May 9, 2023
Mona Fouad, is the Internal and External Communications Manager for ABB in Egypt and North Africa, with 24 years of professional experience in public relations, and marketing and communications. Fouad has always been passionate about supporting her team members and empowering them to become the best they can, and to speak their mind freely. She continuously encourages them to put their ideas into actions.
WoE: What sparked your interest in public relations and marketing? Can you describe the moment you realized this was a field you’d like to pursue?
Mona Fouad: Public Relations is a very interesting field to work in, when you think about it, you find out the people are doing PR every day, all the time. As the words suggest “public” “relations” is the act of creating relations with your desired public. At the beginning of my career 24 years ago, PR started to become a necessity for businesses and corporate, to highlight their news and activations through traditional media i.e., newspapers and TV and radio. Later, with the advent of internet and social media, the concept of establishing relations with the public, became more complex and more targeted.
Each PR professional had to change the way they perceive their relations with their public; this profession hence started to become more of a lifestyle than just a job. They say: “Knowledge is Power”; whether you acquire this knowledge through online or on social media, every time, there is something that will catch my eye and, knowing my audience/public well, it turns into an opportunity for my company, something that can be turned into a successful activation, campaign, an interview or a success story, highlighting my team or the capabilities of my company. Every day is a new idea, every time is new success, who wouldn’t be hooked!
WoE: Communication field is an intense major. What was the most challenging part of your college experience? Did you ever experience any uncertainty that this was the path for you?
MF: I studied French literature and European history in college. Studying French language has greatly influenced my life and my career. French is a language that pays attention to details and description. The most challenging part in college was to try to express your ideas when analyzing a certain text or a novel, trying to understand who wrote it, why and to whom. This is why I always say that I chose the right path for my life working in PR. It allowed me to better understand my job as a communication manager, analyze the requirement of external and internal communication inside my company, better help my team react in the right way towards their colleagues and targeted audience.
WoE:Tell us what did you learn from your job that you couldn’t have learned in the classroom?
MF: The first thing that comes to my mind is “passion”, everyone needs to love what they do until they do what they love. Passion at work is a great driver to succeed and to bring success to my colleagues as well.
WoE: Describe your job. What are your roles and responsibilities? What does an average day look like for you?
MF: A day in the life of a communication manager, a working mom, and a wife, working for ABB in Egypt is a busy and challenging one. I am responsible for managing the communication flow between ABB and its stakeholders to ensure that the company’s message is clear and consistent. The day typically starts early, around 6 am to get my family ready for the day and after that I head to work.
At work, I spend most of my time attending meetings with other department heads, discussing ongoing projects, and reviewing communication plans, and prepare and present communication strategies to senior management. I am also responsible for managing ABB’s social media channels, responds to inquiries and comments, and plan and arrange events and PR activities.
Balancing work and family life can be a challenge, but I always try to spend quality time with my family, helping my son with homework, allowing him to become more responsible as he grows up and utilize the best of his skills in a positive way. Overall, my day is hectic but fulfilling. But I do believe that keeping a healthy balance between my professional responsibilities and my family obligations, is the key to success.
WoE: What are the biggest misconceptions people have about your job?
MF: There are several common misconceptions that people have about the job of a female communication manager. First, people think that it’s an easy, “fluffy” job – many people assume that communication managers just write press releases and social media posts all day. However, the reality is that the job requires a high level of strategic thinking, creativity, and business acumen. Communication managers are responsible for developing and executing communication strategies that help achieve the company’s goals, reach out to stakeholders, and manage the company’s reputation.
Another common misconception is that communication managers are just glorified administrators. While administrative tasks are a part of the job, communication managers play a crucial role in shaping the company’s image and reputation.
The third misconception is that it’s a job that requires working long hours – while it’s true that there are times when communication managers must work long hours, this is not always the case. Overall, the job of a female communication manager requires a balance of technical and strategic skills, and misconceptions about the role can lead to a lack of appreciation for the important work that they do.
WoE: What challenges do you face as a woman in the public relations and marketing world?
MF: Public relations and marketing are two of the most fast paced and dynamic industries in the world. Women in public relations and marketing face multiple challenges as they strive to achieve their professional goals. From gender bias to balancing work and home life to navigating a male-dominated industry, the obstacles in their way require determination, resilience, and hard work. Women must continue to break down barriers in the industry, creating a pathway for future generations of women in this field.
WoE: What advice do you have for women interested in public relations and marketing?
MF: Public relations and marketing offer a variety of opportunities for women in Egypt today. My advice to women interested in Public Relations and Marketing is to build a strong network which will enable opportunities and create connections that can enable them to build relationships with clients, co-workers, and other professionals in the industry. They must also consider having a social media presence which provides a professional reflection of their personality and career objectives as well as an informative, engaging, and industry-relevant content that will distinguish them from their peers. They should always keep in mind that perseverance, determination, and continued effort will lead to success.
WoE: Finally, what do you wake up looking forward to? What’s next for your career?
MF: Any public relations professional knows that everyday for us is a new challenge. The word “new” is our daily motto. Innovative PR campaigns call for creative thinkers who can build effective plans that create an emotional connection, engage audiences, and leave lasting impressions. This is what I wake up for: innovative PR. With new technological resources, social media and live streaming, public relations professionals have innovated new ways of disseminating content and conveying the desired message, aimed at improving the industry’s overall quality.
Adopting new skills, leveraging data insights, and embracing new technologies can enable public relations professionals to tackle the contemporary challenges presented by an increasingly digital world to achieve maximum value for clients. By pursuing these strategies, PR campaigns can stay fresh, unique, and innovative, leading to better results and increased overall impact.