The year 2020 has no doubt been a tough one for many of us. It has proven to be one that has challenged and redirected how and where we work. The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic has not only affected us physically, psychologically and financially but also pushed us to be more resilient and navigate through what we call ‘a new normal’.
As PR professionals who have the responsibilities of managing crisis on behalf of our organisations, this global health crisis has radically affected what we do and how we do it.
It has taught us the importance of not just communicating any kind of information but relevant, timely and simple information that reaches all kinds of people in every corner of the country.
As communicators, it has also given us the opportunity to prove our relevance in intervening and assisting in behavioral changes which has been key in handling Covid-19 pandemic and its related issues.
As an organization that has over the years keenly followed and projected the role women play in the Public Relations industry, we did not blink an eye but focus on initiatives rolled-out by our PR Women. We followed through every step of the way; how they were handling Covid-19, through internal and external communications, and most importantly how they were also using the period to impact the vulnerable in our society.
This summary is based on PR Women who went the extra mile to use various platforms to share their works and lead their organisations as professionals to impart, inspire and motivate others.
Here is our top 10 PR Women in Ghana for the year 2020:
- Esther Cobbah, (CEO, Stratcomm Africa)Esther Cobbah is the lead Communication Strategist at Stratcomm Africa.She has over the years used her influence in the industry to impact society in both local and international settings.
Despite the challenges posed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the award- winning practitioner who is also passionate about Green Living used her social media platforms to offer useful tips to her followers on how to stay planted at home. She also hosted live conversations on Green Living.
Her organization, Stratcomm Africa supported the national communications efforts by rolling out series of communications campaign such as “Koo the Covid Prefect” in our local dialect ‘fante’ to aid in the education of the masses on Covid-19.
The 8th edition of her annual Ghana Garden and Flower Show which takes place as a physical event was hosted virtually due to restrictions on physical activities. .
Esther Cobbah also had several speaking engagements at a number of conferences including Kosmos Innovation Top Chat on Agriculture, Stanford Seed Network Business Conference amongst others.
She was listed among the top 100 influential Women in Africa by Avance Media.
Just like each year, Madam Esther Cobbah continues to use her experience, influence and knowledge to impact many lives and serves as an inspiration to many young PR women.
- Shirley Tony Kum (Corporate Communications Manager, Vivo Energy)
Throughout the year 2020, we’ve seen Shirley continue to lead and drive several sustainable and impactful projects within her industry.
Her organization, Vivo Energy (Shell) launched an initiative dubbed ‘Retailer Sustainability Programme’ to complement government’s efforts in combating Covid-19. The programme led the organization to roll out a number of interventions for their staff, and local communities.
Committed to the delivery of excellence, Shirley who doubles as Honorary Secretary for the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) Ghana, led her team to win some awards including Excellence award in Corporate Social Responsibility (Downstream) at the Ghana Oil and Gas Awards.
Shirley was adjudged the Unsung Hero for her outstanding contribution to the Oil and Gas Industry under the Vivo Energy brand. She also won the Corporate Lady of the Year category of the 2020 Women’s Choice Awards Africa
Shirley participated as a panel member in the Ghana Garden and Flower Show panel discussion on Women in Leadership at Nature and Bloom Conference, African Business Center for Developing Education, Communication Masterclass amongst others.
Regardless of how challenging the practice of PR has become due Covid-19, Shirley continues to set the pace as a PR woman who gives value to her organization.
- Cynthia Eyram Ofori-Dwumfuo (Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Hollard Ghana)
Cynthia has been a goal-getter since her early days in the industry. She has consistently led her teams to win awards and also used innovative marketing communications strategies to win strong brand affection for her organisation.
During the outbreak of the pandemic, she led her team at Hollard Ghana to develop a communication strategy through the use of affection emojis on branded bus stop shelters. These emojis was the team’s way of communicating love and care to the many affected customers and the public.
In June, her company unveiled an innovative product called Hollard Chat Insure brought to you by a virtual insurer named ‘Araba Hollard’.
In October 2020, Cynthia led her team to pay the road tolls of over 20,000 motorists as a gesture of appreciation and care, as part of the company’s customer service week celebrations.
She also led her organisation in delivering presentations and donations to relevant institutions as well as getting on the streets if it will get the work done.
Under her leadership as Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Hollard Ghana has picked up many awards at the 2020 Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG) awards. These include, General Insurance Company of the Year, Marketing Product of the Year and Marketing Woman of the Year which was awarded to her boss. The company also picked up some awards at the Ghana Insurance Awards.
