TCA Rwanda Hangout: Nurturing Professionals Through Shared Experiences

In line with our goal to build deeper connections with our community members within and outside the African continent, TCA hosted its first hangout in Kigali, Rwanda, popularly known as the land of a thousand hills. Can we just talk about what a beautiful city Kigali is? It was a breath of fresh air for us.

Beyond the beauty of the city, what truly struck a chord in us was the kindness and hospitality of the people. We felt this so strongly as professionals gathered together at Norrsken House Kigali for our hangout on Friday 23rd February.

This being our first hangout in Rwanda, it was important for us to establish a stronger connection with our community members and other professionals who joined us. This hangout was put together with the goal of supporting the professionals who would attend by providing them with a safe space where they could network with other like-minded professionals, gain clarity and receive practical solutions to challenges they may be facing in their careers.

Following our culture at TCA, the event started with introductions and an opportunity to break the ice. From learning more about how the professionals began their career journeys in Communications and Public Relations, we moved to the insightful panel conversation which featured Linda Karungi, Nicolas Emane, and Fiona Kamikazi Rutagengwa as speakers.

Moderated by Tabvi Motsi, the panel conversation revolved around the value of Communications, inclusivity in the industry, data-driven strategies, and the peculiar challenges that come with working in Communications within Rwanda. From tips on how to stand out as professionals to lessons they’ve picked up along their career paths, there was a lot to take away from our speakers.

Passionately speaking about the challenges she has faced on her career journey, Linda Karungi, Regional Communications Manager at WaterAid East Africa, spotlighted the need for Communications teams to be inclusive and for women to step up to the challenge when given the opportunities.

She expressed relief at the growing number of women in the industry and a desire to see more women on the frontline in the Communications industry in Rwanda.

For Nicolas Emane, Partner, Program Communications, MasterCard Foundation, three key aspects that all professionals must pay attention to are: “the workspace, the communication tools and the audience”.

Expounding on this, he mentioned that your workspace would most definitely affect your work and your deliverables while sharing a funny anecdote about a supervisor who would insist on seeing billboards in Kigali when the target audience was in an entirely different city.

In addition, Nicolas proposed that professionals make an effort to get people to understand the science behind their actions and their strategies. He emphasised the need to keep track and constantly learn how communication tools work as well as how best to use them to reach your audience.

For her final words to the attendees, Fiona Kamikazi, Head of Marketing and Communications at I&M Bank Rwanda, urged the professionals to be there at the beginning of the strategy creation process. In her words, “If the strategy is there for you to implement, of course, they will not think about you! You have to be in every room where strategy and decisions are being made. This way, you can speak to these decisions and take on your advisory role”.

Aside from the insights learnt, we also got to learn more about the Rwanda Communications Network, a platform for Communications professionals in Rwanda to build valuable connections and access unique opportunities.

The hangout ended with remarks from Abraham Augustine, Communications & Programs Lead, Norrsken, who expressed pleasure at being present at such an impactful gathering of professionals practising Communications and he further stated that he was looking forward to similar events in Kigali.

While speaking to attendees after the event, it was clear that one highlight for many of them was coming to see that their experiences and challenges were not unique. Discovering that others had been through what they were going through in their professional journeys brought some comfort. Indeed, it was quite reassuring to see the content smiles of the professionals as the hangout came to an end.

We’re grateful for our speakers and everyone who attended our hangout in Kigali.


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