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Public Relations Practitioners and CEOs Unite at PRAU National Symposium

Man Jose Kayima

In an unprecedented convergence, Public Relations (PR) practitioners and CEOs met at the PRAU National Symposium to bridge the gap between executive expectations and PR capabilities. Held at Golf Course Hotel Kampala, this third annual symposium, organized by the Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU), aimed to foster mutual understanding and collaboration.

This year’s symposium focused on the indispensable yet often overlooked role of PR in organizational success. Top executives from various sectors shared their insights on the critical functions of PR and the expectations they have from communication professionals.

Mr. Sanjay Rughani, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Uganda, delivered the keynote address, emphasizing the need for PR practitioners who can proactively think and strategize for their executives.

“PR practice requires practitioners who can think for their executives and constantly engage with clients to communicate effectively. Every time you manage a crisis, you build your reputation,” Mr. Rughani stated.

The Right Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Guest of Honour, highlighted the pivotal role of PR in shaping the country’s image. “What is Uganda known for?” he asked, urging PR professionals to actively promote Uganda’s achievements and growth. He also noted the challenges practitioners face, often being called upon only in times of crisis without adequate information. “We only call on you when there is a problem, which is not always the best way,” he remarked.

Hon. Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa

Other notable CEOs who contributed to the symposium included: Dr. Barirega Akankwasah, Executive Director, NEMA, John Musinguzi Rujoki, Commissioner General, URA. Nicholas Lutakome, CEO, CIC Insurance.

These leaders provided invaluable perspectives on what CEOs expect from PR practitioners and how these professionals can demonstrate their value and advance their careers. The consensus was clear: PR must justify its existence by effectively breaking down complex messages and integrating itself into the fabric of the businesses it represents.

Panel discussions with top communications managers showcased the intricate workings of the PR function, emphasizing the need to demonstrate tangible impact.

Practitioners were encouraged to stay current with the evolving skills required in today’s volatile and multifaceted PR landscape. Understanding and articulating complex issues to diverse audiences was highlighted as a key competency.

The symposium also served as a platform for learning and engagement within the PR community, offering new entrants and students an introduction to the profession.

Tina Wamala, PRAU President, remarked,

“It is through these continuous engagements and shared learning that we will push ourselves and discover possibilities that lie ahead for us to make a meaningful impact for our organizations, society, and Uganda.”

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