Mammy is Ghanaian-British comms professional with 20 years of agency and in-house experience including retail, fashion, beauty, food, interiors and FMCG brands. She is currently bringing her sparkle to the world of higher education at Manchester Metropolitan University.
She is responsible for the strategic development, planning, delivery of the University’s student communications content, with a focus on using storytelling to drive home the University’s key themes and strategic priorities through engaging and creative content. She is proud that over the last 12 months, Manchester Met’s social media channels content have been viewed over 9m times and been engaged with by over 324,000 people, with an increase in channel growth of 78.4%.
During Covid-19 and BLM, Mammy played a pivotal role at the Manchester Met around race equality and diversity, working closely with the Vice-Chancellor of International and ED&I teams on the Race agenda.
She is part of the StellarHE 2021 cohort, having successfully completed the diverse leadership programme, and is the winner of the 2022 Manchester Metropolitan Award for Service Excellence, and the 2023 Student Experience Initiative Award.
A strong team leader Mammy has a track record of nurturing talent and fostering a happy and high-performing, welcoming and inclusive team culture.
Mammy is unapologetically Black, hugely enthusiastic, has ever-changing hair, a big heart, a big laugh, and is often described as a pocket rocket.
When not working or parenting you’ll find Mammy either reading, listening to a true crime or Black comedy Podcast, brunching, online shopping, or finding an opportunity to have a dance.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
A vivacious, Ghanaian Stopfordian, twin mama.
How did you get into PR/communications?
I started doing law at Uni, as many first-generation kids from African heritage do. I very quickly realised that it wasn’t for me, and one of the only courses I could without deferring was PR…..so PR it was. I joined an agency for eight months, hated it, nearly quit PR, and then found a home at Brazen PR. From there, I worked at a couple more agencies, then landed in-house at Asda for seven years, thanks to Leah Spears. I have worked in higher education for nearly four years now.
What do you love about your job?
I currently lead on communications for a predominately Gen Z audience. I love that through my work, I can get to understand them (as contrary to what you may think, I am not a Gen Zer) and bring them content that relates and resonates. They are a great generation, despite how the media likes to portray them. Delivering comms for this audience keeps my perspectives fresh and as someone who loves to learn daily, this allows to me to do that.
What are you most proud of?
My twin girls Effie and Ama are my proudest achievement. I never thought I wanted to have my own family. Being the oldest child in a Ghanaian household nearly extinguished my maternal instincts. They are my light, my joy, my passion, and my everything.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
That not everyone will like you, and that’s okay. It’s human nature to want to everyone to like you but it’s okay not to be everyone’s favourite if you are treated respectfully.
Who are your favourite people in PR and why?
I have a squad of amazing people called the Brazen Old Skool – a mixture of people still at Brazen and alumni – like myself. We started our careers together and have stuck together through weddings, births, divorces, relocations, and bereavements. Each one of them holds a very special place in my heart, so a massive shout out to Louise Jacobson, Leah Spears, Sasha Makel, Peter Burling, Marcella Clarke, Daisy Pickles, Chris Dunne, and Kate Stote.
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
Active listening. It’s so easy to just listen – either to a stakeholder, a colleague, or a client but we need to make a conscious effort not to just hear what people are saying but to take it in, digest it, and understand. It’s important for communicators to be able to fully concentrate on what is being said as this will allow us to learn and understand better, build better relationships, improve problem solving skills, and absorb information better.
What is your favourite social network and why?
WhatsApp. It’s where I am my truest self and it allows me to keep connected to my family and friends, especially those who don’t live in the UK.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
ShxtsnGigs – James and Fuhad are my boys. Probably not what is expected from me, but they are so funny and remind me of having bants with my little brother. I love nothing more than listening to them on Monday mornings on my way into the office. I also had to the opportunity to watch them live and it did not disappoint.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu. Her work on anti-racism is amazing. She is fearless, the abuse she gets on Twitter and via the media is outrageous, yet she keeps on fighting the good fight with humour and class.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t let anyone dull your shine. Being a BME person, it can often feel like our shine is tarnished everyday through microaggressions or self-doubt. However, don’t let foolish people dull the glow – you deserve to be in the room and at the head of the table!
12. Biggest PR campaign fail and yay of 2023 so far?
Yay – Superbowl Rihanna Fenty Beauty
This was Rihanna’s first live performance in over half a decade. There was a lot (as always) of pre-social media noise around ‘would this be where she finally announces a new album?’ but, in true Rihanna fashion, she announced her second pregnancy in a spectacular way instead.
She plugged her brand Fenty, mid-performance by topping up her makeup, mid-show. This simple and, I’m sure carefully planned act, caused a massive stir – with web and social media searches for the brand increasing by 833% according to Famous Campaigns. Allegedly, the business also scooped $5m in ‘media value’, says WWD. Her latest product releases were also Superbowl themed, tying the whole thing together with a neat bow.
This campaign ticked all the boxes for me – clear messaging, creative storytelling, a multi-channel approach, and measurable objectives.
Fail – The Daily Mail Caucasian ghost-writing for Black people.
Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be the fall of the Daily Mail as it’s like Teflon. However, the PR fail exposed by whistleblower Dominique Samuels has been an interesting one to see take shape. Regular columnist Nana Akua and GB News presenter, Esther Krakue, a Talk TV presenter, and others have all been approached for comment but for now they stay quiet.
As Economist Professor Jonathan Portes commented: “Even by the standards of the Daily Mail, this is pretty jaw-dropping…” and I agree! Let’s see how this unfolds and how they respond to these accusations of racism laundering.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
Companies should get Blueprinted for a start – having a common set of standards will be a quick step to ensure that diversity isn’t just something that is shoved onto a web page but becomes embedded within the DNA and culture of an organisation.
I’m a big believer that we need to stop focusing on hiring young talent with only degrees from Russell Group universities. University itself is a privilege, that I had, but that route is not accessible or wanted by everyone. We need to start looking at what are the skills and attributes we want in the sector for the future and then create cultures that embrace and welcome them – so we can keep them.
Tear up your recruitment adverts and start again, focusing on who you want to work with, what do you need them to bring and who do you want to be your legacy.
Mammy was awarded a place on The Xec. Leadership Scheme for UK-based Black, Asian, Mixed Race, and Ethnic Minority PR and comms pros. She is part of the class of 2024.