Few people can honestly claim that they had a clear picture of what they wanted to become later in life when growing up. This is because future career paths (or choices for that matter) are determined by various factors, including academic performance and one’s determination to succeed no matter the obstacles on their way.
In her case however, her aunt was there to provide the much-needed inspiration from, while also imparting her positive values on her young niece. This inspiration and mentorship from the aunt, coupled with her self-belief that effective and authentic communication has power to inspire, influence, and create positive change, made it easier to make a career choice, settling for PR and Marketing.
Years down the road, with many experiences gained and various lessons learned along the way, she now serves as the PR Manager at OPPO Kenya. Read on as Fredrique Achieng’ (pictured) shares snippets of her personal and professional life in a Q&A interview…
QUESTION: Who is Fredrique Achieng’? Tell us more about yourself as a person.
FREDRIQUE ACHIENG’: Fredrique is a driven and passionate individual who thrives on the dynamic intersection of communication and strategy. I believe in the power of storytelling and building meaningful connections. Outside of work, I am an avid reader, a tech enthusiast, and always eager to explore new cultures.
QUESTION: Growing up, did you see yourself working in PR? What informed your decision to pursue PR and Marketing as a career?
FA: Growing up, I had a keen interest in understanding human behavior and the art of effective communication.
PR and Marketing offered the perfect blend of creativity and strategic thinking, allowing me to connect with people on a deeper level. It was the natural choice for someone fascinated by the power of words and narratives.
QUESTION: As the PR Manager for OPPO Kenya, what does your job entail? Briefly explain how your typical working day is like.
FA: My role as the PR Manager at OPPO Kenya involves crafting and executing communication strategies, fostering media relations, and ensuring that OPPO’s brand message resonates effectively. A typical day involves a mix of media engagement, strategic planning, and collaboration with cross-functional teams to align communication efforts with the company’s objectives.
QUESTION: When growing up and still in school, who did you look up to as your mentor for inspiration in both your personal and professional life? Why did you pick out this person as a mentor?
FA: During my formative years, I admired my aunt for her unwavering integrity, strategic thinking, and ability to navigate complex situations with grace in the corporate world. Her mentorship not only shaped my professional approach but also instilled in me the importance of authenticity and continuous learning.
QUESTION: What defines and drives you as a person?
FA: Professionally, I am driven by the belief that effective and authentic communication has the power to inspire, influence, and create positive change.
Holistically, my commitment to excellence, curiosity, and the desire to make a meaningful impact motivates me in both my personal and professional endeavors.
QUESTION: You’ve been in PR and Communications for just under 10 years. During this time, what can you highlight as your key challenges in terms of the accounts (or clients and campaigns) you’ve worked on (and with) and why? Which key lessons have you learnt from those experiences?
FA: Working on diverse accounts presented challenges ranging from tight timelines to shifting market landscapes. These experiences taught me the importance of adaptability, resilience, and the need for continuous innovation. Each challenge became an opportunity for growth and refinement of my skills.
Additionally, during my first years in the PR industry, I learnt to be willing to learn and discover new aspects, both in the professional and personal life.
(Fredrique Achieng’ with Ernest Teigut, OPPO Kenya’s brand manager during the launch of OPPO N2 Flip smartphone in Nairobi).
QUESTION: You previously worked in a PR agency before moving to the Corporate scene representing brands. How did your agency experience help you during the transition to Corporate and Brand PR?
FA: Agency experience honed my ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously, think on my feet, and adapt to different industries.
This background equipped me with a holistic understanding of PR dynamics, enabling a seamless transition to Corporate and Brand PR where a strategic and versatile approach is crucial.
QUESTION: Away from the challenges and lessons learnt from working on different PR and communications projects and campaigns over the years, what can you highlight as your successes and major career milestones over the years?
FA: Some of my proudest moments include successfully launching impactful campaigns, securing prominent media coverage, and driving positive brand sentiment. These milestones underscore my commitment to delivering results that align with organizational goals and contribute to long-term success.
QUESTION: Based on your experience and lessons gained in the industry, what changes and new trends have you seen emerge over the years? How have these changes impacted your career and the PR industry as a whole?
FA: Over the years, the industry has witnessed a shift towards digital engagement, influencer marketing, most recent use of AI in communication materials and a heightened focus on authentic storytelling. Embracing these changes has been integral to staying relevant and effective in my role, showcasing the industry’s continual evolution.
“Agency experience honed my ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously, think on my feet, and adapt to different industries. This background equipped me with a holistic understanding of PR dynamics, enabling a seamless transition to Corporate and Brand PR where a strategic and versatile approach is crucial…” – Fredrique Achieng’
QUESTION: If you were not heading the PR unit at OPPO Kenya, what would be your alternative career choice, given a chance?
FA: If not in PR, I could see myself in the realm of research or tech. both of these career paths have no ceiling on what one can be able to achieve and develop while also helping people.
QUESTION: As an individual, what occupies your free time, what activities do you engage in during your leisure time to unwind?
FA: In my free time, I enjoy unwinding through listening to podcasts, exploring new cuisines, and playing video games.
QUESTION: Any final thoughts and comments?
FA: As I conclude, I believe that communication is a powerful force for positive change. As I continue to navigate the dynamic field of PR, I am excited about the limitless possibilities and the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to OPPO Kenya’s journey and the broader industry landscape.