High achiever and communications specialist, Faith Rapuleng Tuelo scooped a Director’s Award, which is a prestigious honour bestowed on the best student in the Management Development Programme she completed recently.
Apart from being the Manager, Marketing Communications and Stakeholder Relations Officer at Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), Tuelo is also Public Relations officer of Southern Africa (PRISA) Botswana Chapter Chairperson.
Before joining the PR industry she was a journalist and a marketing officer at Mmegi Newspaper.
Last week she graduated from the Management Development Programme offered by the University of Stellenbosch, sponsored by her employer, HRDC.
Voice Reporter Portia Ngwako-Mlilo interviewed Tuelo about her public relations journey and the award she recently won.
Q. What does this award mean to you?
This is a reward of dedication, commitment and the hard work I have put in this programme.
I was very dedicated and not dwelling much on the challenges that came with my studies.
This award means growth, self -discovery and recognition.
Q. Why was it important to do the progamme?
After working as a manager in public relations for about 10 years now we now had to assess ourselves as HRDC managers in different departments to see if we are going the right direction.
It was important to upgrade our skills and learn about the new trends in the industry.
It is a management programme that aims to equip managers to become more effective in their roles.
I have learnt a lot of concepts among them Business Sustainability and Risk Management, People Management, Conflict Resolution in the Workplace, Mentoring and Coaching as well as Effective Internal Communications.
It has equipped me with the necessary skills and competencies to effectively implement HRDC’s strategic objectives.
Q. How challenging was it working and doing this programme at the same time?
It was not an easy journey. I had to balance between my family, work and my studies.
I was doing a lot of research, analyzing data, which demanded time.
In some assignments we were working in groups and from HRDC we were five so we helped each other to do the research and presentations.
Q. You seem to be passionate about education?
My passion for academics is inspired by a world famous preacher, T D Jakes when he said, “if you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion for your passion will lead you right into your purpose.”
I am currently doing my PHD and next year I will be Dr Tuelo. Knowledge is power.
Q. What does PRISA do?
This is public relations practitioners and communications association. The regional one is based in South Africa for southern region.
We do ethics and professional development. We are annually assessed to find out if we are doing the right thing.
They call our management for feedback so that they can renew your membership. Right now I am at a chartered public relations practitioner stage.
I am only left with one more accreditation to qualify as an international PR practitioner.
I joined it in 2006 when I was a communications officer at Botswana Post.
I enrolled in intensive training that helped me to grow professionally.
We train members in media writing; public relations practice, writing press releases and Public Relations Management among others.
Q. What does your job entail as a Manager Stakeholder Relations?
Basically it is to promote a company’s mission mandate and services.
I am responsible for conveying an organisation’s internal and external messages.
I also ensure that our stakeholders are happy at all times and provide them with adequate information.
I manage organization crises and coordinate our Corporate Social Responsibility projects across Botswana.
Last week we handed over a library at East Hanahai Primary and we have adopted a primary school in Malatswai to help them improve their Primary School Leaving Examination results.
Q. What are some of the challenges that come with your job?
It is not easy to deal with people of different characters, expectations and organizational culture.
Other stakeholders are hostile especially that HRDC is in transition from resource based to knowledge based economy.
Some of the challenges however have to do with budgetary constraints.
One might have a good stakeholder programme but fail to deliver on it because of limited resources.
Q. How easy or difficult was it to adapt to PR from being a scribe?
It was easy because of the support I got from my mentor Keogaile Rafifing, the current BIUST Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs.
He was my Manager at Botswana Post and he took me through the transition. He believed so much in me and it helped me to grow professionally.
He had a mentorship programme in our department and every week he would assess my progress.
He also gave me a responsibility to mentor other temporary officers.
Q. Apart from this award, what are some of the highlights of your career at HRDC?
HRDC is an employer of choice; they invest in developing their people. I joined them as a Public Relations Officer in 2009 and today I am a manager.
They paid for my MSc and now they are sponsoring me for my PHD, which I am grateful for.
I get a lot of support from our Chief Executive Officer Raphael Dingalo and Chief Operations Officer Meshack Tafa.
They are actually the ones who influenced me to enroll in Management Development Programme.
Q. Who is your inspiration?
I have a lot of people that inspire me. At work it is my CEO Raphael Dingalo and COO Meshack Tafa.
My mother has always encouraged me to work hard. My pastors at Apostolic Faith Mission Tlokweng branch who I really look up to and of course TD Jakes.
Q. What are your expectations on the new President Masisi?
He talked about improving education and training and also creation of employment opportunities.
This is something that is close to my heart and we will work with him to ensure that he achieves that.
We cannot keep on supplying the market with graduates who can’t find employment.
The government needs to invest in educating and developing their people so that they can export human capital, which contributes to their GDP.
Q. How do you relax?
I read a lot and do research for my PHD project during my spare time. I also like spending time with my family, husband and our two kids.
I like traveling and chilling with friends, sharing ideas of self- empowerment and personal growth.
Q. What advice would you give to young upcoming PR persons?
Believe in yourself. Stay positive and focused on what you want to achieve in life. You have to develop a habit of reading because PR is all about learning something new every day in your life.
Q. Thank God it’s Friday, how will you be spending your weekend?
I will be spending time with my adopted family at Old Naledi. Back in 2004 when I was still at Mmegi my workmate did a story about a less privileged family and I decided to help them.
When God has blessed you with something ensure that you touch someone’s life.
Every month I buy grocery and toiletry for the family.