GTInterviews is a series of conversations with our community of industry experts - from our Network Partners and clients through to our own team. We discuss what brings people to the world of due diligence and investigations and what advice they might offer to others considering working in the space. This month we chatted with our very own Charlotte Ball, Client Experience Specialist.
What is your background and how did you join GTI?
Having grown up in Kenya, I have always maintained a strong interest in Africa and the Middle East. I completed my undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies and International Relations at the University of Exeter, and a Masters degree in National Security Studies at Kings College London.
Being exposed to the impact of wildlife crime from an early age caused me to become fascinated with illegal wildlife trade, especially ivory. I grew up witnessing the incredible work of orphaned elephant programmes. These sanctuaries would raise and then reintroduce young elephants into the wild after losing their mothers to poaching or environmental factors. My early introduction to this issue drove me to explore the topic further in my dissertation. By focusing on the Mozambique-based insurgent group Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a (ASWJ) I was able to highlight the link between terrorist funding and wildlife trafficking.
Alongside my studies, I was lucky enough to take on various work experience placements within the security and investigations industry, including a summer internship with GTI. After working with a range of different departments, I joined as a Client Experience (“CX”) Specialist.
Tell us about your current responsibilities at GTI
The main focus of my role is to ensure that clients have the best possible experience with GTI on a day to day basis. I work alongside our amazing CX Team to ensure that our client turnaround times are met and that clients are quickly matched with the perfect Network Partner from our global pool. By fostering a strong and engaged community of Network Partners, we're able to consistently provide our clients with streamlined and stress-free access to on-the-ground resources.
But it doesn't stop there! Our CX Team also provides clients with ongoing client training and support, so they can get the most from the platform and their Network Partners. We regularly follow up with feedback calls to ensure they’ve reached their required outcome successfully. This valuable feedback allows us to continue enhancing our platform and provide top-notch service to our clients.
How do you ensure our clients have a positive experience working with GTI?
At GTI, we understand that timing is everything especially when it comes to project delivery. As an international company, we appreciate that weekends and public holidays may vary across different countries and regions. We take pride in going the extra mile and offering our clients the best possible service. For example, I have personally worked on projects based in the Middle East, where Friday and Saturday are the weekend. I also had the opportunity to work with one of our diligent Network Partners over a holiday weekend to ensure that a client's project was completed for their deadline.
We believe that clear and effective communication is central to our clients' satisfaction, and that's why our platform includes a chat function that allows direct communication with our team and our Network Partner. So even when the direction of a project might change midway, it’s always possible to adjust. We keep our clients informed about the progress of their projects every step of the way, and we always make sure that they are completely satisfied with progress.
What are the best parts about your Client Experience role?
One of the things I love most about this role is the constant variety - each day brings a completely different project to tackle. But it's not just the work that makes this job great - I also get to connect with fascinating people on a regular basis, including both our clients and Network Partners. Also, I have to mention the incredible client experience team. It's a privilege to collaborate with such talented and dedicated colleagues.
What has been your most interesting GTI experience so far?
My most interesting experience with GTI so far was attending the FFECON conference last summer. I gained a lot from the amazing talks and presentations focused on financial crime and fraud. I was particularly excited to chat with one of the women involved in the Tinder Swindler. The conversation opened my eyes to the far-reaching impact of financial crime and the need for relentless vigilance in preventing it.
My role also enables me to travel to remote regions of the world such as the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu without even leaving my desk. I am always impressed by our Network Partners' ability to gather essential information in remote areas.
What advice would you give to someone who wants a career in this space?
First and foremost, don’t allow a lack of prior experience to hold you back. Instead, focus on cultivating a growth mindset and be willing to learn and adapt as you go. No two days are the same so being flexible and adaptable will serve you well. Immersing yourself in the industry is another good place to start. Attend events, read industry publications, and engage with professionals in the field. This will help you build a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding, as well as give you the opportunity to network and make connections with people who can help guide you on your career path.
What are you reading at the moment?
I am currently reading City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence. The book follows nine lives in Africa’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab in Northern Kenya. It is really an eye-opener and provides a unique and detailed account of daily life within the camp.
What is your favourite meal and why?
I would have to say my current favourite meal is Chicken Fajitas. They are easy to whip up and you can add loads of different toppings!
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