Welcome to the Catalyst Member Spotlight series. Catalyst prioritizes sharing members’ stories to showcase the breadth of the IABC community, connect communicators across the globe and elevate personal stories to inspire fellow members. If you’d like to nominate yourself or a standout colleague to be featured in a spotlight, email the Catalyst editors at email@example.com for more information.
Meet IABC member Wemimo Onikan, based in the Waterloo and Ottawa chapters. With more than 11 years of experience in the field, Wemimo is an internal communications manager. Here, Wemimo shares an anecdote about the importance of bringing your uniqueness to the work you do. Plus, read some inspiring career advice. Get to know Wemimo below, and connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
What is the most exciting aspect of your role as a communicator?
That would be strategy! The ability to think through a large endeavor, brainstorm the possible tactics to adopt for the results you want and then execute it is quite exciting.
The best part is when you see the results come through after all your hard work. For every communicator, that’s golden.
Tell us about a situation or project that made you feel valued as a communicator.
About a year ago, my team and I were confronted with a crisis that needed to be handled properly. It had a diversity and inclusion twist to it and involved members of a Black community. Being Black myself, I was called in to provide counsel on how to best manage the issue. It was helpful to bring not only my professional advice but also contextual knowledge, which proved valuable in managing a brewing crisis that could have turned worse. When we bring our uniqueness to the work we do, it makes a huge difference for our organizations, beyond our technical knowledge.
Think back on a time when you, as a communicator, collaborated with another department to bring a project to life. What made this process successful?
At some point in my career, I had the responsibility of leading communications and community engagement for a nonprofit across more than 160 communities. A part of my role involved creating various information, education and communication materials including videos, photos, posters, brochures, flyers and so on.
Taking on a task like this meant that, every now and then, I needed the support of other non-communications team members, e.g., the procurement department, program implementation, finance, human resources and, in some cases, even IT. While I led the core content development process among other things, I worked closely with the program implementation team to ensure whatever materials we were developing met their needs at the community level.
I needed the support of HR to hire consultants. I needed procurement to help with sourcing the right vendors to produce printed materials after design. I had to connect with IT to ensure any technology-related component was well taken care of. The finance department made sure funding requests and payments went through. At key points throughout the entire process, I had to check back with the program team and community members for appropriateness, language translations and pretest of drafts before finalizing. The monitoring and evaluation teams were also involved in supporting regular data collection and impact assessment.
The process was successful because we ensured that every key project stakeholder was carried along. Connecting with each department before starting also helped greatly, so every stakeholder had a say early enough before it got too late into execution.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it?
I once heard a career counselor say, “What do you love doing that comes naturally to you? Get a job to do just that! Each day of work will be exciting, and the pay that comes with the job will simply feel like a plus!” That has stuck with me ever since.
Tell us a favorite resource that helps you stay connected and informed in the industry.
That would be Ragan Daily Headlines, a Ragan Communications newsletter.
Interested in joining the IABC community to collaborate with professionals like Wemimo? Become a member of our global network today.
IABC Staff, Featuring Wemimo Onikan