CEO, Africa Communications Group, Mimi Kalinda talks on her journey on LLA Spotlight.

Can you share the story behind the creation of your company? What inspired you to start this venture?

I co-founded the company in 2012 and the story behind the creation of Africa Communications Group was based on making a meaningful and impactful difference in the public relations industry and bringing untold stories to light, especially those in the Pan-African context. storytelling and communications are my passion and sharing that with clients, has been one of the driving forces or inspirations in creating this successful venture.

Being a female founder in the African business landscape, what unique challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them?

I would say some of the challenges I have experienced are not necessarily unique to me, as most women especially in Africa face lack of funding opportunities, legitimate networking opportunities and proper entrepreneurial development and guidance. Personally, I have faced similar circumstances, however I have managed to navigate these challenges successfully with some help along the way from wonderful people! One tip I can share with aspiring female entrepreneurs is find a way to overcome whatever challenge you are facing, even if that means asking for help. 

What challenges and opportunities do you see in the communications industry within the African continent?

Two of the best opportunities I see in the communications industry within the African continent is the rise of youthful creatives, specifically young women who are using the tools available to showcase their abilities and talents (social media) and more courageous decisions being made in business endeavors or content creation businesses. We are storytellers and entertainers by nature and showcasing our talent and capabilities is important. One important challenge that still needs to be addressed is the investment in our people in the communications industry. We are diverse and we speak diverse languages, more funding, investment in digital and physical infrastructure and mentorship in stimulating the growth of the industry will be beneficial for the industry at present and in the near future. 


Balancing work and personal life can be demanding for founders. How do you manage to maintain that balance, especially as a woman entrepreneur?

It is challenging and very demanding! But what I have found that works for me is regularly meditating, journaling or spending time in nature to destress has allowed me the flexibility of spending time with my family and maintaining the proverbial “work/life” balance scenario. This allows me time for myself, which is highly important in any person’s personal life. Having a great team that can take care of business when I cannot, is one of the contributing factors in my ability to handle any challenge that comes my way. 

Mentorship and role models play a significant role. Have you had any mentors who guided you, and how have they influenced your approach to leadership?

A great question! Yes, through my personal and business/career journey I have been fortunate enough to have some of the best mentors/role models guide me and offer me a helping hand. One would be the film director Spike Lee, who played an integral role on my storytelling journey , when I first explored the communications and media industry and Addis Alemaheyou who is an integral and successful businessman in the communications industry in Ethiopia. Both have taught me the importance of humility, stewardship and vision in leadership. Leading is an important aspect in entrepreneurship and knowing one’s strengths is important. 

How do you balance the need for innovation with the necessity of providing reliable and affordable communication services?

Another great question! Reliability comes with being innovative and creative, we can not do things the same all the time and expect different results! What we focus on is bringing value through innovation whilst being affordable. We are one of the best agencies around and quality cannot be emphasized more!

How do you maintain a consistent and authentic personal brand across your LinkedIn content?

One of my strengths is a keen eye for unique and impactful stories within Africa as a whole. As I am a huge advocate for African development and Africa first, shaping the narrative by being truthful and engaging has helped me achieve the consistent and authentic personal branding I enjoy on LinkedIn and other social media platforms as a whole. Promoting the interests of Africa and creating content that resonates and aligns with most of my audience is another important factor. Authenticity and storytelling are important in the arsenal of a personal or corporate brand and their communication platforms!

As a female founder, how do you see yourself as a source of inspiration for other women aspiring to become entrepreneurs in Africa?

Firstly, I must say it starts with YOU! Knowing yourself, believing in yourself, knowing that you are capable and being comfortable with the idea of failure. Yes, you will experience failure at some point in your journey, but do not let that get you down! Personally, I believe that once my audience (specifically women) understand my story and have seen that it is possible, inspiration will naturally gravitate to them. Being authentic and showcasing my capabilities in entrepreneurship, attests to the level of achievement and success a women can enjoy as an entrepreneur in Africa. 

What advice do you have for aspiring professionals looking to make an impact in the industry in Africa?

Do not be afraid, take that leap of faith and trust yourself! You will not have the answers all the time, however you will have the ability to learn and discern. Be authentic, be yourself, connect, respect and innovate! Cultivate a niche that nobody else is investing in, craft your own story and be proud to be in the communications industry in Africa! Networking is important!! 

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