Kwame Senyega is the Hub Manager at GADeF International.
After seven weeks of intensive career guidance and training, the Sixth Batch of the Comms Mentorship Programme (CMP) came to an end. The CMP, a mentorship platform by The Comms Avenue to provide career mentorship in Communications, draws senior communication professionals across Africa to provide seven-week guidance and support to junior professionals to enable them to reach heights in their professional pursuits. Participating in the CMP has left a permanent impression on me and my career as a budding communications professional.
Before the program, my role as a communications assistant with a team from non-communication backgrounds was quite frustrating. I was also at crossroads, ascertaining which particular direction I wanted to drive my career considering the numerous areas within the communications field, my other career interests, and the need to gain financial freedom.
Having a career guide to help me broaden my scope on all the many Communication areas I could work in and learning from the experiences of so many diverse senior professionals that CMP offers was exactly what I needed for my career. Those were my exact motivation for applying immediately to join the program when I chanced on the opportunity in a LinkedIn post by a senior communications professional. Three major goals were set going into the program: to learn how to sustain drive as a junior communications professional, to build my confidence, and to navigate my career journey.
I was paired with a mentor I grew up watching and admiring on television, Kobi Hemaa Osisiadan-Beke who is currently the Director of Corporate Affairs and Media Relations at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT. She possesses broad experience in Mass Media, Marketing Communications, and Corporate Communications. We set out to achieve my goals and developed them into achievable plans. We had regular meetings where we discussed her career journey, my aspirations, and the steps I needed to take to get there. We broke down my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and how I can leverage them to become the best version of myself professionally.
My highlight of these sessions was at one point when my mentor quizzed me as she addressed my goals. “How do you know you don’t know how to do things when you haven’t tried doing them before? How do you know you don’t know how to speak when you have never held the microphone to speak?” These words challenged me to take up space and address my fears immediately. Getting to the latter part of the program, other mentees shared incredible stories about how their mentors had guided them on their work projects, job searches, portfolio building, and many other endeavours.
The journey towards professional growth is arduous without mentorship. Despite the importance of other qualities such as hard work and dedication, guidance from mentors who have traversed similar journeys is necessary to keep you on track. Each week, the CMP team held workshops that were facilitated by experienced senior professionals on carefully selected topics. The topics treated ranged from guiding mentees on how to draw up and refine career goals and plans, through how to craft effective communications strategies, to how to build a brand as a value-adding communications professional. We were also encouraged by career stories of some mentors who graciously shared their ex as well as interactions with mentees from previous batches.
A Lifetime Professional Foundation
One of the valuable gifts I have gained from this program is the network I have built with industry colleagues, both senior and junior, from across Africa. The platform provides the great camaraderie that is needed for professionals to thrive beyond borders. Thanks to CMP, my enthusiasm is rekindled and I have also gained clarity. This is a career-defining moment, as the immense lessons will forever shape and guide the careers of young communications professionals across the continent who take part in it. With my fears demystified, I am now more confident and prepared to take on more challenges.