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Dynamic Duos: FutureBrand’s Christina Kokkinakis and Victoria Berry

05 May, 2022 Share socially

In Dynamic Duos, Mumbrella each week asks two members of the same organisation with a professional and personal affiliation to share with readers the importance of workplace relationships in an increasingly hybrid world of work.

Christina Kokkinakis: Four years ago I walked into the FutureBrand office and Victoria was one of the first smiling faces to greet me and lure me into her cafe of choice. We quickly discovered we like the same ‘not too bitter’ coffee and formed a strong alliance in our office debate over Melbourne’s best coffee.

Dynamic Duos: FutureBrand’s Christina Kokkinakis and Victoria Berry

Beyond our coffee alliance, VB was my go-to in navigating the FutureBrand world and I mean that quite literally. Having been with FutureBrand for over 13 years, working across three of our offices, there wasn’t a question I asked that she couldn’t answer. Fast forward four years later and I am still in awe at how incredible VB is at making those around her feel so comfortable. Whether it be our clients, stakeholders we are interviewing or the team, her smile and demeanor instantly puts you at ease. I also quickly learned Victoria has a phenomenal superpower of simplifying the complex, doing so in a way which gives you a big ‘aha’ moment.

It’s through working together that we have formed such a close friendship. The trust and mutual respect we have for one another enables us to work through the inevitable challenges that come our way – whether they be professional or personal. Knowing we are in this together and we can rely on each other to adapt and bring a different perspective to any challenge is something really special.

Victoria Berry: I first met Christina in 2018 when she joined FutureBrand Australia as a group account director. Four years on and we’re now the dynamic duo (plus creative director, Josh McGregor!) as heads of our disciplines working under our fearless leader, chief executive, Rich Curtis.

Dynamic Duos: FutureBrand’s Christina Kokkinakis and Victoria Berry

The minute we met, I felt instantly at ease but also energised! Christina is genuinely interested in getting to know everyone she meets, loves even the smallest details, actively listens, and makes people feel heard and valued. You can always rely on CK to be open and straightforward, and she has been the person I go to for advice and support ever since.

Because of her openness, I trust her and know she will be honest with me. As the lifeline between what our clients think and feel and the work we create, her insight and ideas are critical to our self-awareness and overall success. I would also say that while we both care deeply about building a strong culture and doing great work, we don’t get discouraged when challenges come our way. We thrive on enduring the ups and downs and being able to find a new way forward, and the opportunity to encourage our teams and clients along the way.

Our real friendship has developed because of the trust we have for one another and the experiences we’ve shared together. From learning golf to workshops in Madrid, our days are never dull and we’re lucky enough to be able to keep growing in our roles as FutureBrand Australia does too.

Christina and I now live near each other and check-in over a coffee and walk every chance we get.

Dynamic Duos: FutureBrand’s Christina Kokkinakis and Victoria Berry

Christina on Victoria:

Most memorable moment with Victoria: Memorable moments are often found in the smallest interactions I have with VB, like going for a walk with a coffee in hand. However, we are fortunate to also have shared some incredible experiences together, particularly as at FutureBrand we have a philosophy to always try, buy and use our clients’ products. This has seen us taking our first golf lesson together, sipping shiraz at Australia’s most historic family-owned winery and working alongside some very special guide dog puppies. We often chuckle imagining what we will do next.

One word to describe Victoria: Elegant, and if I could sneak a second, eloquent. While VB is graceful and stylish in appearance and manner, it is far more her ingenuity and persuasive nature that shine through.

Victoria’s most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: Mostly endearing and only sometimes annoying, VB will often respond to questions with another question. Maybe it’s the strategist in her, regardless I find it a nice complement to my decisive nature.

Victoria on Christina:

Most memorable moment with Victoria: All my most memorable moments with Christina revolve around travel and meetings in unusual places! If I had to pick one, it would be the night we spent at the Yalumba winery. It was the most spectacular site visit with one of the most wonderful clients we’ve had the pleasure of working with. The-Hill Smith family hosted us for a dinner and then a stay in their historic guesthouse. As we went off to sleep side-by-side in our twin single beds I couldn’t help but think how lucky we are to get to call this work.

One word to describe Victoria: Compelling. Christina has a engaging, confident and calming presence. She is the person you need in high-stakes situations, and the person you want to de-brief about it all with straight after.

Victoria’s most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: Christina’s most annoying habit is she never forgets anything on that never-ending to-do-list! But her most endearing behaviour is how she can bring people together, motivating, and inspiring others to tap into their creative depths… and then get it done.

This article was first published by Mumbrella on 29 April 2022.