Emmanuel Ofosu-Appiah, senior associate at Communications and Network Consulting, talks about the Taylor Bennett Foundation‘s trainee schemes, diversity in PR and making the switch to corporate comms.
You graduated the Taylor Bennett Foundation’s trainee scheme. How did that help prepare you for working in the PR industry?
The programme was an amazing introduction to consultancy. It was also a challenging internship which gave me the opportunity to make new friends.
I participated in the corporate and financial PR trainee programme hosted by Brunswick. During our time on the scheme we were briefed on how to plan strategic campaigns (which we presented to Brunswick’s senior team), compiled daily media round-ups on news stories, wrote commentary and opinion pieces and were given the chance to visit top organisations.
You joined CNC in September 2017. Describe a typical day at the office.
Most mornings, I arrive at my desk just before 8.30am. I tend to read the main stories and business sections of the national newspapers and then check to see if there is any specific news concerning my clients. I also use this time to think and set out my day and key projects.
My day is then split into a various activities which include internal meetings, engaging with clients, speaking to journalists or writing articles, creating content briefs or updating project pipelines. Working with the media is a key part of my role, which means I try to speak to key international media and trade titles daily. This is something I really enjoy.
I also get the opportunity to support new business drives and I have worked with colleagues at every level. We all have the opportunity to contribute, no matter how many years of experience you may possess. There are also lots of chances to travel abroad which is another great perk of working here. As the saying goes, travel really does broaden the mind!
What is your opinion on diversity in the PR industry?
A diverse workforce offers a variety of viewpoints and a wealth of experience, which is proven to improve business decision-making and outcomes. Diverse companies are typically better equipped to win top talent and improve their business pipelines, too.
I am really passionate about helping people from diverse backgrounds understand that there is a place for them in communications. I am committed to playing my part to do this, which is why I joined the BAME 20/20 initiative, which has been set up to increase diversity in the industry.
What do you do outside of work? Can you tell us a bit about your social enterprise AspiNect and what it is about?
We held our first competition in December 2016 for over 150 attendees and had Lord Dr Michael Hastings, KPMG International’s global head of corporate citizenship, and entrepreneur Daniel Priestley on the panel and as guest speakers.
We are actively looking for future sponsors to help build it out and it would be great if we could host another event this year.
Finally, if you had one piece of advice for someone with a BAME background thinking about entering the industry, what would it be?
Nobody expects you to know everything about PR when you walk in the door. Every agency or team will want to train you on its own approach.
My advice would be to find out what areas of communications interest you and think about what sectors you are passionate about. I would also say it is worth seeking out opportunities to network with industry professionals and build up your CV with internships and work experience – which usually turns into longer, permanent work.