Career Conversations with Cynthia Mwangi, Communications Specialist at Cyn Communications.

As an African woman, have there been any unique challenges or opportunities you’ve encountered in your career in Communications and PR?

As an African woman working in the field of Communications and PR, I have indeed encountered both unique challenges and opportunities throughout my career.

Unfortunately, gender bias remains a pervasive issue in many parts of the world, including Africa. As a woman, I have had to work harder to prove myself. In some African cultures, there are traditional expectations for women to prioritize family and home life over career ambitions. This can sometimes create a conflict between professional aspirations and societal norms. I am not married, neither do I have kids, which presents a different set of problems. The joy however, is that over time, we’ve found strategies to go around the culture and norms; allowing us to work in different spaces.

As for Opportunities because things get better as we evolve. Africa is a continent with incredible diversity in terms of languages, cultures, and traditions. Being an African woman has allowed me to bring a unique perspective to my work, which can be highly valuable in the field of PR. I can connect with and understand the nuances of different audiences and communities.

One of the highlights for us when taking on leadership roles in various sectors, including  the opportunities to be trailblazers and advocates for gender equality and diversity within the industry. And with Africa being a rapidly growing market and a hub of innovation in many areas, there are numerous opportunities for professionals in Communications and PR to engage in exciting projects that have a global impact.

There have been numerous opportunities to make a positive impact, bring diverse perspectives to the table, and contribute to the growth and development of the industry in Africa. My journey has taught me the importance of resilience, mentorship, and the power of representation in breaking down barriers and creating a more inclusive and equitable profession.


In your experience, what role does effective communication play in promoting African businesses, initiatives, or causes on a global scale? 

In my experience, effective communication plays an absolutely pivotal role in promoting African businesses, initiatives, and causes on a global scale. Africa is a continent of immense diversity, with a wealth of opportunities and challenges, and how we communicate these aspects to the world can greatly impact their success and reception. 

Many people still hold outdated stereotypes and misconceptions about the continent. Through strategic PR and communication efforts, we highlight the innovation, entrepreneurship, and positive developments taking place in Africa, challenging stereotypes and fostering a more accurate understanding.

Sharing compelling narratives about African businesses and initiatives engages global audiences on an emotional level. Stories that showcase the human aspect of these endeavors, such as the impact on local communities or the journey of entrepreneurs, resonates deeply.

Trust is a fundamental factor in international business and partnerships. Well-crafted communication helps African businesses and initiatives establish trust with global stakeholders, including investors, customers, and collaborators. Clear and transparent messaging can demonstrate credibility and reliability.

Highlighting Unique Value Propositions: Africa has unique strengths and resources, whether in terms of its rich cultural heritage, natural resources, or demographic dividends. Effective communication should emphasize these distinctive qualities and how they can benefit global partners or customers. It’s about showcasing the “African advantage.”

Addressing Challenges Transparently: While promoting the positive aspects, it’s also crucial to address challenges and obstacles transparently. Global stakeholders appreciate honesty and the acknowledgment of difficulties. This can build credibility and show a commitment to improvement.

Engaging with Local Communities: Effective global communication should not only target external audiences but also engage with local communities. When African businesses and initiatives have the support and trust of their own communities, it often strengthens their global positioning.

Utilizing Digital Platforms: In today’s digital age, utilizing online platforms and social media is essential for global outreach. African businesses and initiatives can harness the power of digital communication to reach a global audience cost-effectively and efficiently.

Advocating for African Causes: Beyond business, communication also plays a crucial role in promoting African causes such as sustainable development, healthcare, education, and social justice. Effective advocacy through communication can garner international support and resources for these important initiatives.

In conclusion, effective communication is the linchpin for promoting African businesses, initiatives, and causes on a global scale. It shapes perceptions, builds trust, engages audiences emotionally, and showcases the unique strengths and challenges of the continent. By harnessing the power of strategic communication, Africa can unlock greater opportunities, partnerships, and global recognition.

Africa is a diverse continent with various cultures and languages. How do you approach tailoring your communication strategies to resonate with different African audiences? 

Tailoring communication strategies to resonate with diverse African audiences is both a challenge and an exciting opportunity. Here’s how I approach it:

The first step is thorough research. I make sure to understand the specific culture, language, and context of the target audience. This includes studying cultural norms, traditions, and local dialects. Cultural sensitivity is paramount to avoid inadvertently causing offense.

I prioritize the localization of content. This means translating materials into the relevant languages and adapting messaging to align with cultural values and preferences. It’s not just about the language; it’s about speaking in a way that feels native to the audience. I actively listen to the feedback and concerns of the audience. This helps in making necessary adjustments and demonstrating that their voices are heard and valued.

Africa is incredibly diverse, so one-size-fits-all communication doesn’t work. I segment the audience based on factors such as demographics, geography, and interests. This allows for the creation of targeted messages that resonate with each group.

Leveraging local influencers and thought leaders has been highly effective. They have an established rapport with their communities and authentically conveys messages in a way that resonates with their followers.

It’s important to respect and celebrate local traditions and customs. When communicating about initiatives or products, I ensure that they align with and enhance these traditions rather than conflicting with them.

Collaborating with local experts, consultants, or agencies is invaluable. They bring in-depth knowledge of the local culture and can provide guidance on how to tailor communication effectively. Africa is dynamic, and cultures evolve. I remain flexible and adaptable in my approach, ready to pivot and adjust strategies as needed to stay aligned with changing audience preferences and cultural shifts.

 In essence, tailoring communication strategies for diverse African audiences requires a deep understanding of the unique characteristics of each audience, a commitment to cultural sensitivity, and a willingness to adapt and evolve. It’s about connecting on a human level and respecting the richness of Africa’s diversity while conveying the intended message effectively.

Women’s empowerment and leadership are crucial topics today. How do you see your role as a female Communications and PR Consultant contributing to this movement in Africa? 

As a female Communications and PR Consultant in Africa, I see my role as integral to the broader movement of women’s empowerment and leadership on the continent. 

My very presence in a leadership role within the Communications and PR industry serves as a form of representation. It sends a message to other aspiring female professionals that they too can excel in this field. Representation matters, as it can inspire and motivate the next generation of female leaders.

I actively engage in mentorship and advocacy efforts. I believe in lifting other women up and providing guidance and support to help them advance in their careers. By sharing my experiences and knowledge, I aim to empower more women to pursue leadership roles in communications.

Through my work, I prioritize amplifying the voices of women in Africa. I seek out opportunities to highlight their achievements, stories, and perspectives, whether through media campaigns or partnerships with women-led organizations. This not only celebrates their contributions but also fosters a more inclusive narrative. This also includes seeking out and supporting women-led initiatives and businesses. Whether through pro bono work, partnerships, or advocacy, I aim to provide a platform for these initiatives to thrive and make a positive impact in their communities.


I advocate for and create gender-inclusive messaging in my PR and communication strategies. This means challenging stereotypes and ensuring that the content I produce reflects a commitment to gender equality and diversity. By doing so, I contribute to changing societal perceptions and norms.

I actively participate in women’s networks and organizations dedicated to gender equality and women’s leadership. These forums provide opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and collective action. I use my platform to raise awareness about the importance of women’s empowerment and leadership, and I engage in conversations that challenge stereotypes and biases.

My role as a female Communications and PR Consultant in Africa is not just about excelling in my field but also about actively contributing to the larger movement of women’s empowerment and leadership. Through representation, mentorship, advocacy, and gender-inclusive messaging, I strive to make a positive impact and create a more equitable and inclusive Africa for all.

How do you balance your professional commitments with personal life and self-care, especially as an African woman in a demanding field? 

Allow me to respond to this like a typical Kenyan. So, nooww…. Balancing professional commitments with personal life and self-care is indeed a crucial aspect of maintaining well-being, especially in a demanding field as an African woman in Communications and PR. 

Just recently, I’ve learned the importance of setting clear boundaries between work and personal life. This means defining specific work hours and sticking to them as closely as possible. When the workday ends, I make a conscious effort to disconnect from work-related emails and calls to focus on personal time. It wasn’t easy but it had to be done. To be able to fully give your best, your best needs to be available to give. 

