The Comms Spotlight: Veronica Abuede, Executive Secretary, African Public Relations Association (APRA)

Before she began her career in Public Relations, our Comms Spotlight for this week initially held misconceptions about the field. Today, she contributes in no small way to making an impact in the Public Relations profession as a whole. Veronica Abuede is the Executive Secretary at the African Public Relations Association (APRA), the organising body for one of the largest gatherings of African Public Relations and Communications professionals within the Continent. In this interview, she shares insights on what planning an international conference like the APRA conference entails.


Can you tell us how you began your career in Communications?

My career journey in PR and Communications began unexpectedly. Initially, I held misconceptions about the field, thinking it was solely about distributing “brown envelopes”.

Then I experienced a transformative moment when I joined the APRA Secretariat, where I discovered my passion for communication. Prior to that, I held administrative roles in architectural, engineering, and real estate firms, unaware of the true scope of PR. Once I embraced the field, I redirected my path and never looked back.

What do you do as the Executive Secretary at African Public Relations Association (APRA)?

As the Executive Secretary and Coordinator of APRA, I’m often the behind-the-scenes conductor who keeps everything running smoothly. My days are always packed, but I love the challenge that comes with the job.

I remember the last APRA conference in Lusaka, Zambia, like it was yesterday. Our President asked me to pull together a video that captured the essence of our ‘Creative Africa’ theme, and I had to move fast! This video was to be played right before he gave his Welcome Remarks at the conference.

With just a few hours to spare, I managed to gather an amazing team of speakers from all over Africa and even Ireland, and our videography team worked their magic to produce an incredible video in under 24 hours. It was a crazy challenge, but we made it happen through some serious hustle and great communication.

That’s what my role is all about – solving problems, thinking on my feet, and making sure our association runs like a well-oiled machine. And I love every minute of it!

So, from coordinating logistics to managing finances, and from chatting with members to building an awesome team, every part of my job is about creating a supportive community where our association can thrive. And with the 35th APRA annual conference just around the corner, I can’t wait to see everything come together and make a real difference in the lives of our delegates and the Public Relations profession as a whole.

What is it like putting together an International conference like the African Public Relations Association Conference?

Hosting an APRA conference is like going on a thrilling adventure – you never know what amazing experiences await you! Since 2016, we’ve had the privilege of hosting our annual conference in seven incredible countries – Nigeria, Morocco, Botswana, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, and this year, Cote d’Ivoire.

Each destination has been a unique cultural immersion experience, full of surprises and delights! From the vibrant streets of Lagos to the ancient medinas of Casablanca, from the majestic savannas of Gaborone to the resilient hills of Kigali, each location has taught us to be flexible, adaptable, and open-minded.

But what really sets the tone for our adventure is the theme of the conference. Last year’s theme, ‘Creative Africa’, took us on a journey of self-discovery and innovation, and we even partnered with Zambia Fashion Week to stage our first-ever Fashion Show on an APRA platform!

This year’s theme, ‘One Africa, One Voice: Bridging Africa’s Communication Divide’, is all about unity and connection. We’re excited to use the APRA platform to form a strong communication and bond between Anglophone and Francophone Africa.

As we plan the conference, the theme guides our every move. We’re thinking about how to bring people together, how to facilitate meaningful conversations, and how to create a sense of community that transcends language and cultural barriers. It’s a lofty goal, but we’re up for the challenge!

So, if you’re thinking of hosting an international conference, buckle up for a thrilling adventure! Embrace the complexities, and remember that the outcome is well worth the effort. And don’t forget to pack your sense of humor, flexibility, and a healthy dose of curiosity!

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced on your career journey and how did you overcome it?

I approach challenges with a growth mindset, breaking down complex tasks into manageable parts and staying focused. This perspective has helped me tackle various obstacles throughout my career.

By embracing challenges and learning from failures, I’ve grown both personally and professionally. So I cannot particularly pick a ‘biggest’ challenge because all I need to surmount any is wield my magic wand, say the magic words and make all my problems disappear.

What do you love the most about working in Communications?

I cherish the diverse array of people and information that come with working in Communications. For instance, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with individuals from various backgrounds, culture, religion, etc., and stay updated on the latest developments in the field. These experiences are truly priceless and have broadened my perspective in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

If you could advise your younger professional self, what would you say?

If I could advise my younger self, I would say:

“Dear younger Veronica,

In all you do, learn to be more confident and trust your abilities. Always remember that it’s okay to make mistakes as they are an essential part of growth and learning. Never forget the importance of building meaningful relationships. Seek guidance from mentors and don’t be too afraid to ask for help – even when you think you don’t need it! Most importantly, as you grow in life, learn to embrace challenges and view them as opportunities for development.

Remember, you are special and I am rooting for you!

Love always,

Older Veronica”



One Response

  1. A very professional and engaging conversation. Greater heights would be accomplished with your passion, creativity and diligence. Congratulations.

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