He doesn’t significantly settle for his Obsessive compulsive dysfunction (OCD) however Mark Dunford’s speedy atmosphere speaks in any other case. On the desk he sat at Artwork Cafe, 14 Riverside, his instruments have been organized round him in nice fastidious order, like a passing lineup: leather-bound notepad, two telephones, a slick pen case, a laptop computer bearing the flag of Kenya, automobile keys, and a pockets.
He wore two watches on every wrist as a result of he’s Mark Dunford. His hair was coiffed, not a strand misplaced. Gown footwear, spit-shined. His go well with was one thing you seem in in your marriage ceremony. Or a vital date in court docket. He’s deliberate, you’ll be able to inform, and supremely assured to not point out charming.
He carries all these qualities to a brand new job because the CEO of Knight Frank Kenya. Prior he labored within the strategic advisory and business actual property sectors and is presently a partner- head of funding and business, Cavendish Maxwell.
He additionally, sooner or later, was the pinnacle of East Africa at Jones Lang LaSelle [JLL] and in addition labored as their VP, Resorts and Hospitality Group, Sub-Saharan Africa.
“I’m a Kenyan born in Seychelles,” he informed JACKSON BIKO lately. “After I journey overseas and say that folks say, ‘no approach.’ However I’m. My dad was born right here. I lived right here for a bit, then I didn’t.”
He talks about patriotism and the competence of Kenyans in company. His cufflinks, it was fascinating to notice, have been of a Kenyan flag, which says completely nothing as a result of his socks had little frogs whereas turtles featured on his tie.
What does a superb go well with say a few man?
[Chuckles] That is an excellent query, assuming you’re insinuating I am sporting a superb go well with. [Laughter]. Properly, the atmosphere is a fancy place. There are components you’ll be able to management and others you can’t. So I urge anyone to regulate the controllable. So your look is one, your stage of information is one other, then your mindset.
On the subject of my skilled atmosphere, I have a tendency to love to decorate properly. I believe there’s a component of self-discipline concerned in it as properly. Making your mattress once you get up, conserving your issues in good order. Perhaps I’ve some OCD. I believe the self-discipline that comes with that may be transferred into different facets of your life.
I’ve learnt rather a lot from going to boarding faculty, taking part in rugby, and being compelled to do issues I did not need to do. After which realising the worth of, I will not name it hardship, however the stress of that. After which the flexibility to show round and say, yeah I can rise up at 6 o’clock within the morning day by day, and costume properly and shave correctly and stuff.
Clearly, all this stuff stem from someplace, this order…
I do not know. Everyone is exclusive in complexity. I believe I am very lucky to have been uncovered to quite a lot of learnings all through my life. A really various array of studying alternatives. I definitely have not totally appreciated them, however wanting again I’ve gained the flexibility to establish my weaknesses and work on them.
So naturally, I am a fairly laid again disorganised human being. If you happen to go right down to the elemental core of who I’m, I am in a kikoi in a bush someplace, however I admire that I’ve to meet the roles I occupy and which means I’ve to be extra disciplined and structured.
Because of this, I put within the 9 yards. And I believe going by way of boarding faculty, rugby, etcetera etcetera, has given me the self-discipline to have the ability to put in these onerous yards.
Is there any private trait that you just least admire?
Sure. There are most likely too many to checklist. I believe that I generally chunk off greater than I can chew so I do not essentially give the required consideration to individuals. I really feel like I do not give everyone who deserves my time the time they deserve. I do know that sounds mega conceited, however that is not what I meant.
I am not saying I am this huge necessary human being who wants to present everyone their acceptable time however I imply there are a variety of mates on the market that I have not spent high quality time with in a very long time. I believe the flexibility to interrupt away from work and go do one thing is necessary to my relationships with some individuals.
Is there a sure advantage that has not served you in your life? A totally ineffective advantage?
[Chuckling] That is an excellent and sophisticated query. [Long pause]. I ought to most likely simply say I am not a really virtuous individual so I haven’t got any. [Laughter]. However no, I don’t assume so. I believe that there is an evolution that occurs with everyone and sure virtues turn out to be extra priceless at completely different occasions and vice versa and generally you should take a step again.
If I take into consideration my character traits extra time, I’ve all the time been blessed with a specific amount of self-confidence, some could have referred to as it conceitedness in my youth. And on the time in sure methods, it served me properly. It definitely helped me attain sure management positions as a result of if you’re pushy and assured, you climb the ladder fairly rapidly.
However I additionally realised that I wanted extra humility and empathy. Now I believe empathy might be my biggest management ability, or advantage, attribute.
Speaking of confidence, how did you construct your confidence, the place do you get your confidence from? Is it genetics, experiences or your atmosphere?
Who is aware of? [Laughs]. I believe a component of it’s genetic and one other it’s your atmosphere. There’s additionally some little bit of luck. If you happen to placed on one thing that you just assume is implausible by way of an outfit or a single piece of clothes, no matter it’s, and also you stroll into the workplace, and any person who you respect turns round and tells you that you just look ridiculous. Your confidence will go from very excessive to very low, proper? So confidence is a really fluid factor.
