Omotoyosi Ajayi: From Mentee to Mentor, The value of Mentorship for African Comms Professionals

Omotoyosi Ajayi is the Lead Consultant, Stage Africa Media and Advisory.


The value of mentorship for Communication professionals in Africa cannot be overstated. As professionals, we are very likely to experience a brick wall at a stage in our careers. It could be at the beginning, and it could also be on the way to senior management.

We might struggle with stakeholder engagement, choosing our specialisation as opposed to being a generalist, or maybe even battling with communicating results for Public Relations and Strategic Communications efforts. And this is where mentorship also comes into play.

When it comes to the style of communication and demonstrating impact and value, I feel that having mentors can also provide a lot of clarity that many peer professionals seek. Mentors serve as guides to their mentees and as guides for their career paths. They help them to strengthen their skill sets, define their personal and professional goals, and build confidence by sharing their own experiences as well, both the good and the bad.

Accessing a mentor should happen at some point in the peer professional’s career because it’s a very beneficial program to enhance growth and to generally expose a professional to greater heights and the opportunity to do more awesome work.

I was privileged to hear about The Comms Avenue during the pandemic, in April 2020. Adedoyin put out a call on LinkedIn and what she had envisaged at that time was a brunch for Communications professionals, but because of COVID, we had to take it to Telegram.

Before that time, I had been yearning desperately for a community, for a community of Marketing, and Communications professionals to bounce ideas off with and to do great work together.

So when I saw Adedoyin’s post on LinkedIn, it was an answer to prayer for me and I immediately joined. I remember when I joined the Telegram community, I was among the founding members and I’m excited to even say that. We were about five people then but now we’ve grown to over 1500.

And immediately we found ourselves in that community we all started working together. We started having webinars, and enlightening conversations and I was elated to be in that type of community because I knew what was coming ahead. It was as we proceeded in the community that the Comms Mentoring Programme was launched.

Immediately the announcement for the first batch of the Comms Mentoring Programme was made, I applied because I already knew I needed it at that point in my life.

At that time, I was a Brand Manager at a Luxury Concierge and their operations also came to a halt, because of COVID so we were all at home wondering about the next step.

I had a lot of questions back then. The uncertainty of that time led me to ask myself the next best step to take. I also wondered what skills I needed and how I would move forward in my career. I had done a lot in Marketing but also wanted to do a lot in PR and Communications.

So I had a lot of questions that I needed answers to and so that mentoring programme was ideal for me. I applied immediately putting my best foot forward to say, “I really need a mentor who can hand-hold me, who can help me understand the next steps to take at such a critical period when the world was grappling with confusion.”

I was opportune to be accepted into the mentoring programme and I was paired with Obabiyi Fagade, who is now the Country Manager, at Heineken Tanzania. We had a lot of virtual meetings and I was really excited for the opportunity to be paired with such a mentor. He came with a lot of experience to the table.

I was able to explain where I was in terms of the work I had done in the past and the possible steps that I felt I needed to take. And because I told him that I also wanted to do great working Comms and PR, he made me understand that for me to get the kind of skills, experience and exposure that I want, I would need to work with a PR agency in Nigeria.

He recommended Black House Media to me and asked me to send in my application and make a case for myself on why I should be allowed to work with them. I put my application together and sent it in and the rest, they say, is history.

Black House Media was that workplace that I did not know that I needed. I was exposed to a lot of excellent work and I had the opportunity to work on campaigns with global brands. I began to understand the realm of Public Relations more extensively. My time there helped me develop my confidence and competence to take a step towards global Communications and being a consultant at large. And honestly, if I didn’t have that mentorship experience, I wouldn’t have heard about Black House Media at the time. I probably wouldn’t have known that it was important for me to have agency experience on my career path.

Having a mentor to direct me and highlight skills that I needed to work on and what I needed to focus on was a defining moment for me in my career. Years later, I still keep in touch with my mentor and that’s why I greatly appreciate what The Comms Avenue is doing.

Whatever stage you are in your career, whatever industry that you find yourself specifically for Communications experts in Africa, I believe that there’s a next level for you in terms of knowledge. There’s a next level for you in terms of growth and it’s just really important to be with a community of like-minded professionals who can expose you to resources and opportunities, who can hold your hand you so that you don’t do this journey alone. So that even gets you to the top faster.

Mentorship is extremely important. It should be a part of every professional’s growth strategy. And I’m particularly grateful to the comms avenue for the consistency, for the excellence and for the sacrifice that they’ve made over the years to ensure that the community keeps growing and thriving.

We have resources, the partnerships, the senior professionals and the handholding for the upcoming professionals. Growth really begins with CCA. I’m also excited that while I was a mentee, in The Comms Mentoring Programme, some four years ago, I’m now back as a mentor. I still look forward to higher levels of mentorship to doing more amazing work together.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *