Edna Kankam is the Communications Manager at Total Petroleum Ghana Limited
Describe your job in one sentence
I manage the Corporate Communications of Total Petroleum Ghana Ltd. and it is a
fulfilling role of interacting with stakeholders and publics on our objectives and activities.
How did you get into Public Relations/communications; how long have you been in PR?
I have been working professionally as a Communicator for a little over 3 years now. Prior to my current job as the Communications Manager for Total Petroleum Ghana, I worked with Alliance Française Accra as their Communications and Marketing Manager. I would say I evolved into this profession. Coming from an educational background of languages – English and French, I enjoyed interacting with people from various backgrounds and I liked to read and write. In my Undergraduate years, I interned at Kapital Radio in Kumasi where I worked in the news room gathering and editing stories and reading on air.
At the onset of my professional life, before I fully dived into Communications, I
worked for a year and a half in Administration and offered assistance to the Communications unit at Alliance Française Accra. There, I was exposed to the work of a Communicator: media relations, editorial, community management and so forth. I explored as much I could until I was given the responsibility to lead the organization in its communications and marketing. Learning was endless for me. So here I am, working in the energy sector after a shift from the cultural and educational field.
What is your interest/specialization in PR?
I enjoy internal communication, editorial, media relations and event planning inclusive of CSR activities.
What is a regular day for you as a PR Person?
A regular day starts with listening to the radio in the morning on my way to work. Listening to the news is critical for me. I am often on other media platforms as well to get abreast of latest development whether political, economic, social, energy sector related etc. I pick up information that has the tendency of affecting our activities. I am in constant interaction with departments, management and staff on upcoming programmes and I basically go through strategies with my team to achieve set objectives. Even though there are rituals I do daily, the content of my day changes depending on upcoming programmes or activities in the areas of corporate social responsibility, product launches, conferences, site visits, safety tours and internal events.
How do you think PR can help change how brands are perceived?
Public Relations is very important in building mutually beneficial relationship between organizations and their publics. Organizations need to effectively interact with its stakeholders; they need to communicate their activities and achievement and give room for feedback. Creating this medium of frequent information flow anchored on truthfulness and credibility will help people build trust for a brand. They will know that their opinions count in defining some of the products or activities of a company; and remember that when trust is built, loyalty to a brand comes easily.
What kind of challenges did you face in your Public Relations career choice?
Some of the challenges I faced was when I changed jobs and had to understand the company culture and the environment of the entity. For instance, In between my two major jobs, I worked as a Communications and Production Assistant for an Association in Morocco; the environment and culture were different and they had to be carefully considered before crafting messages.
Another challenge I faced in one of my previous jobs was the interference of a powerful stakeholder in some of the strategic plan of the organization. I had to make some adjustments to my communication plan and find a way of satisfying all parties while working to achieve the ultimate goal.
Are you living your PR dream? If you were not into PR what will have been your next career choice?
I am enjoying it by far. I can’t think of any other thing I would have loved to do other than communications.
As a PR Professional, what can’t you live without……?
The radio and social media; they are my major source of information. Radio because lots of hot issues are addressed on there. Now with the presence of social media we have citizen journalist who readily gives out information. Most organizations who used to be conservatives are now there engaging with people. There is a lot of information to pick from there.
Will you mind sharing some tools, apps, books or resources that have helped your PR work?
I recommend Dale Carnegie’s, ‘How to win friends and influence people’. It is a very useful book for building interpersonal skills. Aside from that, you could take up some public relations courses on Cousera, an online platform for knowledge acquisition from different universities across the globe. Some courses are completely free and there is an opportunity for peer reviews on coursework.
I also see lots of good articles in the B&FT newspaper. They are completely worth the read. Other than that, I read whatever good material I lay my hands on and I follow people who inspire me on social media. In reading wide and interacting with people, I observe a lot and I take inspiration from them for my work and personal growth. So an additional advice is to read wide and research.
Do you feel pressured to dress well for the job?
No pressure of any kind. I love to look good and dress appropriately for any occasion. Image grooming is important when you are in constant interaction with people.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
Let me choose two here; twitter and facebook. I like to be on twitter because I think people easily say what they feel. It is very easy to know trending subjects and it is convenient to follow conversation with hashtags. I like Facebook as well because I can easily measure the engagement level of my followers and manage my ads.
Any advice to young ladies especially African women who may want pursue a career in PR or any communications related profession?
Public Relations is an interesting profession. You are in the position to inform and to influence. You are there to also advice management considering market trends and feedbacks from stakeholders. In being the go-between, you have to be ethical and have the integrity of putting out credible and truthful information so as to build a mutually beneficial relationship for both your organization and its publics. It is also important to research and be proactive with your work.
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]