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#Careers: Nigerian Women in PR Encourage Undergrads to Pursue Careers in Public Relations

Nigerian Women in PR (NGWIPR) over the weekend successfully delivered the fifth edition of its virtual Public Relations Students on Campus Summit which was held exclusively for students of the Lagos State University, Ojo. An initiative of the social impact organisation, the PR Students on Campus Summit is designed to provide an opportunity for undergraduates to interact and learn from young female public relations professionals, with the aim of providing practical and actionable information to help undergraduates make an informed career decision.

“We have eminent and experienced people in Public Relations. However, if we are not consciously opening up the profession and training people to come into the field, in the end, we will not find very capable hands to hand over the baton to. That is one of the reasons we came up with the PR summit”, said Tolulope Olorundero, founder of Nigerian Women in PR.

Speaking further on the significance of the event, Olorundero said, “with the #NGWIPRStudentSummit, we bring female practitioners with 3 to 5 years experience to share with undergraduates how they transitioned from student to professional, thereby inspiring them and demonstrating how viable a career in public relations can be. We have so far delivered the virtual Summit at the University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, University of Uyo, and the Nigeria Institute of Journalism. For now, we are self-funding the Summits because we are determined to take the gospel of public relations to all tertiary institutions in Nigeria.”

Dr Ganiyat Tijani-Adenle, a gender researcher and lecturer in the School of Communications, LASU represented the Dean, Professor Sunday Alawode expressed her appreciation to the organisers for bringing the Summit to their school.

“We were quite excited to receive notice that Nigerian Women in PR was interested in delivering the Summit in our school. Many female undergraduates focus on PR during their undergraduate programs, but lose interest along the way due to lack of motivation and mentorship. I believe seeing young ladies like them who are thriving in the profession will encourage and motivate them not to give up.”

Dr Tijani-Adenle further commended the initiative, saying “We got the approval of the Vice Chancellor for this program. We definitely look forward to more opportunities to collaborate with the organisation, especially in the area of research for women in public relations.”

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The PR Summit had in attendance two female public relations professionals: Tolulope Omoyeni, an alumnus of the University of Sussex and Communication Officer at the Lagos Business School, and Oluwatoni Sanni, a freelance Public Relations professional and a graduate of the Canadian University, Dubai.

According to Omoyeni, she had wanted to be a broadcast journalist like Femi Oke of Aljazeera. “I had my first degree in journalism and I wanted to be like Femi Oke. After my Masters in the UK, I applied for a job at a radio station and I was offered N15,000 as salary. I had to review my life goals again because I realised then that nobody cares about your degree but what you are able to deliver. While a radio station offered to pay me N15,000, a PR agency offered me N40,000. This, amongst other factors, made me decide to pursue a career in PR” she said. She encouraged the students to start a blog and write daily, emphasizing that writing is the most important skill for anyone who wants to pursue a career in public relations.

For Sanni, she had a background in advertising but got job opportunities in PR. Discovering her flair for the profession early, her personable character and skills made her thrive on the job. According to her, “a PR person must have a great personality. Such a person must be open to learning about every sector and topic, and must be up-to-date with the latest trends”.

She encouraged the students to take advantage of the holidays and apply for internships regardless of whether it is paid or not, adding that the experience they gather matters for their first role.

As part of the Summit, the Nigerian Women in Public Relations introduced the attendees to its Students Ambassadorship program where five female undergraduates will be selected from the institution and fully integrated into the NGWIPR community.

“The Students Ambassadorship programme is an initiative by Nigerian Women in PR created to enable female undergraduates gain experience in the field of Public relations while still in school. The programme is aimed at giving them a head start in the profession. The selected students will act as a liaison between their institution and the organisation, developing public relations programs and delivering them with direct supervision from the organisation. Our aim is to engage these students as volunteers who learn the ropes of PR by educating their immediate community about the impact public relations can have in building a society we all desire.” said Abimbola Fapohunda, Communication Associate at Nigerian Women in Public Relations.

Nigerian Women in PR, established in 2019, is an independent social impact organisation created to build a robust network of practising and aspiring female public

relations professionals of Nigerian descent. The aim of the organization is to support, inspire and empower these professionals while improving access to career advancing opportunities. With its robust programs including #PRin30Seconds, PR Students’ on Campus Summit, Reverse Mentorship Workshop and #ThrivethruPR, the organisation is determined to support female professionals get and retain a seat at the table where far-reaching decisions are made.

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