Meet our newest committee member
Taazima Kala, a Chartered member of the CIPR since 2020, Taazima is based in Gaborone, Botswana, joins the CIPR International Committee. She's been part of the CIPR community since 2014, and is currently the General Manager and Lead Consultant of Hotwire PRC, a leading Africa based PR consultancy. She is a Member of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa and sits on the boards of MISA Botswana, the Association of Communications Agency Botswana, and NGO, Learn To Play.
During her first month, we've asked her some questions for you to get to know her a bit more:
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what attracted you to joining the International committee?
I’m a Botswana-based PR Consultant, currently managing Hotwire Public Relations Consultancy, and passionate about the power of the written and spoken word, as well as how communications can truly transform perception, engagement, and even relationships. Entering this industry was either accidental or serendipitous, but either way, I’ve never looked back and enjoyed the growing challenges and opportunities to learn more and be better every day. That’s what attracted me to join the CIPR community and, following the great work (and wisdom, as she was kind enough to share her story with me) of International Committee Chair, Samantha Seewoosoorrun, I wanted to get more involved in this community of industry professionals. It’s early days still but I relish the opportunity to engage and learn with them, share what might be a unique perspective of my own, and help others see the value of being a part of the CIPR international community. There is so much shared learning and experience to help us all grow as individuals, as a collective, and as a discipline and I want to be a part of that.
What would you say are the biggest challenges or opportunities facing PR professionals in Botswana right now?
I’d say it’s twofold for the most part. Firstly, many people do not recognise the true value PR can bring; perception and understanding are limited to PR as “press releases and media,” and not the true extent of stakeholder relations and reputation management. This is not helped by the second challenge, being very little in the way of industry-standard or barrier to entry. Anyone enters the space with little in the way of best practice, ethics, and depth of understanding, as we have many who join the fold and oftentimes do more damage in terms of PR for PR than they do good. This only hurts the potential client's understanding or willingness to trust. I’d love to see the discipline respected and turned to in its own right as a strategic function that makes progress real for organisations as they work to achieve their goals, and in the same vein, not bundled with “the marketing bunch.” It will take some time.
What are you most proud of?
Personally, I’ve always been one to push others and not myself. Deciding to get Chartered with CIPR was my first career step in this regard; engaging with people I’ve always looked up to now as peers and actively getting involved in learning from them, engaging with them, and building a personal growth plan from there on. It quite literally began as a mindset change when I booked my charter assessment day, and that hunger to do started after the incredible conversations I have with fellow assessment candidates on the day. The entire process just sort of shifted my perspective and I’m truly grateful for it (and haven’t let it switch back!) aside from this, I also look back at being part of Botswana’s largest and most successful IPO for telco, BTC, as a major career milestone. Oversubscribed 1.53 times and changing how ordinary citizens in even the most remote areas now saw investment was a phenomenal thing to be a part of. This is especially as most of these citizens had little to no understanding of a listing or buying shares before. That felt like real, meaningful impact!