Opinion: My Best Hire

Simon Brocklebank-Fowler, Cubitt Consulting managing partner, on counselling whizz Serra Balls.

'Serra was Cubitt's first hire, and delighted in the nickname of "Employee Number One". She became first call for clients and new biz in a firm which grew, on her watch, from nothing to 50 people in London and New York.

'She arrived as a green pea from Brunswick, in search - she said - of Savile Row rather than Oxford Street. At interview, asked about her languages, she said "I speak Turkish. Indeed, I am completely Turkish", in LSE English reminiscent of a stripling Celia Johnson. She would do.

'Serra's presentational skills must carry blame for the growth of our early years, but the talent for many a client was honest counsel and media nous.'

Serra is now director of corporate communications Europe at Lehman Brothers International.

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