Self-care for me is non-negotiable. I schedule regular self-care activities into my routine, whether it’s a daily meditation practice, a daily exercise routine first thing in the morning, or simply spending quality time with loved ones. I treat these commitments as seriously as any work-related task.

I recognize that I can’t do it all on my own. Delegating tasks at work and seeking support from colleagues or team members when needed allows me to manage my workload more effectively. 

Being flexible and adaptable is essential in both my professional and personal life. Sometimes unexpected situations arise, and I’ve learned to adjust my plans accordingly rather than becoming overwhelmed which comes rather easily for humans.

I make it a habit to regularly check in with myself to assess my stress levels and overall well-being. If I notice signs of burnout or excessive stress, I take immediate action to address them, whether it’s taking a day off, seeking professional support, or practicing stress-reduction techniques.

I’ve found strength in connecting with other women in demanding fields. Networking with peers who face similar challenges allows for mutual support and the exchange of coping strategies.

I’m committed to continuous learning, both professionally and personally. This helps me stay updated on industry trends and new tools that can streamline my work, ultimately freeing up more time for personal pursuits.

Taking time off, whether for a vacation or a mental health day, is essential. I’ve learned to embrace these breaks without guilt, knowing that they contribute to my overall effectiveness when I return to work. Resilience is also a valuable trait. I remind myself that challenges are a part of life, and I have the inner strength to overcome them. This mindset helps me navigate demanding periods with more grace and confidence.

What message or advice would you like to share with our readers, especially young African women aspiring to excel in the field of Communications and PR?  

To young African women aspiring to excel in the field of Communications and PR

Believe in Yourself. The journey may be challenging at times, but never doubt your capabilities. Believe in your skills, creativity, and unique perspective. Confidence in yourself is the foundation for success.

Education and Continuous Learning: Invest in your education and seek opportunities for continuous learning. The field of Communications and PR is dynamic, and staying updated with the latest trends and tools is essential.

Find Your Voice: Your voice and perspective as an African woman are invaluable. Embrace your cultural heritage and use it to your advantage. It’s what sets you apart and makes your storytelling powerful.

Build a Strong Network: Networking is key. Connect with mentors, peers, and industry professionals. Their guidance, advice, and support can be instrumental in your career growth.

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up: In meetings and discussions, don’t hesitate to voice your opinions and ideas. Your insights are valuable, and your contributions matter.

Embrace Challenges: Challenges are opportunities in disguise. Instead of fearing them, view them as chances to learn and grow. Each obstacle you overcome makes you stronger and more resilient.

Seek Mentorship: Find a mentor or role model in the field who can provide guidance and support. Learning from someone with experience can accelerate your career development.

Be Adaptable: The industry evolves rapidly. Be open to change, new technologies, and emerging communication platforms. Adaptability is a valuable skill.

Celebrate Your Achievements: Don’t forget to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. Acknowledging your achievements boosts confidence and motivation.

Stay True to Your Values: In the fast-paced world of PR and Communications, it’s easy to compromise your values. Stay true to your ethical principles and integrity, even when facing pressure.

Remember Your Impact: Your work has the potential to influence opinions, shape narratives, and make a difference in the world. Use your skills responsibly and with purpose.

Stay Curious: Curiosity is a powerful driver of innovation. Never stop asking questions and seeking new knowledge. It will keep your work fresh and exciting.

Enjoy the Journey: Lastly, remember that your career is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy each step, learn from every experience, and savor the growth and evolution of your skills and expertise.

You have a bright future ahead in Communications and PR, and your unique perspective as an African woman is a valuable asset. Keep pushing boundaries, breaking stereotypes, and making your mark in the industry. Your voice matters, and your contributions will shape the narrative of Africa and the world.

Are there any African women in the field of Communications and PR who inspire you or whom you look up to? If so, what about their work do you admire?

The African woman in the field of Comms and PR who inspires me most has to be Gina Din Kariuki, without a doubt. Her work and contributions to the industry are truly admirable on many levels.

I had the great honor of interviewing her for the Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) channel. I was in the presence of greatness; I can tell you that much.  As a successful African woman in a field that was dominated by men, Gina Din Kariuki broke barriers and shattered glass ceilings. Her achievements serve as a testament to what determination and skill can accomplish.

