Anhar Khanbhai is the PR manager for TransferWise in Australia. TransferWise is an international money transfer service, which is up to eight times cheaper than transferring money via a bank. TransferWise is a global company with offices in 12 countries. It’s a company built by migrants for migrants.
As a PR manager, Anhar’s responsible for increasing the company’s profile in Australia and New Zealand. Her day-to-day role involves meeting journalists, writing press releases and mining TransferWise’s data to find quirky story angles. She also speaks at events and finds speaking slots for the company’s spokespeople as well as attending conferences and various other events.
I sat down to chat with Anhar about her migrant journey and career path from Kenya to Australia.
Q. Why did you choose Australia?
I was born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya. From a young age, I was drawn to communications and media so I decided to study it after high school. There was an Australia university offering this course in Nairobi – so I could graduate with an Australian degree without having to move to Australia and save a significant amount of money.
I ended up choosing media communications and actually had to move to Perth, Australia to complete my final year of university and graduate. At the time, I was 18 years old. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Perth and then studied for a postgraduate degree in Melbourne.
I landed my first writing role 18 months after graduation. After a year, I decided to crossover to public relations (PR).
Q. Do you remember your first impressions of Australia?
I thought it was a cool country though I experienced massive culture shock at first. But, I settled in quickly because I had a network of friends and other family friends I knew who were also from Kenya. While studying at university, I worked in casual jobs to support myself.
Q. How did you end up in your current role?
By getting as much hands-on experience as I could after graduating. I did a lot of unpaid work in my field when I first started out – from working at university radio stations in Perth and Melbourne to a cadetship at The Age in Melbourne. I worked at The Age for about three months writing some cool stories. After The Age, I worked for Channel 31, a community-based TV station in Melbourne.
My first paying job was at Connected Media as an Online Reporter where I wrote consumer tech stories then joined ClickPR (now Sling & Stone) as an Account Manager for four years, moved to Magnum & Co and finally landed at TransferWise.
Q. What do you like about your role at TransferWise? And what does the company do?
Accepting the PR role at TransferWise was an absolute no-brainer for me because I, as a migrant, understand how much the company can save people money that they are sending overseas, in fees.
We are raising the company’s profile here in Australia and educating customers about hidden fees and mark-ups.
TransferWise was founded to provide customers with the best rates. If you’re trying to send money overseas, you might see an exchange rate on Google and if you go to a bank or another provider, they’ll give you a different exchange rate, and not what you see on Google. That’s because banks and other providers will charge a margin and a mark-up on the exchange rate, which is how they make their money, and there’s usually as a hidden fee that customers don’t know about.
Australia is the third most expensive country in the world to send money from. Our research in 2016 showed that Australians spent $3.8 billion on hidden fees through foreign currency. My job is to educate customers and help them understand what it really costs them to send money overseas is.
For migrants working hard and supporting family overseas, every dollar saved is precious.
Q. What do you love most about Australia?
Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by Australia. Growing up in Kenya, my granddad and my family was crazy about cricket, and we used to watch cricket all the time! That’s when my fascination with Australia first began. It’s the place where I’ve grown up and learned the most about who I really am as a person.
The thing I love the most about Australia is that it’s just such a great country to make something out of yourself, no matter where you come from or how much money you have in your pocket. There are so many opportunities! It’s all about putting yourself out there and getting it done.
Q.What are your tips for other migrants?
Be open-minded when you come here. It’s easy to feel isolated especially if you come from a small community or if you are unfamiliar with the way of life here.
My advice is to get out there, meet Australians, and actually build up your local Australian network because it makes that transition easier. It also helps you understand the Australian way of life.
To find out more about how TransferWise can help you send money overseas check out their website or download the app from App Store or Google Play.
Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay updated on latest news.
Check out TransferWise’s Faces of Australia campaign that was a collaboration between TransferWise, The Newcomer Blog and New Humans of Australia.