Even though Covid-19 slowed down and curtailed many organisation’s planned activities, Cynthia used a number of virtual hosting platforms to offer support and solutions to Ghanaians.
She also appeared on several virtual platforms including joining a discussion on Africa Public Relations Association (APRA) Webinar, Africa Women’s CEO & Business Conference and Women in PR Ghana also had the privilege to host her virtually during the pandemic on ‘navigating the new normal”.
Cynthia has contributed on many media platforms throughout the year including YFM’s Hollard Insurance Month and crowned the year with her appearance on TV3 morning show to share her thoughts on major headlines for the year 2020.
- Cassandra Twum Ampofo (Head of Public Relations Unit, Ghana Education Service)
We can confidently say that Cassandra Twum Ampofo developed a tough skin in 2020 to help her excellently handle the issues her organisation; the Ghana Education Service (GES) was faced with.
The GES was constantly in the news throughout the year due to issues on the implementation of a new curriculum which received a lot of backlash from parents and other stakeholders.
The Covid-19 pandemic which also led to the closure of schools also presented some hard times for the institution, however, Cassandra was prepared every step of the way to provide adequate information on every issue raised. Her resilience and tenacity through these periods deserve commendation.
She has improved GES brand visibility both online and in mainstream media through regular update of information to the public.
From organizing capacity building training and orientations of their PROs, to sensitizing and educating students and key stakeholders on BECE school selection and Placement, her PR unit uses multi-channels to reach its audience. Electronic, print, social media, face to face at the local level whiles observing Covid protocols.
With the outbreak of a global pandemic that has greatly impacted the studies school children, the GES proactively partnered with the Ghana Broadcast Corporation, on the introduction of the Ghana Learning TV a free to air channel to bridge the learning gap during the lockdown.
They also led a number of behavioral change campaign such as the #Backtoschoolforsafelearning to help students adhere to Covid-19 protocols in school.
In September 2020, Cassandra won the Communications Personality of the Year at the National Communications Awards.
- Sophia Lissah (Group Head, Communications, Jospong Group of Companies)
Sophia has been very instrumental in the fight against Covid-19 outbreak. Some of the visibly major interventions she has led on behalf of her organization include presenting a cheque of US$20,000 to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) to promote research on COVID-19, leading in nationwide disinfection of schools, market and public places, disinfecting police cells after inmates tested positive for Covid amongst several others.
Sophia Lissah also led a delegation from Zoomlion Ltd to present some items to the National Chief Imam, Dr Sheikh Usumanu Nuhu Sharabutu, towards the celebration of the 2020 Eidul Fitr.
Sophia has featured on a number of platforms including marketingworldmag, Panafricanmag and was hosted on the comms avenue platform.
- Praise Nutakor (Head of UNDP Ghana’s Communications Unit)
Praise Nutakor is the head of Communications at the United Nations Development Programme. She is very knowledgeable in her field and has a strong passion for development communication through the Sustainable Development Goals (SGD’s)
Throughout the year, she led her organisation on a number of campaigns and interventions such as the For Better Business Together Programme, Youth Impact Series, Covid-19 Intervention Challenge, Digital Transformation and Financial Inclusion, Ballots without Bullets, trainings for environmental journalists and statistics amongst several others.
Praise continues to share her knowledge and work with many young professionals who seek her assistance and guidance.
In the course of the year, she also led discussions on the ‘Power and Influence’ on Twitter and was hosted on the Communication Masterclass.
- Nana Efua Rockson (Head, Communications & Public Relations for the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration, UNESCO Category II Center)
Nana Efua is an astute Marketing and Communications Professional who has a passion for communication and success.
Until her current role with UNESCO, she was the Group Head, Corporate Affairs & Marketing for GLICO GROUP Ltd, where she was responsible for the GROUP’s Corporate Communication, Public Relations, Brand Management, Digital Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility actions, Reputation Management and Customer Services.
During the pandemic, her organization donated some essential items to the Ghana Prisons Service, Ghana Air Force amongst others.
In the course of the year, she was awarded at the Ghana Insurance Awards 2020 for her contribution to the Insurance industry in sustaining a vibrant brand GLICO while serving on various committees to create insurance awareness.
She was hosted on the Comms Avenue platform and also spoke at the 2020 edition of Women in PR Ghana virtual summit.
- Josephine Appiah Nyamekye (Afrobarometer Communications Coordinator for Anglophone West Africa CDD-Ghana
Josephine’s work straddles two institutions — The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and Afrobarometer. She leads the Communications Team for CDD-Ghana, where she oversees the development and implementation of CDD-Ghana’s communications strategies for various projects; and manage the general reputation of the Center.
