Ex-Portland duo launch 'women-led powerhouse' agency with former Change UK leader

Two former Portland Communications executives have launched an agency with an Advisory Council that includes Heidi Allen, the ex-MP and former leader of breakaway political party Change UK.

Hannah Barlow (left) and Gosia Brzezinska: 'Committed to shaking up the bloated and bureaucratic agency world'
Hannah Barlow (left) and Gosia Brzezinska: 'Committed to shaking up the bloated and bureaucratic agency world'

Gosia Brzezinska and Hannah Barlow, who worked together at Portland as associate director and account director respectively, launch their agency BB Partners today (Monday).

Alongside Allen, the Advisory Council includes Moky Makura, CEO of Africa No Filter, the organisation that aims to shift the narrative around the continent; David Goldberg, CEO of Founders Pledge, the London-based charitable pledge scheme; and Janet Mbugua, Kenyan journalist and writer.

Launch clients include the Bill Gates-backed global NGO, Malaria No More UK; international sustainable furniture start-up, Tylko; political think tank, More in Common; investment advisor firm, White Oak Global Advisors; and crowdfunding platform, Crowdfunder UK.

The agency said: "BB Partners will support organisations to tackle urgent challenges and seize opportunities through communications, campaigns and partnerships.

"This women-led powerhouse is committed to shaking up the ‘bloated and bureaucratic’ agency world by spending more time with their clients."

Barlow said: “Inspired by our clients’ desire to actually deliver change, we created BB Partners to do what others in this space seem to fear: spend more time with clients. All we ask of them is to bring leadership and a challenge. We - supported by our world-class global council - bring sharpened pencils and sharper minds, ready to take on even the thorniest of issues.”

Brzezinska said: “From speeding up malaria’s end to people-powering grassroots campaigns around the world, we’ve supported brilliant leaders to deliver change – we can’t wait to add some more to our roster. Our clients navigate difficult and complex frameworks of Sustainable Development Goals, B Corp and other sustainability and ‘for good’ metrics. We want to help them deliver on those but most importantly ensure that they achieve greater impact across their priority areas.”

Brzezinska was an associate director at Freuds before joining Portland. In 2017, Barlow founded an organisation called The Development Collective, which has worked with clients including Crowdfunder and Malaria No More UK - both are on BB Partners' books.

Allen was MP for South Cambridgeshire from 2015 to 2019, initially as a Conservative and later switching the Change UK, the anti-Brexit breakaway party that disbanded after the 2019 General Election.

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