When our Comms Spotlight for the week, Dorcas Aba Annan (Mrs Cobbinah), started her career journey, she had a goal to become a Global Communications/PR professional. Today, she is the Managing Director & Global Chief Operating Officer (COOO) at Abjel Communications. With over 11 years of professional experience, Dorcas’ passion for the work she does has contributed to her being a result-oriented Communications professional. In our interview with her, she takes us through her career journey so far and shares some useful tips for younger professionals to learn from.
How did your career in Communications begin?
My career in communications started in 2012 with storytelling and proposal writing for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO). With my strong passion for helping the less privileged in society, I developed keen interests in writing success stories, project support proposals and creating opportunities to showcase the works of NGOs to possible donors/funders.
After gaining in-depth skills in writing, I worked as a journalist for 3 years before venturing into being a full-time communications/PR practitioner. I have worked with institutions like West Africa AIDS Foundation (WAAF) as the Communications & PR Manager, StarTimes Ghana as Creative & Media Planning Executive, Stratcomm Africa (a Communications agency) as Communications Consultant, Languages Unlimited (a US-based firm) as a Research & Proposal Writer, Pinnacle College as an Adjunct Lecturer in English, Journalism & Media studies and currently with Abjel Communications as the Managing Director for Ghana and Global COO.
As the Managing Director, Ghana & Global Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Abjel Communications, what is a typical day at work like?
I usually plan my next schedule at the end of each working day. With this, my typical working day is usually a straightforward thing for me with the checking of emails as my first activity.
As the MD for Ghana, I coordinate with the team to track assigned duties and deliverables, develop strategic ideas for clients and attend meetings. As the Global COO, I work with the team members in other countries virtually to track their deliverables and provide support when required.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced on your career journey and how did you overcome it?
I have had lots of challenges but this was the most difficult. I worked with an institution that had no Communications/PR department since its inception. Conversations during the interview gave me an assurance that even though this is a new department, I would have the support of everyone to make it a success. It was challenging for me because they were doing extremely well but they weren’t appreciating the existence of that department. The most difficult part of my work was that all the proposals, plans and policies developed were saved on computers without attention.
With my 6 years of experience before taking up the role, I never gave up. I developed a plan to engage the Board, Management and staff to fully understand Comms work and its contribution to the organisational goal. I conducted several meetings (groups & one-on-one), trained some spokespersons, presented the various plans and had their inputs well presented. I used almost 3 months for this work but it was worth it because it made my work easy and successfully achieved all tasks in my 3 years of work with them.
Who are the Communications professionals that have helped you or inspired you on your career journey?
Adisa Amanor-Wilks, the Director of Abjel Communications. With her several years of experience, she has guided and supported me in my career journey.
Can you share some of the key lessons you have gained from your professional journey so far?
The following are three key lessons gained during my professional journey:
– Build your personal brand (Image is everything in PR).
– Be professional (in your deliverables, conversations via email/in-person with clients, meetings, etc.).
– Be versatile (as far as you area Comms/PR practitioner, dare to carry a bag mixed with multiple result-oriented solutions).
– Build your capacity frequently (engage in virtual/in-person lessons to gain further skills required).
If you could advise your younger professional self, what would you say?
I always say this and would repeat that young professionals should have a clear career goal coupled with a plan to achieve it. This is my ultimate advice because I had mine (to become a Global Communications/PR professional) and would be proud to say that I have achieved it.