was enamoured by the prospect of a change of scenery.

Never one to stand in the way of progress, I had a 1:1 chat with Ella about this latest decision to probe her thinking, and make sure we weren’t being teed up for an exit strategy at some point.

The conversation went a bit like this:

Me:So, ahem, is everything going ok Ella? Is there anything you need me to be doing better in terms of my client counsel or deliverables? I do hope I am continuing to exceed your [very high] expectations.

Ella:Oh yes mummy, nothing to worry about there. You’re still my favourite, it’s just that…well I need to get back out there in the real world. I miss my friends….I mean colleagues so much. It’s time I think.

Me: Ah ok, I understand. Well, I mean, there is enough work to go around right. Do you envisage any changes to our current scope? I can get another cost estimate (piggy bank IOI) drawn up if you need? We always want to be adding value.

Ella: No need mummy really, you have nothing to worry about. My new agency partner can offer something totally different to you, I do think you can work together side by side. You each have your own ‘swim lanes’ right?

Me [thinking in my head]:Gulp. We all know how this conversation usually pans out. Get that P45 ready, finance are going to hammer me.

Me [saying out loud]: So Ella, is this all a bit hush hush or can you tell me who the new agency is? Are they in the network? Do I know them?

Ella: Sure, nothing to hide mummy, you know them well, it’s my primary school of course – my new account lead, Mrs Wright, is just wonderful. She’s so different to you mummy. She has time to take me through my maths exercise (crap, hated that), she loves messy play time (that’s definitely out of my scope) and she’s fantastic for agency / client bonding with all the forest walks we go on (it’s too cold out there, also out of scope)

Me: Gosh, that sounds like a wonderful agency partner Ella, aren’t you lucky to be working with two amazing ‘agencies’ where you can learn so much?!

Ella: I sure am. Oh, and the pizza is better at school.

You get the picture!

I mean in real life, there is no competition between home school, and actual school. There is a reason I didn’t go into teaching and I can only commend the people that do, they really are a gift from God! I am thankful to have my kitchen table back and the printer has decided to take a much needed holiday.

Needless to say, she’s thriving again. On her first day, she came home and said “mummy, I forgot how wonderful it was at school.”

That was a compliment I was never paid in home school, but I did get complimented on my nice meals, ensuring she was snuggly for virtual story-time and of course being her favourite agency partner. Some relationships are just different. Not better, or worse, just different and complementary.

I’m pleased that for now, it’s back to being mummy, and not Mrs Solanki with the Thursday spelling test!

Written by Alicia Solanki, Brand Deputy Managing Director, Ketchum London