Top 5 Women Consultants in Corporate Communications

As a communicator, Selena never stops learning. Long before ‘thought leadership’ became a buzzword, she was actively shaping influential spaces.

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SELENA ACHIENG’ OLENDE

STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT

My entry into strategic corporate communication is a segue way from my legal career. Law, it is said, is theatre – you are trained to share a compelling narrative on behalf of your client; a skill which is at the core of being an effective communicator.

I have over 20 years of experience spanning the public sector and global, blue-chip companies including British American Tobacco (BAT) and the Coca-Cola system.  Most recently, I gained experience in emerging technology.  As diverse as these organisations are, my approach and ethic (underpinned by my Christian faith) remain unchanged.  I always endeavour to get an in-depth understanding of the company I represent, the story I am putting forward and the audience I am addressing.  It makes me credible.  Integrity is the hallmark of what I do and an attribute I champion.

I have spearheaded global corporate campaigns and regional social media initiatives, including the historic moment of bringing the World Cup trophy to Kenya. I have played a pivotal role in supporting the launch of numerous fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands across the continent.

Throughout my journey, I have engaged with international authorities, Heads of State, government officials, technocrats, and regulators, effectively influencing their perspectives through my communication. I have successfully advocated for diversity within multiple organisations and pioneered innovative approaches to various challenges.

I have championed sustainability by recycling, upcycling, and bridging the digital divide through technology connectivity.

While sharing my story is impactful, what truly matters is how my communication positively influences others. The ultimate reward is witnessing my narrative become intertwined with the stories my audience subsequently shares.

I have learned to refine and distil messaging into simple, digestible and factual points. This enables me to have an impact, to create an innovative avenue for consideration. It is all interconnected – my success in communication is part and parcel of my legal and regulatory work and relationship management, and partnership building. 

Selena Achieng’

For me, a win isn’t simply about having my narrative echoed; it is about receiving feedback that my perspective sparked a new way of thinking. Facilitating the emergence of solutions to challenges is truly transformative – it is a game changer.

Success is amenable to many interpretations – a crucial lesson for fellow practitioners. I advocate for sharing experiences as it helps others avoid similar mistakes. For those at the beginning of this journey, I offer this advice: know when to step back and press pause. Sometimes, the message is right, but the timing is not. Be attuned to your surroundings – recognise and address the headwinds, and be humble enough to adjust your communication accordingly. Respect your platform – tailor your story based on whether you are delivering a keynote address or posting on LinkedIn. Utilise technology and craft narratives that leave a lasting legacy. Embrace innovation in your work and remember that your message will likely outlive you, so make it impactful. Seize every opportunity to communicate effectively – be so conversant with your message that you can share it anywhere with anyone.

As a communicator, I never stop learning. Long before ‘thought leadership’ became a buzzword, I was actively shaping influential spaces. I have continually familiarised myself with new concepts, particularly in the realms of sustainability, digitisation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and inclusion – advocating for the youth, women, and the underrepresented. In my perspective, our statements must be empirically grounded to serve as reliable sources, quoted and used to shake up and drive growth in these crucial discussion areas. For me, communication should always be strategic and positioned at the core of one’s business. That has been the guiding principle of my work.

I am motivated by repositioning Africa to a place where she, and we, her inhabitants, are seen as trailblazers, investment-worthy, dynamic and knowledgeable catalysts for positive change. In short, where I am part of a mind-blowing, technologically-driven future.

AUTHOR: SELENA ACHIENG’ OLENDE

EDITOR: HANS ARDEN

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Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Kenya’s Dr Hanningtone Gaya, holds a PhD in Commerce in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University (NMU), is viewed as an authority in country branding and is the founder chairman of the Brand Kenya Board.

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