Francesca is the very first to be showcased on our Career Expose Series. Enjoy our interview with her below.
GP: Describe yourself in a sentence?
FU: Francesca Uriri is the Founder of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit focused on promoting Leadership and Female inclusion in Africa. She’s also a Communications and PR Associate, working out of the Nigerian office of a global PR agency. That was two sentences right? I’ve never been good at following the rules. Lol!
GP: Lol! Indeed. So, what does your job entail exactly?
FU: I develop PR and Media Relations strategy for top brands that include several Fortune 500 organisations, I.T companies, and social development institutions. My work at the PR agency involves me developing the overall strategy and media engagement direction for specified clients. These clients cut across the I.T, Social Impact, Finance and Health sectors. My role also involves a lot of interfacing with clients and the media alike, so Clients Relations is also key.
I’m also deeply interested in creating spaces where women are encouraged to learn, lead and influence their immediate societies. For Leading Ladies Africa, which I fondly refer to as my 5am – 6am job, Lol! I provide organisational and content direction for our programs, to ensure that our objectives of promoting leadership, inclusion and enterprise for women of African descent is achieved.
I know, I can be a very busy beaver. 😀
GP: Yes you are! Pretty interesting… How did you start out?
FU: I started out working while I was in the university – The University of Lagos. My late father – God bless his heart, insisted on me working while I was in school, and that proved very useful. So I started out working as an event activation and marketing executive for a global cosmetic brand, and did that for about two years until I graduated. After that, I serendipitously began working at a foremost PR agency in Nigeria – Sesema PR, run then by the late Alima Atta. It was at SPR that I cut my teeth in PR and Corporate Communications. And from then onwards, the last 12 years have seen me hone my skills in Media Strategy, Digital and Online Engagement, Reputation Management, Event Architecture, Crisis Management, Public and Media Relations. I’ve also had the opportunity to work across a broad range of industries like Oil & Gas, Luxury Retail, Private Equity and Investment.
GP: What are the highlights of your career so far?
FU: Let me do this for 20 more years, then I can come again and share major highlights with you. Lol! I’ve worked on a broad range of projects and events over the last 11-12 years, so picking a few would be a herculean task. But seriously, every milestone and major project delivered to outlined target audiences, is to me a key achievement. And I don’t say that to be clichéd or diversionary. If I help a client or organisation achieve a set deliverable or key business objective, then my work is done.
GP: Fair enough. What would you say are the key requirements to excelling in your line of work?
FU: Focus. Passion. Patience, and Hard work. Lots of hard work. I’d also being able to multi-task, and be creative even in “pressure-cooker” moments is a plus. Lastly, networking is crucial. Not just attending events aimlessly, but being deliberate about cultivating new friendships, connecting with people and seeing how you can add value.
GP: What advice do you have for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
FU: First of all, don’t follow in my footsteps. I mean that. Think deeply about what you want to do, what you are passionate about, and find a way to align that with making money, or getting paid for it. And it’s okay if you don’t really know what you want to do, or how you want to do it, time has a way of smoothening those bumps. That being said, don’t faff around for too long, time passes really quickly. So learn to balance things out. When all of that is done, then you can now begin to look for people who in the same line as work as you, or doing something similar, and connect with them. I’m a HUGE fan of mentoring – having peer mentors and older mentors are one of the important things anyone who wants to succeed should do.
GP: Any contact details for people who want to reach you?
FU: In this age of social media stalkers? Haha! Just kidding. Actually, you can find me on the major social media platforms – send me a message – I’ll almost always reply.
GP: Thank you Francesca for sharing your life with us.
FU: My pleasure
To the aspiring or emerging career professional, we hope you enjoyed our interview with Francesca. If you did, be sure to let us know in the comments section. Join us again next week Wednesday as we bring you interesting spotlights on our all new Career Expose series. Have a great week ahead.
Onomarie Francesca Uriri is the Founder of Leading Ladies Africa; a women empowerment non-profit that celebrates the lives of African women, and promotes gender inclusion. She equips African women with the skills they need to succeed in life and business. She does this through effective mentoring, organising capacity building events, and showcasing the achievements of successful women to inspire others. She’s deeply committed to ensuring that African women achieve their set goals in life.
She’s also a Public Relations and Communications expert with over 10 years’ experience spanning corporate relations, corporate reputation management, event architecture, media management and content development; with the last four further spent deepening her expertise in online engagement, content development and strategic events management.
She sits on the board of The Future Project, organisers of the Future Awards Africa, and has also recently been actively involved in raising funds and creating awareness for breast and cervical cancer through an annual personal project called Fashion Fantasia!
Francesca is a writer and has published several non-fiction and fiction pieces, which have been widely published. She’s working on her collection of short stories, which should be published soon. She loves to travel, meet people, and eat – in that particular order.
She’s on Instagram and Twitter @zanyfran