‘A woman must be creative to stand out in the competitive environment’
Tampiri Irimagha Akemu, Managing Director of Sesema PR is a woman, whose career spans nearly two decades, with experience in Organisational Development, Capacity Development and Public Relations and Communications for various organisations. During her 17-year career, she worked in the oil and gas sector, logistics and non-profit management, as well as SMEs across Africa. She is a Board committee member of Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR).
Reminiscing on her childhood, she said her career path was shaped by her strict upbringing.
“I grew up in a strict, Christian home, with a father who believed so much in academic excellence. My childhood was fun, a stern upbringing but beneficial one, which I realised much later in life. My parents were deacons and elders in church. That strict upbringing followed me to my adulthood. Indeed, there are some things I cannot do because they are not part of my background. I got the entrepreneurship inclination from my father. He left National Electrical Power Authority (NEPA) at a young age to start his own business. My father had a string of businesses and was very creative. He is meticulous and attentive to details. I took that aspect from him.”
So, what is Sesema PR into?
“Sesema PR is a marketing communications consultancy firm, established in April 2002 by the late Alima Atta, a PR veteran. We specialise in providing bespoke promotional services that add commercial value to our clients’ businesses. In the course of our 14 years in business, we have spearheaded successful reputation management campaigns for a broad variety of local and international clients. Our portfolio boasts of over 100 happy clients, with projects excellently executed, several recognition awards, two international partnerships for global reach and countless advisory and partnership ventures.
“Our expertise has availed us the opportunity to work with international and local brands, hence the diverse range of sectors we operate, such as: Aviation, finance, telecoms, real estate/property, lifestyle, health, education, power/energy, oil and gas, government relations, automobile, technology, non-profit organisations and FMCGs.”
For the beautiful mother of two, it was fate that chose her path.
“My encounter with the late Alima Atta, founder of Sesema Public Relations, influenced my decision to be a part of this industry. It’s a great fit for me, as a creative person. The journey has been a blend of ups and downs. Lessons have been learnt, with lots of accomplishments. We have been able to carry on successfully and still remain relevant in the industry. This is a testament to the fact that our leadership is effective and structures are in place to support our growth and future plans. Our business scope is constantly expanding and we are optimistic and determined.
“What stand us out on the job is our diversity in different aspects of marketing communications and the will to take up new challenges. Our people, leadership, experience and skill are second to none. Our drive for excellence is a key determinant and consistency in service delivery, as well as our broad range of sectors and industries we have serviced. Like any other growing or established business in Nigeria, we face numerous external challenges, which include, but not limited to, high cost of maintaining and running our facility. Outside this, hiring and maintaining good quality personnel is a recurring concern and challenge.”
“Motherhood, sustaining the legacy and continuing to grow and impact young PR professionals and giving back to the society are some of our achievements. We are constantly evolving and still relevant and producing bright, seasoned PR and communications professionals.”
On what her project CCPC is all about, she said: “Corporate Communication Pitch Competition (CCPC), the first of its kind in Nigeria, is our own way of encouraging youth talents that are passionate about Public Relations. It is aimed at identifying bright communications graduates and availing them a platform to build a career in Public Relations and Digital Communication. The competition was launched on April 1 2016 to mark our 14th year anniversary, with a focus to help bridge the gap in manpower. Through the process of this pitch competition, we have employed four young bright graduates, including a First Class graduate. Aside cash prizes, we open up learning opportunities through structured internship and classroom style learning techniques. Young aspiring graduates can read more about this and apply for the next edition through our website- Sesema.com.
“Earlier on, we also introduced Emerging Entrepreneur, a project that focuses on promoting fast rising entrepreneurs, who have challenged themselves to continuous growth and expansion in their businesses, thereby encouraging more youths to be creative. For a woman to stand out in this competitive environment, she must be highly creative and unique. She must be willing to bring new ideas to the table that will override those of her competitors, even better find a niche.”
How does she combine managing the home front with her tight schedules?
“I had to find a balance so that my career and family life will run smoothly. It all revolves around planning and setting goals. Progress and growth is continuous and the God factor is very important, because without God, one cannot go far in life. I can’t stand it, when people say you can’t do this or that. I believe it’s possible to have it all, with God on my side. Life has taught me to put God first, be consistent, humble, carve my own niche, be open to learning new things, be positive and never give up. I also used my early career years to groom my two young boys. I have more time now to focus on my passion and grow my business. I love looking good and dressing well, too.
“Our diversification and expansion into other areas is imminent. In the nearest future, we intend to become a full-fledged integrated marketing communications company, with the expansion of Sesema PR’s sister companies for digital campaigns and advertising. Our end goal in all we do is to add value and make a difference.”
She advised any woman aspiring to be successful in business to plan, be focused, work hard, be determined and passionate.
“Women should surround themselves with people that will support and encourage them to keep going. They must be prepared to work harder than they ever thought possible, but should always remember what inspired them in the first place. Invest in yourself, be current, research and have a can-do spirit and positive attitude. Also seek out a mentor to put you through. Integrity and honesty are paramount. Also, be a change agent.”