Meet our new BAME Network leader, Joram Makondo!
By Fay Walsh
27 October 2023
This Black History Month we're speaking to Joram Makondo, Project Coordinator at Max Fordham and the new leader of our BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) network, who has found time in his busy schedule to tell us a bit about himself and his work.
What does the BAME Network do?
The network was created in 2020 to provide a safe environment for our members and give them a voice and a sense of belonging, whatever their background. We meet every three months to share ideas and discuss any concerns we might have, and the discussions continue on a forum in between meetings. We also support career development and opportunities, take an active role in influencing the practice's actions to address inequalities, and work to raise awareness in the practice of BAME related issues.
You joined Max Fordham in 2022, what did you get up to before that?
Well, I went to the University of Hertfordshire and studied Business and Information Systems, before moving into the property and travel industries prior to Covid 19. Then at the beginning of lockdown I was working for a fire safety company as a project coordinator, before joining Max Fordham.
Can you tell us about your family's heritage?
I'm African - half Congolese, half Angolan. My mother is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), my father is from Angola and they moved to the UK over 25 years ago. The language of Angola is Portuguese but unfortunately I don't speak it, only French, which is my mother's language.
My mother's home country, DRC was known as Zaire between 1965-1967 and is the second largest country in Africa. Angola, where my father is from in south-west Africa, was a Portuguese colony until independence was declared in November 1975, although following this civil war broke out almost immediately and lasted until 2002, which was shortly after he relocated to the UK.
How has your heritage impacted your approach to life and your career?
My family heritage has had a really positive impact on me. I'm fluent in French, so I get to meet and communicate with a lot of different people at work and wherever I go, which has broadened my connections and life experience. Also, It’s helped me to be adaptable and fully appreciate the importance and significance of culture in people’s lives.
Do you have any famous Black role models?
I admire a lot of famous black people, notably Denzel Washington who’s been a highly successful actor for over 40 years. His consistency and professionalism is something I admire and find inspirational.
Tell us about your role at Max Fordham
I’m the Project Coordinator for the Sustainability, Acoustics and Passivhaus teams. My role involves fee bidding, setting up projects and allocating the necessary resources. I also provide support to the teams by monitoring and reporting on the financial performance of their projects, and carrying out strategic forecasting.
And finally, do you have a favourite building?
I do! The Woodlands Spa and Forum Homini Hotel in South Africa. It’s been sensitively designed to not disturb the environment and the wildlife which surrounds it