I used to be lucky that my atmosphere as a younger man rising up instilled a sure base stage of confidence in me. However on the similar time, I went to a boarding faculty in Nairobi after which one other in Scotland, and later to a college in Switzerland. So already by the age of 19, I used to be used to dwelling with very various teams of individuals. Fending for myself. And I believe the information you will get by way of that form of stuff, provides you that form of baseline confidence.
How was your childhood?
Eh, yeah, superb. [Laughter] I grew up in Nairobi till I used to be 13, after which my dad and mom banished me to Scotland. Scotland wasn’t a straightforward factor for a 13-year-old to do on condition that I had solely recognized sunshine.
Sure, by way of rigor, the varsity wasn’t essentially as inflexible because the one which I had been right here. Definitely, the meals was higher in Scotland. However the climate was worse and I used to be a good distance from dwelling.
However, I look again on that and I actually, once more, to your level, I used to be a part of an excellent group of individuals in my yr, and that helps construct your confidence, proper? You make good mates, you’ve gotten a useful time, and you probably did properly at sports activities, and earlier than you understand it you are a assured younger man.
Are you associated to the Dunford of Carnivore?
Keep in mind the shack I discussed I’m dwelling in Gigiri earlier than we began the interview? That’s his place. [Laughs] He is my uncle, my father’s youthful brother. We’re really a small household.
So when you return to the unique Dunfords in Kenya, there was my grandfather and my mom, on my father’s facet clearly being the Dunfords. After which there was my father and Martin, the 2 brothers. After which now there’s 5 of us in my technology, my sister, myself and my three cousins.
When did you expertise much less private progress in your life? [He’s 41]
One other good query, Mr Biko. [Chuckles] To be trustworthy, I believe, I make a concerted effort to attempt to study on a regular basis. Now whether or not or not that is translating into progress, is a special story altogether.
I believe definitely as an uber curious human being, from knowledgeable perspective it slows down, I imply you’ve gotten rather a lot to study within the first 10 to fifteen years of your profession. After which as soon as you progress right into a sort of normal administration, there is a little bit of a plateau.
You do must, because the variety of individuals you handle will get greater or the variety of your corporation strains widens or broadens, there may be steady studying that should occur there.
Why do you want three telephones?
One among them is yours. [Laughter] I’ve two however with three SIMS, so that you’re right in a approach. One among them is my Kenyan work cellphone. I am in transition between Dubai and Kenya in the intervening time. So I nonetheless have my Dubai quantity.
And the third SIM card is a Swiss quantity that I carry on taking up simply to have. It is my Whatsapp quantity, my spouse is Swiss. She works in studying and improvement. We bought married in 2018 January in Sheria Home, February on the seaside in Mombasa, at Fort Jesus really.
She loves individuals which is one thing we share. That is one thing that truly motivates me. I used to be requested by a priest within the UK a month in the past what motivates me and all. And I needed to assume fairly onerous about that.
As a result of I believe if I am taking a look at it I actually take pleasure in watching individuals who do not imagine in themselves obtain issues they did not imagine they might obtain.
How do you let your good hair down?
[Ha-ha] I like studying. As demonstrated earlier in our dialog. I benefit from the motion pictures. I additionally love any sort of sporting exercise. I am a large foodie. So if a brand new restaurant opens I must go and test it out. I am noticed on a regular basis consuming with mates, as you’ll be able to most likely inform from taking a look at me. [Chuckles]
You are match sufficient. Children?
Match? It is not what my physician says. No youngsters but. I am lucky to have a spouse who is nearly ten years youthful than me. So the choice is firmly in her court docket relating to that. I believe there are deserves to having youngsters youthful as a few of my mates did though at the moment it felt like a nightmare.
If I may return I would most likely do it that approach spherical, do not know if I’d have ended up the place I’m immediately if I had. You are extra energetic. You do not have that many tasks within the office. However I’m wanting ahead to having youngsters.
What have you ever learnt from marriage to this point?
I do not know if I’ve discovered an enormous quantity from marriage itself however I believe it is a lesson in empathy and endurance. You want to have the ability to perceive the opposite individual’s perspective. It’s essential be large enough to say yeah I strongly disagree with this attitude but it surely’s extra necessary to them so I must let this go.
Sustaining a long-lasting relationship whether or not it is marriage or when you’re in a civil relationship with any person, that potential to attract a line and say, yeah, okay, that is necessary to me but it surely’s extra necessary to them.
Has it taught you something about your self?
That I wish to win. [Laughter]
However no one actually wins in marriage.
Definitely not when you’re the person; pleased spouse, pleased life sort of factor. I believe my spouse has taught me how necessary any person else will be in your life, and the way by way of nearly all of my life I used to be a younger single man who would whimsically transfer nations and alter jobs and sort of climb the ladder at no matter value and probably not take into consideration the connection piece.
However now I notice on this relationship that I need to compromise. To point out that her happiness is extra necessary than my happiness.