The Comms Spotlight: Stacey Baluske, Founder & Lead Consultant, Tide Media Consultancy

Stacey Baluske started her career as a Journalist but within the last two decades, she’s transitioned to a career in Communications and has also taken the brave step to launch her own PR Agency. Stacey now practises Communications as the Founder and Lead Consultant at Tide Media Consultancy, a PR Agency in Zambia. In her interview with us, she highlights the importance of collaboration among professionals in the industry and shares how it has helped her on her journey to build a sustainable and successful PR Agency.


How did you begin your career in Communications?

I started my Communications career about 18 years ago as a journalist working at the news desk for a state-owned newspaper called The Times of Zambia, after which I dabbled a bit more at another state-owned paper called the Zambia Daily Mail.

Then, at about 2008/2009, I joined An advertising agency and started off as an Account Executive which was equivalent to a Marketing Officer. At that time the agency didn’t have any Public Relations personnel.

Suddenly we were getting a lot of enquiries about Media Relations and Events Management. My boss then decided to set up a Public Relations department Of which I became the PR Manager with one assistant. It really spiraled from there because we had quite a number of enquiries and we got retainers from there. After about four years of setting up the department we had to split the agency and the PR department became a single entity of its own and I was the General Manager.

After working there for a couple of years I decided to go into full-time consultancy and so in 2019 I formally left my job and became a Consultant.

What do you do as Tide Media Consultancy’s Founder & Lead Consultant?

As the Founder and Lead Consultant, my main role, of course, is business development and getting the clients into the business for our range of services, including major relations building, communication strategies, digital marketing, influencer marketing, crisis communications, media audits, etc. 

My key role is to grow the business and then manage the business including the human resources so we have a pool of Consultants in graphic design content and digital marketing, media relations as well as influencer marketing services clients in Zambia, Namibia, Ghana and South Africa. 

We have been privileged enough in the four years we’ve been in existence to work with many other PR and Marketing agencies as well as build affiliations with global Communications agencies that extend our scope of service and client profile.

Tide Media received award for the Best PR Firm by the Zambia Institute of Public Relations for 2022 and 2023.

Can you provide examples of resources or learning opportunities that you found particularly beneficial for your career development?

I would say tapping into available trainings every year. We make sure that we scout what kind of training or events are being conducted by organisations within our local network such as The Zambia Institute of Public Relations, Africa Communications Week, Global Alliance for Public Relations.

Also, we always strive to ensure that we are part of the developmental programmes organised by our collaborative partners. From webinars to active physical trainings to build our skill sets, we plug in to learn from them and support them where we can. I personally learn a lot from other PR gurus in the Southern African region through LinkedIn and I take an interest in understanding what kind of resources they’re using.

So I wouldn’t really pinpoint to one resource  I’d like to say pretty much everything we can get our hands on that’s credibly relevant to who we want to be as we grow.

Stacey is also a Comms Trainer. She recently gave a Masterclass at the Zambia Institute of Marketing Conference on Innovation and Disruption in an evolving landscape.

In your 18 years of experience, what changes have you observed in the Communications landscape in Zambia?

Within the past 18 years observed in the Communications landscape in Zambia, I have definitely observed some big changes.

One worthy of note is that the PR association in Zambia became a recognized act of parliament and now operates as a recognised professional body. This change has necessitated the effective rollout of raising standards of the practice of PR with practitioners now obtaining practising licences as well as the development of a regulatory framework to ensure that all practitioners benefit from continuous growth opportunities in an effort to keep the profession at par with international standards and practices.

We have since seen more participation from various organisations as well as more value placed on PR agencies like ourselves in our work and tenders relating to PR are presented.

Can you share any valuable lessons you’ve learned on your career journey that you wish you had known earlier?

The biggest lesson, I would say I have learned is embracing collaboration as opposed  to competition. Given my background of work in the agency space, always keeping an eye out as regards what the competition is doing has always has been a big priority but the truth is in this space we operate in the world of globalisation.

Collaboration is the key for any business to grow and succeed. We no longer have to see people in the same industry as just competitors but we should look at the numerous opportunities present within our industries and identify how can we collaborate. Our agency as an example has only been in existence for the past four years but we have achieved immense growth because we’ve had to work with so many people and collaborating agencies.

Someone needs to ask the questions, “Who does x or y and how can we collaborate with them and make this a mutually beneficial agreement?”

In our client stakeholder engagements, we have forged amazing partnerships to solve business problems and soar forward, through effective collaboration. so definitely, I am very passionate about collaboration

Tide Media Team.

If your career was a book/ song/ movie, what would it be named and why?

Quite frankly, it would be something around conquering or overcoming challenges and rising to the challenge. I do believe that human beings are constantly evolving and as communicators we need to evolve if we’re going to create and build narratives that resonate with the human race. So Tide team members are always arising and challenges have to be overcome.

I believe whatever book or movie would be around that theme because it’s a key ideal that we thrive on that helped build our business and that I personally subscribe to. A major part of it would involve conquering heroes, learning new languages, learning how people live, learning their behaviour for us to reach them and maybe a little drama would be added to the mix. It’s a story you would want to read in go, I assure you!


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