Chartered Marketer and seasoned Public Relations expert, Nana Efua Rockson has been appointed as Head of Communications and Public Relations at the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA), a UNESCO Category II Institute at the University of Cape Coast.
During the course of her career, which spans over two decades, she has garnered invaluable experience, shattered barriers and discarded stereotypes through her verve, passion, dedication to hard work and unparalleled result-oriented drive.
Nana Efua holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) – Marketing option – from the University of Leicester-UK; a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Cape Coast-Ghana, and a Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising from the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).
She has also obtained a Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from Chartered Institute of Marketing, United Kingdom (CIM-UK); a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing jointly offered by the African Institute of Technology & Entrepreneurship (AITE) and the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana (CIMG), where she was adjudged the ‘Overall Best Student’ in Digital Marketing.
In addition to the above, she possesses a Professional Diploma in Insurance from the Ghana Insurance College where she was once again adjudged the ‘Overall Best Student’ in Commercial Insurance.
As evidence of her unrelenting thirst for knowledge, Nana Efua has also participated in several courses and seminars on subjects including: Corporate Governance; Brands Management; Public Relations Protocols; Setting Standards in Corporate Social Responsibility Practice in Ghana; Event Management, among others.
She is an accredited member of CIM-UK, CIM-UK Ghana, CIMG and IPR-Ghana in good standing. She is also an affiliate member of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Ghana (CIIG)
Nana Efua’s expansive career began by her learning the ropes of branding and communications at entry level positions in firms such as Media Magique & Research Systems (MMRS), Media Whiz Kids, ADS Advertising Ltd and later at Emerge Advertising Ltd.
After gaining valuable experience, she served as a Marketing Officer at SIC Insurance Ltd, where she was voted by her colleagues as the “best team mate” within six months of her role. She later also served as the Marketing Manager and later as the Business Manager of Allure Ghana Ltd. She was also the Head of Communications and Fundraising at the SOS Children’s Villages Ghana where she left a lasting legacy of SOS Celebrity Ambassadorship.
Prior to joining the IEPA on her current role, Nana Efua served as the Group Head, Corporate Affairs & Marketing and later was given the responsible as Corporate Affairs and Digital Marketing at GLICO Group Ltd to see to the digitalization drive of the company. During her tenure, she led the brand building, communications (traditional and digital) and corporate reputation management of all the six companies of the GLICO Group, a role she performed admirably to re-catapult the GLICO brand into the limelight.
Nana Efua’s vast professional experience served her well in the discharge of her duties as part of the Public Relations, Events and Stakeholder Committees of the Ghana Insurance Association (GIA).
Achievements and awards
As a reward for her excellent work, Nana Efua Rockson has been adjudged the ‘Woman PR Professional of the Year 2018’ at the African Marketing Awards (AMA).
She was also named as one of West Africa’s Top 20 Marketing & Communications Professionals for her part in steering GLICO GROUP towards being named as the ‘Insurance brand of the Year 2019’ at the Marketing World Awards (AMA), 2019.
Most recently, she has been named as one of the “Top Ten Women in PR Ghana” for the year 2020 by the Women in PR. She was also conferred with ‘The Unsung Hero Award (Insurance Category)’ at the 2020 Ghana Insurance Awards ceremony.
In a chat with the B&FT, Nana Efua Rockson offers thoughts on career transitioning, branding, Public Relations, among others.
B&FT: With the prevailing uncertainty as a result of the pandemic, what informed your decision to make a career move at this time? What advice would you offer to persons considering a career change at this point in time?
NER: It takes a lot of tact and a cocktail of conditions to make a career move. When the IEPA, UNESCO Category II opportunity presented itself, I seized it because I have worked with brands that had a Ghanaian focus and this presented an international and global experience.
I needed that challenge to go beyond my comfort zone and do something different and rewarding. The adrenaline of doing something diverse but familiar; something exciting but daunting; the sheer knowledge of harnessing all the skills acquired throughout my career to bear on a UNESCO brand was the deciding factor.
My advice to persons considering a career move is that “opportunity meets preparedness.” Be confident in your skills, constantly upgrade yourself and brand yourself as an expert in your field through practical application of your skills and when that career opportunity presents itself, consider it in line with your personal vision. Ask yourself these questions: where do I see myself in the next 3-5 years? Will this career move help me achieve my goal? The decision becomes simpler.
B&FT: Why the transition to the education sector?
NER: Education is the key to Africa’s transformational development and I’m confident about this. Besides, IEPA is the leader in educational planning, leadership and administration, so what better ways to make an impact than through the very people IEPA trains to lead, plan and manage to ensure that we are building a future generation of critical thinkers to develop Africa and make it better than it is.
Nonetheless, as a professional marketer, irrespective of the sector or brand, one must be able to apply the right mix of strategies to mold, build or re-invigorate any product or brand to yield expected results. Interestingly, before I joined IEPA, I was with the insurance sector providing peace of mind for an uncertain future.
Before that, I was with a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) raising funds for humanitarian projects. Prior to that, I was in the beauty therapy and wellness sector providing wellbeing. In all these instances and environments, I have been consistent with applying practical innovative marketing skills in achieving desired results and build great brands and that is exactly what I’m going to do at IEPA.
B&FT: The education sector has been one of the worst hit in the COVID 19 pandemic and yet, one which is transforming rapidly, how will your expertise be brought to bear in this new field?
NER: One thing COVID-19 has taught us is the need to re-look at how we plan education and implement its delivery. It has also exposed the gaps in the educational sector and IEPA as a leader in educational planning is going to use research to guide the planning of education. As a matter of fact, research on the impact of COVID 19 on the educational sector is underway as we speak and the insights would provide valuable lessons going forward. I am excited about being part of a team to change hearts and thinking and change the trajectory of educational planning in Africa.
As a branding professional however, I would like to say that “it takes a good brand to brand a brand”. I’m therefore bringing on board proven strategies to guide the communication and dissemination of research findings at IEPA as we build a stronger brand and value proposition to influence decisions on education in Ghana and West Africa.
B&FT: When your time is done, what mark would you like to have left at the institution?
NER: I would want the world to remember that I helped built and transformed IEPA and placed it the IEPA brand on a higher pedestal of being the very best capacity building, research, and educational planning institute not only in the West African sub-region but also the world at large.
But more importantly, I would like to be remembered as the person who helped to demystify educational research findings and packaged it into digestible nuggets for all levels of society because, it is when everyone understands their role in the educational stratosphere and plays it efficiently, that Africa’s transformational development will become a reality.
This, I believe is a gap missing in educational planning and I hope to close it by applying the right mix of communication and Public Relations strategies bespoke for IEPA.
B&FT: What lasting developments do you hope the shock of the COVID 19 pandemic will leave on the art of branding moving forward?
NER: Adversities present opportunities and the world’s greatest inventions were made out of such hardships. The truth is, this pandemic has presented brand communicators the opportunity to think resourcefully, to be versatile yet consistent and disseminate information in the most humane ways.
The dynamics of branding are changing every day and new lessons are being learnt by the hour. Digitalization and Agility is the wave to ride on now and moving forward. The brands that survive this pandemic are the ones that constantly adapted to meet customer needs profitably.
IEPA was established in 1975 jointly by UNESCO, UNDP and the Government of Ghana to ‘Build and strengthen capacity of educational leaders in planning and administration’ as well as ‘Inform educational policy planning and implementation through research’.
In November 2020, IEPA officially became a UNESCO Category II Centre of Excellence for West Africa. The elevation of IEPA to a UNESCO Category II status is part of the commitment of the West African governments to meet the above international agenda for education especially in meeting the SDG 4 which seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”