Name: Richard Kweku Ahiagble
Job title: Corporate Citizenship Manager
Employer: Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd (a subsidiary of Diageo PLC)
How did I get started in my career?
I graduated from the University of Ghana, Legon, with top honours in BA Psychology. My first dream was to pursue further education in the field and to become an industrial psychologist. That, however, changed, and pretty quickly, during my National Service at the Ghana Institute of Journalism where I was introduced to Public Relations and Communications through a five-week intensive course in PR and Advanced communications. After a few months' stint as an outsourced staff member for Barclays Bank Ghana, I joined Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd's accelerated graduate trainee programme as an internal communications trainee. A year later, I was transferred to the Diageo Africa regional office in London to support the regional Corporate Social Responsibility agenda.
What do I do?
Currently, I am responsible for driving the strategy and implementation of the company's flagship community investment programme – which aims to empower local communities through sustainable access to clean drinking water. I work closely with local communities, relevant internal and external stakeholders, the media, and relevant governmental bodies to drive a targeted, impactful and sustainable community investment programme that directly impact vulnerable communities and set my company apart as a socially responsive and responsible corporate citizen in Ghana.
What motivates me about this job?
I am tremendously motivated by the opportunity to impact local communities, to work with like-minded corporate and civil society groups to contribute to the UN MDG on Water.
What skills do I need to do my job?
Passion, exceptional communication skills, effective project management skills and a strategic mindset. I have always held the view that communication cuts across everything I do – be it engaging employees, lobbying or selling an idea to the dominant coalition. Without good communications skills, my passion for my job cannot transcend beyond me.
What did I gain from my CIPR Qualification?
In-depth knowledge into strategic communications and CSR. Understanding the theoretical underpinnings of my work and empowering me to think more strategically. I also had the opportunity to meet up with other communicators and share ideas. For my project work, I really stepped out of my comfort zone to interrogate the phenomenon of social media.
What do I want to do next?
My heart is with CSR; my head is with Corporate Communications – and in-between is Investor Relations. Within the next couple of years, I will not be entirely surprised if I find myself heading an in-house comms team.
What advice do I have for someone starting out in Public Relations?
Explore, learn something new every day, step out of your comfort zone and establish your network. Nothing enhances your work more than your network. Also, take as many relevant courses and CPD with the CIPR as you can...it will always come in handy.