Emmanuel Ofosu-Appiah is a Senior Associate at Kekst CNC and completed the Taylor Bennett Foundation traineeship programme in 2012. We asked him about his career journey and his plans for the future.
My communications career started in 2012 when I was selected as one of eight trainees to take part in the Taylor Bennett Foundation Traineeship Programme. After a rigorous assessment day it was a pleasant surprise to receive a call stating that I had secured a place on the 10-week PR trainee programme. I remember jumping for joy and the first thing that came to my mind was calling my parents. This was the beginning of a new journey and a chance for me to develop skills and create an opportunity for myself in an industry I had limited knowledge in.
The Taylor Bennett Foundation is an award-winning training and mentoring programme which encourages Black, Asian and Ethnic minority graduates (BAME) to pursue a career in communications. The aim of the programme is to equip trainees with the knowledge, skillset and network needed to pursue a career in PR and communications. Trainees are also guided through the initial job search process as they seek their first job in the sector. The programme also offers amazing hands on experience through insight days and agency visits which makes the opportunity of working full-time at a firm even more real.
Over the ten-week period we were tasked with presenting on a whole range of communications topics and faced with complex crisis scenarios. These tasks gave us more insight into the challenges that PR professionals face each and every day. At the start of the internship I did not understand how much of an affect these sessions and tasks would have on my career and how vital they would be just a few years later.
My most memorable moment was securing an interview for a David Hess, President of the billion dollar aerospace business Pratt & Whitney live on Bloomberg TV
The most challenging part of starting a career in PR agency is keeping up to speed and managing multiple accounts. The first and most important piece of advice I received from my first ever boss was to make a good impression and always seek to add value to my client accounts. This was especially important when I was working as an Account Executive at Havas PR on multiple international clients. I was thrown right into the deep end and was required to speak to journalists who covered a range of topics such as financial services, healthcare, aerospace and property. It was during this initial phase of my career where I developed a love for media relations and developed a skill in securing positive exposure for clients. My most memorable moment was securing an interview for a David Hess, President of the billion dollar aerospace business Pratt & Whitney live on Bloomberg TV at the Paris Airshow. It was a surreal moment and was well received by the client and my team.
The importance of networking also played a key part in my career journey and I soon realised the value of making media connections. Regardless of what my clients were trying to communicate there was always a unique story to tell and that was a key motivation in securing the best possible exposure. I set myself a personal challenge to meet as many journalists as I could face to face whenever the opportunity presented itself. It was tough especially as many reporters had limited time and barely any days out of the office. Nevertheless, it did become easier as I became more familiar with my clients and had new story angles to share with journalists over a good breakfast.
It was a steep learning curve
I was hired by FTI Consulting a few years later and managed to secure a role in the corporate property team. I was ambitious and ready to take on this new challenge but it was a complete change of environment. I was now working in a much larger agency with high profile real estate clients and was tasked with boosting their profiles within the media. It was at this moment that I realised the importance of having a supportive team and asking for help when it was required. During my time FTI I was given the opportunity to assist clients on with high profile media briefings, press announcements and assist in new business proposals. These tasks all helped develop me as a PR professional and also gave me more confidence in my ability. It was a steep learning curve but one I am pleased I got to experience.
I am now a Senior Associate at Kekst CNC and joined the business in September 2017. Kekst CNC is a leading global strategic communications consultancy, created for an era of unprecedented challenge, change and opportunity. We occupy market leading positions working with clients on the most high profile corporate situations, and act as a trusted adviser to businesses, institutions and their leaders around the world.
Since joining the business I have been given the opportunity to travel, attend conferences and contribute to exciting new business projects and proposals.
My current clients consist of world leading financial services firms, professional and legal services consultancies and also support organisations within in the commodities and wealth management sectors. It has been an amazing journey so far and work with smart, forward-thinking and motivated colleagues. Since joining the business I have been given the opportunity to travel, attend conferences and contribute to exciting new business projects and proposals.
It is an exciting time to be in the corporate communications arena and I believe that everything I have learned over the past six years will beneficial as I progress through the ranks. There is now a unique opportunity for professionals like myself to make their mark on in a world divided by fake news and dwindling consumer trust.