Our Comms Spotlight for this week is Farah El Labbad. While she began her career as an intern, she has now been in the industry for 10 years. Farah is the PR, CSR & Sustainability Team Leader at Juhayna Food Industries. She’s proof that humble beginnings can lead to amazing success stories.
Tell us how you began your career in Communications and what steps you took to grow as a professional.
I began my career in Communications as an intern at a nationally recognized publication here in Egypt while I was still attending university. During my internship, I gained valuable experience in content creation, feature interviews and copywriting, which would prove extremely valuable to my career choice later on. After completing my degree, I joined a social media agency as a full time employee which exposed me to diverse clients and industries, broadened my understanding of digital media and helped me collaborate with other marketing disciplines.
I later took on several full time jobs as a communications officer, project-based Social Media Manager and Client Media Relations Assistant Manager at a reputable international PR agency. To grow as a professional, I also pursued my education and gained a certificate in Growth Marketing. Last but not least, I always made sure to network and build relationships with other professionals in the field, which helped me to learn from their experiences and gain new insights.
What do you do as the PR, CSV & Sustainability Team Leader at Juhayna Food Industries?
As the PR, CSR & Sustainability Team Leader at Juhayna Food Industries, I am responsible for overseeing the company’s communications strategy, managing media relations, and ensuring that the company’s corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives are aligned with its values and mission. This involves collaborating with various departments within the company, as well as external partners and stakeholders, to develop and execute effective communications campaigns and initiatives. I also work closely with top management to ensure that our communications efforts are aligned with the company’s overall business objectives and priorities.
Can you tell us about a major challenge you faced in your career and how you pushed through it?
One major challenge I faced in my career was managing a crisis situation for a client that received negative publicity. The situation was very sensitive and required a high level of strategic thinking and collaboration with different stakeholders. To push through it, I had to remain calm under pressure and work closely with my team and the client to develop a crisis management plan that addressed the situation effectively. We also had to proactively communicate with the media and other stakeholders to ensure that accurate information was being shared and that the situation was being managed as effectively as possible.
What do you love the most about working in Communications?
What I love the most about working in Communications is the opportunity to be creative and strategic in developing campaigns and initiatives that can have a real impact on people’s lives. I also enjoy the fast-paced and dynamic nature of the field, which requires you to be adaptable and constantly learning.
What changes would you like to see in PR and Communications Practice across Egypt?
One change I would like to see in PR and Communications Practice across Egypt is more emphasis on transparency and authenticity in communications. I believe that companies and organizations should be more open and honest in their communications with stakeholders, and should prioritize building trust and credibility. This can be achieved by being more transparent in sharing information and engaging in two-way communication with stakeholders, as well as by adopting more ethical and sustainable practices.
What advice would you give your younger professional self?
The advice I would give my younger professional self is to be more patient and to focus on building relationships and skills over time. When you first enter the workforce, it can be easy to get caught up in the desire to achieve quick success and make a name for yourself. However, I have learned that it takes time and dedication to build a successful career in Communications. It is important to focus on building relationships with colleagues and mentors, as well as to continuously develop your skills and knowledge in the field.