Josephine is also Afrobarometer’s Communications Coordinator for Anglophone West Africa, a role where she supervises, mentor and build the capacity of communications/dissemination officers of Afrobarometer National Partners in Nigeria, Liberia, Cape Verde, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe.
Even though COVID-19 may have disrupted initial plans for 2020, it also presented an opportunity for her team to explore innovative strategies to increase policy uptake of research findings, as well as strengthen CDD-Ghana and Afrobarometer’s partnerships with stakeholders, policy actors, and potential donors at local, national, regional, and global levels. This included co-organizing the #VoicesAfrica Twitter chats and webinar series, and supporting Afrobarometer National Partners within her region to migrate all data dissemination events online.
She has been instrumental in helping CDD-Ghana and Afrobarometer feed into national and international discourse and policy discussions on COVID-19 (and other trending issues), with compelling audiovisual content and several presentations to policymakers, development partners and private sector platforms on various topics including vulnerabilities, assets and citizens’ expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, Josephine (co)authored about a dozen research papers and blogposts some of which were featured on platforms such as the Washington Post and Brookings Institution.
She spearheaded the creation of strategies aimed at increasing visibility of CDD-Ghana’s election-related activities, while deliberately projecting the Center’s intervention in other project areas as well. Before, during and after the elections,
Josephine was instrumental in leading the Communication’s Team for the Coalition of Domestic Elections Observers (CODEO) to provide information about the electoral environment, educate the public on key elections issues and provide up to date information about CODEO’s elections observation findings. Under her leadership, CODEO’s Communications Team has received a lot of praise for the strategic partnerships, compelling content and effective stakeholder engagement around the Coalition’s elections observation activities.
One of her key roles is to mentor and build the capacity of her communications colleagues at CDD-Ghana as well as Afrobarometer’s National Partners within her region.
In 2020, she extended this knowledge sharing to the Public Relations fraternity and offered courses in Data Visualization to the Level II candidates of the Institute of Public Relations program. She’s been nominated as a member of IPR’s Executive Council and the Chair of the Public Relations and Public Issue Committee.
- GEORGINA ASARE FIAGBENU (Senior Manager for Corporate Communications – MTN Ghana)
Georgina Asare Fiagbenu is an award-winning PR practitioner, blogger and columnist with a rich experience in Reputation management, Stakeholder Management and Fundraising. Her experience spans across varying industries including Telecommunications, Aviation, International Charities and PR Consulting.
As the Head of Corporate Communications for MTN, she has led in the development and implementation of strategies for managing Internal and External communications, Media relations, Community relations, Stakeholder management and Publications. Her key responsibilities also include CEO Communications, Leadership Communications and Customer Communications.
During the pandemic, her organization’s foundation distributed several PPE’s to support in the fight against Covid-19 across various health facilities in the 16 regions.
As a Blogger and Columnist she has over 200 articles to her credit and recently launched her first book titled ‘The Wish List’. She was one of our speakers at the 4th Women in PR Ghana Summit and has visibly used her position to inspire other professionals.
- Silvia Owusu- Ankomah (Corporate Relations Director, Guinness Ghana Breweries PLC)
In 2020, Guinness Ghana embarked on a massive national loyalty programme, dubbed Yεn Nyin Mbom, to honor key distributors across the country. Subsequently, the programme succeeded to engage, motivate and support the brand’s partners to deliver brand experiences that play meaningful roles in the lives of their customers and consumers.
Sylvia and the Guinness Ghana team committed to the wellbeing of their customers, by recognizing the dire impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. Following the ease of restrictions on tourist sites and open-air bars in the country, the team took steps to roll out another retail loyalty initiative dubbed ‘Rise Up’ by investing GHS 10 million to support their trade partners and customers to help them get back on their feet to promote a safe return to the bar for consumers.
Sylvia and her team also understood how consumers have been affected by COVID-19 and to help them settle and adjust to the new normal, introduced Link Up. Link Up – a National Consumer Promotion, saw a guaranteed GHS 2 million worth of airtime given away to consumers across the country for the purchase of any three (3) beverages from any of their selected portfolio of beverages. This initiative helped friends to reconnect after the lockdown.
Sylvia also led her to team to unveil Guinness Ghana’s new corporate identity with a refreshed and redesigned logo as part of activities to celebrate the brand’s 60 years of impact in Ghana.
Our goal as Women in PR Ghana is to create role models who would inspire the next generation of women in PR to reach for the top. To the above-listed women in PR, we salute your contribution to this objective and encourage many others to take inspiration.
Source: Women in PR Ghana