What I most admire about her, is her ability to adapt to changing communication landscapes and embrace innovative approaches in the industry. This adaptability is a quality I believe is crucial for success in the ever-evolving field of PR.

Gina Din has a knack for authentic storytelling. She understands the power of narrative and how it can shape perceptions and influence change. Her ability to craft compelling and genuine stories is something I aspire to emulate in my own work.

She is a role model for women in the industry, showing that excellence and compassion can go hand in hand.

Do you have any favorite books, resources, or mentors that have influenced your career journey that you’d like to recommend to our audience?



“Surrounded by Idiots” by Thomas Erikson: This book offers valuable insights into understanding different personality types and how to communicate effectively with them. It’s been instrumental in improving my interpersonal and communication skills.


“Through My African Eyes” by Jeff Koinange. It offers a glimpse into Koinange’s personal journey and his encounters with political leaders, war zones, and everyday people, making it a valuable read for those interested in African journalism, storytelling, and the continent’s complex narrative.


“Crisis Averted: PR Strategies to Protect Your Reputation and the Bottom Line” by Evan Nierman: This book offers a comprehensive guide to PR strategies for effectively managing and mitigating crises that can impact an organization’s reputation and financial stability. It provides invaluable insights into crisis communication and reputation management, making it a must-read for anyone in the field of PR.

“This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President,” a memoir of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former President of Liberia. In this book, President Sirleaf shares her life story, including her early years, her experiences in various leadership roles, and her historic election as the first female head of state in Africa. It’s a compelling read for those interested in African politics, leadership, and the remarkable life of one of Africa’s most prominent leaders.


Daughter of Africa: An Autobiography by Gina Din Kariuki is the story of a girl from Nanyuki, Kenya, who rose to become a successful entrepreneur and public relations guru. The book chronicles Din’s journey from a humble upbringing to the heights of corporate success, and shares her insights on leadership, business, and life. Din’s story is an inspiration to women and girls everywhere, and a testament to the power of hard work and determination.


Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House” is a memoir by Alyssa Mastromonaco, who served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations in the Obama White House. In this book, Mastromonaco shares her experiences and insights from her time working in one of the highest-profile roles in American politics.

The book provides a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the White House, as well as valuable lessons on leadership, teamwork, and navigating the challenges of public service. It offers a mix of humor, anecdotes, and practical advice, making it an engaging and informative read for those interested in politics and government.



Dr. Amb. Amina Mohammed: Dr. Amina Mohammed’s diplomatic expertise and leadership in international relations have been a tremendous source of inspiration. Her commitment to the country and God above self remains etched in our history. 


Fred Afune, Radio & ICT director at Royalmedia Services. A seasoned Media, advertising, and marketing sage, has been a guiding light in my career journey. His wealth of experience and mentorship have helped me navigate the complexities of the industry, and his commitment to ethical and impactful communication is truly commendable.


My Parents: I must also acknowledge the invaluable mentorship and support provided by my parents. Their wisdom, encouragement, and unwavering belief in my abilities have been a constant source of strength throughout my career journey. Their life lessons and values have shaped my approach to both personal and professional challenges, and I am deeply grateful for their guidance.


As for resources:

Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK): PRSK has been an invaluable resource for networking, professional development, and staying updated on industry trends. It provides a supportive community for PR professionals in Kenya and offers various workshops, seminars, and resources to enhance skills.


Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK): AMWIK is an essential resource for women in media and communications. It provides a platform for networking, skill-building, and advocacy for women’s participation and leadership in the media industry. Their initiatives and events have been instrumental in advancing the careers of many women in the field.


The Internet: The vast world of information available on the Internet has been a constant companion in my career journey. Online courses, industry blogs, webinars, and research papers have all contributed to my professional growth. Platforms like LinkedIn have also been fantastic for networking and staying connected with industry trends and professionals worldwide.


I recommend that one not only explore these resources but also recognize and appreciate the mentorship and guidance that can come from unexpected sources, including parents, whose wisdom and support can be instrumental in one’s career journey.


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