On The Comms Spotlight today, we have Fanny Nana Ampon, an experienced Journalist/Writer and Development Communications professional with over 12 years’ working experience in Public and Media Relations and Journalism (both print and broadcast), with rich experience gained in the Public Sector, Not-for-profit Organizations as well as multi-national organizations and the development sector. Currently with Solidaridad West Africa as its Communications Manager in Ghana, Fanny is responsible for all communication operations in Ghana and leads in the planning, design and implementation of internal and external communications on all country projects, programmes and activities.
Do enjoy our interview with her.
Can you tell us about what you do as a Communications Manager for Solidaridad West Africa?
I am responsible for all communication operations of Solidaridad West Africa in Ghana. I lead in the planning, design and implementation of internal and external communications on all country projects, programmes and activities. What gives me the greatest joy in my work is seeing the results/impact of our interventions in the life of a project beneficiary.
Take us back to how you began your career. What steps did you take?
As someone who loves reading and writing and has always warmed up to the idea of being a journalist from my secondary school days, I pursued English and Linguistics for my first degree at the University of Ghana and was part of a number of editorial boards while on campus. It was therefore not surprising when I had an opportunity to have an internship with Ghana’s flagship media company, the Graphic Communications group Limited and subsequently had my National Service there.
I also had a stint at the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) as a Communications Officer for a year and when an opportunity to join the state broadcaster, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), I took it. At GBC, where I worked for eight years, I reported extensively on the environment stemming from her experience with the Ghana Wildlife Society, notable among it being news features on World Wetlands day for airing on National television and publication in the Daily graphic, on the need to help preserve wetlands, Sustainable Development Goals as a member of the United Nations Development Program, UNDP-Ghana press corps. I was a key reporter for the 2012 landmark election petition; as a court/crime reporter. My creative writing prowess was rewarded with the coveted Ghana Journalists Association Award for Best Report in Human Rights in 2013.
Prior to joining Solidaridad, I have also worked with the USAID Sustainable Fisheries Management Project as its Communications and Media Relations Officer. I have also worked as a consultant for a number of organisations such as Mondelez International Cocoa Life in Ghana, Farmers Organisational Network of Ghana, the Chartered Institute of Taxation Ghana while with the state broadcaster.
All these helped hone my skills in the communications profession. As a consultant, I developed and implemented media visibility plans, photography and video production and Rapporteur services and facilitated media coverage/engagement for my clients. I also reviewed documents and developed news articles and success stories out of them for publication in the dailies on behalf of the client.
I currently work with Solidaridad West Africa as its Communications Manager in Ghana, where I lead in the use of a wide range of communication tools and channels and lead an initiative to strategically engage more with stakeholders through traditional, social and digital media.
What are some of the key lessons you have learnt from your professional journey so far?
Every little step you take in your journey ultimately leads you or becomes helpful in preparing you for your next level. So I have learnt never to take any stage of my journey or the relationships I foster along the way to becoming for granted. I have also learned to celebrate every win — the little and the big wins. To own my mistakes and my losses along my journey, learn from them and move on.
You have some experience in the development sector. What are some tips you can share with comms professionals who want to work in this sector?
The more you learn, the more you learn that there is always more to learn. So don’t stop giving and receiving knowledge from colleagues and other partners. Sometimes you have to learn, unlearn and re-learn certain things/ideas in order to grow. All these help to sharpen your skills and mould you into becoming a better person. Be open to them all.
Working with a daily plan/schedule helps to keep you in focus.
Be abreast of the digital landscape and current trends in the profession to stay up to date.
Have a network of other professionals in the field to exchange ideas with.
Looking back at your career so far, what are some of the things you’d do differently?
I must say every little piece of the puzzle/mosaic my career journey have all helped in shaping me into the fine comms professional I am becoming. If there is one thing I wish I had learned earlier than I did, it is enhancing/placing premium value on developing my soft skills as I did my hard skills as a leader. I am glad I am on that path now.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Human relations/networking is a rich currency you should never take for granted. It will take you places your academic qualification or talent wouldn’t. To take better care of myself, mentally emotionally, and be selfish/unapologetic about who I allow into my space and to be deliberate about my goals, while passionately and unapologetically pursuing them.