“Bookwitty endeavours to highlight authors and their books, promote the
discovery of those books, and to make books of all languages available to anyone, anywhere.”
Kanzi Kamel is a Regional Ambassador and Project Coordinator for Bookwitty, a digital startup for book lovers. Bookwitty endeavours to make books accessible to everyone, everywhere, and to encourage conversation about them. The website brings together publishers, authors, writers, and book lovers to discuss every subject – from world politics to gardening – through the medium of books.
Though the company currently employs almost 200 people in their 10 branches worldwide, Kanzi was Bookwitty’s first employee in Ireland, where she helped kick off its Dublin branch. Today, a team of four man the office on Merrion Square, and you’ll often find them in The Wilde’s break room, asking strangers if they’d like some tea or biscuits.
Tell us a bit about you and what you do within the company?
Hi! I’m Kanzi Kamel. An Egyptian-American raised in Beirut and living in Dublin. My hobbies include cooking, eating out, finding really great snacks, adventuring outdoors, and trying not to trip over things. Professionally speaking, I’m a Project Coordinator and Regional Ambassador at a new digital platform for book lovers called Bookwitty.
When was the company founded and why?
Bookwitty.com was launched in December 2015. The “why” is in the name – we want to highlight authors and their books, promote the discovery of those books, and to make books of all languages available to anyone, anywhere. And by “anywhere”, we mean that if you’re stranded on a beach somewhere off the coast of Africa, we’ll do our best to bring a book to you. We even offer free shipping worldwide.
What is your role?
As a coordinator, I help facilitate the work that happens between our Editorial and Marketing teams, and I also order the post-it notes when we run out at the Dublin office. As an ambassador, I work on making connections and partnerships in the region, to bring on contributors and community members.
How many people work in the business, and if expanding, what type of expertise will you be looking for?
Worldwide, we’ve almost hit the 200 employee mark. In Dublin, we’re a team of four. We’re always expanding and looking for bright new minds to join our teams. The most important qualification, unsurprisingly, is a sincere passion for books.
How do you think you (& your team) benefit from working in a flexible workspace environment?
It’s invigorating to be surrounded by different teams of every discipline. It’s obvious that the sort of company that joins a coworking office wants to be a part of not just the space itself, but the community of people within it
What would be your Top 3 Tips for anyone looking to start up their own company?
1. Get to know people that inspire you, and endeavor to inspire the next person you meet.
2. Hire someone that’s smarter than you. It’ll be an invaluable experience to learn from them every day, and they’ll bring an experienced approach to your product.
3. Do what you love. And if that’s not possible because you’ve always dreamed of being a dolphin trainer and you work in finance, then find something in your work that you really enjoy doing. You’ll try harder, and your employer will thank you.
What would be your advice to your 18-year-old self, compared to what you know now?
Don’t dye your hair fuschia. It’s not 2000 and you’re not Avril Lavigne.
What are you working on right now?
I’m editing a reading list on great Australian writers.
What do you need to reach the next level?
Probably another shot of espresso.
Favourite lunch haunt?
I’m loving Voila at the moment, they do a fantastic tomato soup.
What is the soundtrack to your coworking life?
I’m not sure how well it relates to my coworking life, but I’m jamming to ABBA’s Dancing Queen right now.
Favourite after-work haunt?
My bed, surrounded by my kittens.
The Best thing about your building?
Gillian (Community Manager, The Wilde) and Clarabelle (Community Lead).
What are your most Iconic moments to date?
A little puppy jumped into our window the other week, it was probably the best moment in all four of our lives.
What do you love most about your job?
The people I work with; we all have a sincere passion for the company and that’s not something you take for granted.
Are you looking to collaborate with anyone?
Always! Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or just drop by and say hi.
Who would you most like to work with?
That puppy that jumped into our window, but his owner came and took him away.