Cassandra Twum Ampofo is the Head, Public Relations Unit at the Ghana Education Service.
Describe your job in one sentence
As the Head of Public Relations for Ghana Education Service, I serve as link between the Service and its diverse stakeholders in terms of information flow. This is to ensure that quality education is provided to the Ghanaian Child at the Pre-tertiary Level.
How did you get into Public Relations/communications; how long have you been in PR?
Getting into the communication field has always been my heart desire and so after training college, I went further to pursue Journalism and then went to the University to pursue Communication and specialized in Public Relations. I have been into P.R since 2011, starting from the Regional Level and now to National.
What is your interest or Specialization in PR?
I am an all rounded person. However due to the nature and scope of the GES there are number of issues that crop up almost every day from our schools , through Districts to the Regions and that always calls for media attention. As a result, media relations and Crises Management have been my key areas.
What is a regular day for you as a PR Person?
I scan the media environment every morning for news on Education especially at the Pre-Tertiary level. I also engage my Regional PROs on our WhatsApp platform for information on happenings in their Regions (10 regions) and various Districts ( 216 across the country and this excludes the news ones) and we discuss how to handle
them. Again I attend a lot of stakeholder meetings. Finally I do a lot of research and inform Management about potential crises. Eg. Teachers strike, demonstrations and school outrages etc
How do you think PR can help change how brands are perceived?
Effective branding helps companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors and to build a loyal customer base. For me I believe PR activities likes communicating and building good relationship with all organizations and stakeholders can help change how organizations brands are perceived in a positive way. Again, to ensure complete success of every organization, Management must invest in a long term Public Relations Plan to maintain the reputation of its brand. This is the most secured way to promoting a company’s success.
What kind of challenges did you face in your Public Relations career choice?
PR thrives on information but sometimes getting accurate information from various Units and Directorate becomes very difficult and renders the PR Unit unable to deploy its expertise in negotiations and engagements in terms of the application of diplomacy and tactfulness to ensure that GES gains positive public opinion with its major stakeholders. It is also challenging when your views are ignored on an initiative yet when they fail you are called to clean up the mess.
Most of our Directors do not understand the value of P.R in GES and so the needed funds to equip the Public Relations Unit to perform its functions is very challenging. The need to project the image of the Service by responding and treating our clients (mostly teachers, parents and students) well is also a problem to deal with on regular basis. I must however indicate that the trend is gradually improving because now, our sector
Minister, his deputies and the Director-General of GES are really doing a lot in bringing all PRs together to develop strategies on how Education can be projected in the country. This is a Plus and first of its kind.
Are you living your PR dream? If you were not into PR what will have been your next career choice?
Of course I am living my dream. The Communications industry was all I wanted to be growing up. If I were not into PR, I would still have practiced full time Journalism. I am really fulfilled and for me money does not matter to me. Regardless of how much I earn, (that is also not to say I do not need money) the very fact that I am practicing
PR. makes me fulfilled. I thank God for that. To borrow the words of Bill Gates, “ If I was down to my last dollar , I would spend it on Public Relations”
As a PR Professional, what can’t you live without……?
I cannot leave without my phone. GES I would say is one of, if not the only agency with the largest employees. We are in all the ten regions and in every district in the country. I have my phone with me all the time for prompts, anytime and any day. I also cannot live without reading the dailies every morning as well.
What are some of the challenges (if there are) you encountered as a woman heading a public institution and how did you handle that?
Our Education Offices are dominated by men and so it really becomes difficult for them to listen to you as a woman and also young. However I must say that whatever it is I am able to pull all of them together and we are working hard to project the image of the Service. During our meetings I solicit for their support and respect their views in decision making. Above all I accord them with utmost respect. My Regional PROs are very supportive and so linking up with the Districts is gradually becoming smooth.
I am honoured to occupy this National position as the first female and regardless of the challenges, I am determined to face them and overcome, with God by my side.
Do you mind sharing some tools, apps or resources that have helped your PRwork?
I do not use a particular tool or app in my work because for me every situation or information determines the tool to use to get your message across to your target.
However In my line of work, I use Facebook, WhatsApp, bulk SMS and google forms.
Do you feel pressured to dress well for the job?
Not at all! For me dressing well boost ones self-confidence and gives you a good image. Whether you are into PR or not, you need to dress well and appropriately.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
Facebook and WhatsApp because I am much more used to working with them.
Any advice to young ladies especially African women who may want pursue a career in PR or any communications related profession?
Young ladies who want to pursue PR are to study hard and read wide. The fact that you are eloquent does not make you a good PR. You need to acquire the skill to communicate appropriately to your target audience. Be humble and seek Gods guidance all the time.
“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]