Seynabou Dia Sall, our Comms Spotlight for this week, has had a phenomenal career so far. After working at the Senegalese General Consulate in Paris and the UNESCO, she went on to start her agency with the key goal of amplifying African voices. In our interview with her, Seynabou shares her unique standpoint about cross-continent collaboration as well as some challenges she’s faced operating her consulting agency internationally.
Tell us about what you do as Founder and CEO at Global Mind Consulting.
First, allow me to tell you more about Global Mind Consulting (GMC) which is an agency specialised in strategies and Public Relations. GMC aims to support individuals and organisations in their positioning strategy, the definition of their messages and their image empowerment.
Our objective is to amplify the resonance and impact of their actions. With our 12 years expertise on the continent, we have been operating from two hubs: Central Africa (Gabon) and West Africa (Senegal).
The scope of my work spans diverse major points ranging from trainings, team account & management, public talks. Moreover, the subjects I work on are so diverse and wide-ranging that I don’t have time to get bored. We’re constantly learning, re-learning, and mastering the subjects our customers deal with, because you can’t effectively support someone in their communications and Public Relations if you don’t understand their ecosystem, their business, and their challenges.
On top of that, I’m lucky enough to have an extraordinary team of men and women, hyper-dynamic, which I’m enormously proud of.
How did you begin your career in Communications and what steps did you take to grow as a professional?
I first worked at the Senegalese General Consulate in Paris, then at UNESCO. After these experiences I started out as a consultant to support African players who needed to manage their Public Relations, particularly when their activities moved to the West.
From such experiences and discoveries, I felt that African countries should shape their own stories and voice up the shining future of the continent. From this insight, I decided to set up my Consulting Agency in 2013 in Gabon first and expanded to Senegal in 2019. These are our hubs as our clients are located worldwide. Our motto, ‘Change the narrative’ is a sharp statement that stands as the blueprint in our DNA.
From your experience, what are some of the ways Communications practice has changed over the years in Senegal?
In many markets, particularly in French-speaking African countries, Communications used to boil down to advertising, media networks and information management. The rapid transformation of the media ecosystem has brought with it equally rapid societal changes.
The multiplication of the number of media outlets, the one-upmanship and the frantic search for scoops, combined with the explosion of social networks, have exponentially accelerated media time and offered anyone the means to give their opinion all the time, on everything, and to share it with as many people as possible. Leaders in both the private and public sectors now understand the importance of looking after their image and reputation.
Image Management and Public Relations are now essential. Everything needs to be anticipated, monitored and analysed in real-time. Staying mute is impossible. Failure in communication is also not an option. The challenge is to know what to say, how and when to say it. GMC responds perfectly to this need, with the advantage of in-depth knowledge of the African ecosystem.
Nevertheless, professionalising the sector’s players remains a major challenge. That’s why we organise numerous public conferences and training courses for managers. With the configuration of the global geopolitical context and the opportunities on the continent, we feel the need to step up the pace. I’m a woman in a hurry.
How do you think professionals from Francophone and Anglophone Africa can work together for increased impact within the continent?
It’s true that there’s still a gap between francophone and anglophone professionals, but I’m deeply optimistic. Anglophone markets are more mature. The creation of a synergy between our different ecosystems and markets would significantly increase our impact on the harmonious development of the continent.
This synergy can be created around cross-border projects, by sharing complementary expertise and creating communication and support networks. All with a view to fostering the exchange of ideas and best practices.
The challenge of such an initiative is to have a multilingual approach and a deep intercultural understanding to ensure fruitful collaboration. This is the only way to avoid virtual prejudices and cultural barriers. With the ZLECAF zone, opportunities are wide open.
Can you share a major challenge you’ve faced along your career journey and how you overcame it?
So many challenges come repeatedly to my mind. An event organised in Rwanda by our two hubs for a major world-leading company. Could you imagine? Organising an event in a country far from our hubs. The challenges were outstanding and the outcomes were amazing!
Since that event in Rwanda, cases are still repeating. Two months ago, we customised and implemented an event in Dubai for an African leading company. We overcome such challenges only by focusing on our value, convictions and alignment with worldwide standards.
What advice would you give to growing professionals who want to follow your path?
Keep up to date with the latest trends and developments in your field by attending training courses, webinars and reading relevant articles. Work passionately.