Afia Drah is the Head, Public Relations at The Trust Hospital
Today being a new month, March which also celebrates women all over, we bring the spotlight on Afia Drah as she shares her PR Woman journey with Daily PR Africa.
Describe your job in one sentence
I lead the Public Relations team in planning, developing and implementing our PR strategies for the Hospital as well as promoting our services and engaging our clients.
How did you get into Public Relations/communications; how long have you been in PR?
I used to work in Television and later a Production house producing mostly branded content. While at the production house, I worked with corporate communications departments of organizations, and that was how I developed the interest for PR. I pursued a Master’s Degree in communications and started working as the PRO for Trust Hospital since 2015.
What is your interest/specialization in PR?
Primarily, my interest in PR is Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR because that is what actually endeared me towards Corporate Communications. CSR has been something dear to my heart. I believe that no organization can thrive without it and it affords an organization the opportunity to look good in the heart and minds of its stakeholders.
What is a regular day for you as a PR Person?
We have three (3) hospitals and six (6) clinics. Therefore, I shuffle between these facilities that are geographically spread across the city. I go to different locations depending on what I need to do there. So an average day for me will be going to the hospitals, speaking with the information desk, emergency nurses, records unit, getting to know whether they have any queries from our clients.
Sometimes I talk to the exchange (Telephone operators) because they are also front- liners as far as our telephone communication is concern. The way our hospital runs, everybody that works in our hospitals, from the cleaner to the CEO, are of interest to me; because their work can have an adverse effect on the organization’s goodwill. I answer the hospital email enquiries and go through our social media accounts; try to listen to the news to see if there is anything of interest to us as a company.
How do you think PR can help change how brands are perceived?
Whenever I tell people I am a PR person, the first thing they ask is, “so when something happens, you are the one going to talk on behalf of the organization?”. I smile and respond, “This is 2017, we don’t sit and wait for a crisis to happen”.
PR is in the proactive era. PR is promotion, marketing, it is CSR, it is everything that help brands achieve their target. I believe one of the key driving force of every organization’s success is PR. And with PR, an organization is most likely (with the right strategies) to achieve more than advertising.
For us in the health service, we are not supposed to advertise; therefore, everything we do, as far with PR is concerned is intentional. We achieve these through CSR, through promotion, through community engagement, through media interviews, these are the things that we do to change how our brand is perceived.
What kinds of challenges do you face in your Public Relations career choice?
PR is an expensive business function; We spend money. But looking at the company financials, one of the areas that does not directly bring money into the business is PR or corporate communication. So it is difficult to get money around for PR activities.
We spend on media, community, on internal publications, one of my challenges is trying to get a budget that fits what I am doing and getting the organization to embrace what PR brings to the table. I cannot overemphasize the role communication play in any organization.
Secondly, coming from a totally different background, I have had to recalibrate how I see publics. I try to make time for everybody, every query, every call and email. This is challenging because of the way our operations are. We have nine facilities scattered around Accra. It is a difficult task managing people.
Another challenge comes from the field I have found myself. I work with people with a science background. Science and Art always have their clashes. It’s challenging sometimes for people to appreciate my work.
Are you living your PR dream? If you were not into PR what will have been your next career choice?
I am definitely living my PR dream. I switched careers because I love PR; I like to talk with people I love to write, like to research, I like to communicate. I am definitely living the dream.
Then again if I wasn’t doing PR, I think I would probably be doing my branded content and Television Production which I am good at. PR has really exposed me to a lot of things and I have become more understanding of people. Professionally, I haven’t regretted choosing this career.
As a PR Professional, what can’t you live without……?
I can’t live without internet and my phone. I use the internet every day. Even without a computer, I can use my phone, and also because I need to be abreast with what is going on every day.
Do you feel pressured to dress well for the job?
Not necessarily. Personally I like to dress well. This job affords me the opportunity to dress the part. If I wasn’t in PR I would still dress and look good for myself. It gives me a “feel good” feeling. My office is not strict on black jacket every day.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I will choose Facebook any day; because of the coverage it reaches, it is accessible, the demographics varies from the intellectual to even the market woman and a lot of people are hooked onto Facebook in Ghana. Facebook is my go-to for information, news, news trends in almost every area that interest me. I use Twitter as well, and I love instagram because I like pictures.
Any advices to young ladies especially African women who may want pursue a career in PR or any communications related profession?
PR offers a myriad of opportunities. Every young woman should dream big and have hope beyond the horizon. But beyond passion, PR requires hard work, dedication, research and a lot of integrity, its not always razzmatazz, yes we enjoy the flamboyance and the networking, but at the end of the day when HR, Sale, Finance, Legal, Medical department sit at the table, you should be of substance to have a seat there.
Afia can be contacted on the following social media pages via
Facebook: Aphiya Kwakyewah
Linkedin: Afia Drah
“Living It: Spotlight on Women in PR” places the spotlight on PR women to share their experiences as PR professionals in various sectors or industries in order to inspire other young ones. Know any PR woman that inspires you and want to be featured? Drop a comment or send us an email at [email protected]