- Congratulations on your new appointment, how are you feeling about it?
Thanks so much! I’ve received a really warm welcome from the whole team and I'm excited to begin this new chapter leading the Edelman Kenya team through the next phase of growth! What makes me even more excited about this opportunity is the fact that I am working with a family-owned firm with the freedom to reinvest back into the business and its people and take calculated risks.
- What will your new role entail?
My new role entails building and supporting teams, expanding our client portfolio, and ensuring that our work is a reflection of Edelman’s global standard in the region as we purpose to expand to other African markets such as West Africa. This also means being the custodian of Edelman’s culture by putting people first and embodying our core values which include the pursuit of excellence, freedom to be curious, courage to do the right thing, and commitment to positively impact society.
I want to ensure that this business is a long-term contributor to the growth of the East Africa region, bringing global standards of excellence to our clients in Kenya, and enabling them to make a real impact here. This will be driven by Edelman’s brand promise of earning trust in communications by partnering with stakeholders to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputation.
- How and when did this come about?
I met Edelman’s Chairman for Middle East & Africa, Jordan Rittenberry, a few years back and have kept in touch with him and Portia Gibbs (Edelman Kenya’s first MD) since, even attending the launch of Edelman Kenya in 2020. With Portia’s move into a broader MEA role leading the technology sector for the region, there was an opening for a new MD and that’s how the conversation began.
- When do you take up this position?
I officially started working at Edelman in mid-November.
- What excites you most about taking on this role?
I’m really excited for the opportunity to build our brand and business in Kenya! The team has done a phenomenal job setting up and growing this office during one of the hardest seasons for business due to the pandemic. We want to leverage our local market knowledge – coupled with the firm’s global scale, operating models, and best practices – to provide further strategic counsel to our local and international clients. I’m looking forward to building from the foundation that has been set.
I’m also excited about the people and Edelman’s culture! Like I mentioned previously, I have been closely engaging with the Edelman team and have concluded that this is the right fit for my career growth.
- What do you love most about your career, the industry and what you do?
I love working with brands to tell their story in ways that connect with their audiences and working with a diverse group of incredibly talented individuals to solve communication challenges. Awareness for the importance of effective communication is growing by the day and with it, opportunities to tell new stories. Larger corporates have been engaging in this already, but now more than ever, even small and growing businesses are seeing the benefits.
- What are your biggest career highlights?
Besides taking on this role, I would say leading incredible campaigns for Coca-Cola and Visa and other brands in the past – and winning some awards for that work e.g., Best Overall PR Campaign of the Year for mVisa launch – as well as getting the opportunity to build the communications department at Open Capital Advisors from scratch.
- Can you comment on the impact of Covid-19 on public relations in Kenya?
This global crisis will fundamentally change how we think, behave, and consume going forward. There is no rapid return to normal. The new world for public relations in Kenya must have trust at its core in order to drive transparent and effective communications that will enable brands to solve problems for all, protect all, care for all, collaborate with all, and innovate in the public interest.
Following this global crisis, the public will want brands to step up, keep them safe, guide them and help them. Brands that act in the interest of their employees, stakeholders and society at large will reinforce their expertise, leadership and trust and immeasurably strengthen the bond they have with consumers.
This is a moment when brands can prove that they put people, not profits, first. The role of communications is mandated to respond with compassion and make a difference; this is the true test for purpose-driven leaders and organisations. The people are counting on us to deliver.
- What approach will you take in your role as MD going forward?
I hope to have Edelman entrenched in every area of our industry, positively impacting the students in our field, the careers of our staff, the work of our clients, and the community as a whole. The goal is to build our team and expand our work so that we can have a bigger impact in the communications space in Kenya. Furthermore, as a global firm with decades of experience and learnings across sectors and practices, there is so much we can share to advance the communications space on the continent.
- Can we see any bold moves being made by Edelman Kenya in the near future?
Most definitely. At the top of our expansion strategy is to ensure long-term partnerships within the local market which will allow Edelman Kenya to connect with clients, thus letting us entrench ourselves in the region as a valued local partner.