Khadra Abdirahman, a Communications Specialist at the Ministry of Health in Somalia, is our Comms Spotlight for this week. In this interview, she walks us through her career journey in Communications, her major highlights and the steps she has taken to grow professionally. Khadra also gives us a glimpse into her work in her current role, and offers great advice which we know you’d find useful.
What do you do as the Communications Specialist at the Ministry of Health, Somalia?
I work as a Communication Specialist for a Health flagship project funded by the World Bank and implemented by the Ministry of Health Somalia dubbed Damal Caafimaad. I handle all aspects of internal and external communication needs for the project ranging from social media, success articles, and press releases. I create, nurture, and facilitate great relationships between the program actors and its audiences through various communications mechanics and channels.
How did you begin your career journey in Communications and what deliberate steps have you taken to grow professionally?
I was first introduced to the world of Journalism by watching the news on TV during a primetime news segment. Fascinated by their demeanor, I knew right there what I wanted to be but life has its own way of aligning your purpose. From debating competition in primary school to public speaking in high school to finally becoming a Professional Communicator.
I have always adopted the attitude of learning in all facets of my life but more specifically in Communications as it’s a dynamic profession and the need to be flexible with the changes in the mediums or what is popular at the moment.
What do you love the most about working in Communications?
The stories I tell through the eyes of program beneficiaries. Humanitarian work is easily the most rewarding type of work as a Communications professional that I’ve ventured into. Showcasing the resilience of those affected by climate shocks and conflict and their ability to still have a positive outlook in life.
What will you say has been a major highlight of your career journey?
The proudest moments in my career so far are when someone comes up to me after a speech and says I’ve inspired them or when a team member says I’ve inspired them in some way. To me, the art of communication isn’t about being a good writer or savvy marketer, it’s about being a motivating force for those around you to improve, follow the path you’ve created, and ultimately find their success.
Can you share one significant career advice or tip you’ve ever received from a mentor or peer?
Someone I consider a mentor and friend told me to show up as myself and not be apologetic or minimize myself to conform. You have something worth contributing and if there isn’t a seat at the table bring one.
What advice would you give to your younger professional self?
It’s more of an affirmation rather than a piece of advice…” Trust in God and your abilities, what is yours will never pass you.”