Anne Sackey is the Marketing Director at Ghana Climate Innovation Centre and joins us on this segment of Women In Marketing. Mentorship is one of the factors that can contribute positively towards career development. Anne shares her story as well as how mentorship has helped carve her into the professional she is today.
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, ANNE. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born in Kumasi, Ghana and happens to be the second largest town in Ghana.
I had an idyllic childhood playing in the neighbourhood, plucking mangoes, making our go-karts, and being ‘checked’ by all the mothers in the area.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I was quiet, with a good sense of humor. I wasn’t very studious; I winged it through school and in hindsight if I had made more of an effort I’d have had better grades.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Hmmm, a cheetah. It is so elegant and fast and so smart.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
I hate sharing my food. I am an only girl and also played a lot on my own and so I never got the sharing bug. Lol!
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I would secure my daughter’s education. I would get a house and a car for my mother. I would also create a fund that generates a profit to donate to various charities and invest the rest.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, DR. LIEZEL BYGATE SAID THAT SHE IS AN EXPERT HULA-HOOPER!
I love to make things. I just finished making a bed with wooden shipping pallets!!!! I just love seeing things come to life and the results. I also recently just made a clip-on ponytail.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
I fell into marketing by mistake.
I was working in property management. Someone told me about a marketing job with the first telecoms company in Ghana. I applied because it piqued my interest. Once I started working there I realised I loved all the different aspects that made up marketing and that it suited my creativity and organisational skills.
I also realised that to have a career in marketing, I needed the training and certification. I went back to school part-time to get my CIM UK certification and a Masters in Marketing.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK AT HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I start with an espresso – I can’t live without my Nespresso machine. If I wake up early enough (or rather, if my daughter wakes me up) I go for a 30-minute walk. I would then check my Teams/Zoom meeting schedules for the day and arrange other commitments around that.
I then spend some time with my daughter whilst getting her ready for the day (she is 6), and then I get ready and get stuck into work.
HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
It’s been tough. After covid, I am very reluctant to get back into the rigidity of being in the office daily (from 8 to 5), so I figure out a couple of days a week when I can work from home. When I am working at home, however, my mother and daughter tend not to respect my boundaries and expect me to be available to do things and chat – so it’s great to have the option to work from the office or another space.
Exercising during my morning walk is important. It clears my mind and gets my heart pumping.
And finally, I never go to bed without reading. Once everyone is asleep, I like to read a few pages of a novel.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR MSC IN MARKETING FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF GLAMORGAN. YESSS GIRL! ACCORDING TO CNBC, RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY GLASSDOOR FOUND THAT COMPANIES LIKE APPLE, GOOGLE AND IBM (AMONGST OTHERS) OFFER WORK-FROM-HOME JOBS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE ANY FORMAL EDUCATION. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEIR CAREERS PARTICULARLY IF THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO AFFORD A FORMAL EDUCATION?
I did my MSc long distance which meant I had to travel to the University three times during my study period whilst the rest was done via the internet. I did this whilst working full-time. It was tough, but so doable.
There are so many ways to educate yourself these days, it’s all about researching and finding what suits you.
YOU HAVE A GREAT RESUME. YOU’VE WORKED FOR COMPANIES SUCH AS CARSON PRODUCTS, MILLICOM GHANA AS WELL AS THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF GHANA. HOW IMPORTANT HAS LINKEDIN BEEN FOR YOU AND WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN LOOKING TO ESTABLISH THEIR PROFESSIONAL BRAND FOR NETWORKING PURPOSES?
LinkedIn is so powerful and useful for networking, getting people to see you, for job searches, and let’s not forget the amazing and educative articles and training courses available.
I do think that when creating a presence it’s crucial that your profile is well put together and that you’re active and have an opinion about your industry.
SABRA MWAURA WAS A FEATURE FOR OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES. SHE MADE A FEW GOOD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP FOR WOMEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MENTORSHIP?
Mentorship for women is crucial.
I wish I had had someone to guide me through my career and life. I am a member of Women Mentoring Women in Ghana and have had the opportunity to mentor several young ladies who want to work in marketing and have forged some great relationships.
I even had the chance of attending one of my mentees’ weddings. Women juggle so much that there is so much you can pick up from other women who have travelled the same path before you to cut out many of the mistakes and time-wasting.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
I prepare for the week every Sunday and journal each day to make sure I have a clear view of my tasks to ensure I am achieving my targets for the week. It also helps me not to load a day too much such that I don’t achieve anything.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
I think that it is good to stay in a job for at least 2 years to fully make a mark so that you understand that industry. I also think it’s great to experience different sectors to be rounded.
FOR IT’S 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL CMO’S REPORT, FORBES LISTED 31 WOMEN OUT OF 50 CANDIDATES (19 MEN). IT APPEARS THAT MORE WOMEN OCCUPY CMO ROLES COMPARED TO OTHER C-SUITE ROLES. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE?
I think women’s strengths lend themselves well to marketing.
Women pay attention to details, we can multitask, we tend to be creative and very organised – it’s no surprise we thrive in this space.
REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN MARKETING, PARTICULARLY, IN SENIOR ROLES IS ON THE UP. IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN STILL FACE DESPITE THESE CHANGES AND HOW BEST SHOULD THESE BE ADDRESSED?
In Ghana, I think there is a more level playing field, however our need to create a work/life balance especially when kids are involved, is sometimes not encouraged. I think women need to make sure that their input and strengths are recognised by showing up and putting in the work.
ONE OF THE LEARNING CURVES FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, IS THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES TO FACILITATE REMOTE WORK. FOR TECH PLAYERS IN SILICON VALLEY THE TRANSITION WAS RELATIVELY SMOOTH WITH THE LIKES OF FACEBOOK AND TWITTER DESIGNING A FUTURE WHERE THEIR STAFF MAY POTENTIALLY WORK REMOTELY FOREVER. THE ARGUMENT THOUGH, IS THAT THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE COMPANIES TAKEN SO LONG TO IMPLEMENT REMOTE WORK OPPORTUNITIES?
Change is scary even for companies, and so they didn’t even try this until they were forced to by covid. I think they are pleasantly surprised by the results.
WORKING FROM HOME IS AWESOME! MOST OF US CAN AGREE. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT WITHOUT IT’S SET OF CHALLENGES. EMPLOYEE WELLNESS HAS TAKEN A SIGNIFICANT STRAIN WITH PEOPLE WORKING LONGER HOURS AS A RESULT OF EMPLOYEES BEING ‘ALWAYS ON’ AND NOT BEING ABLE TO SWITCH OFF. HOW CAN EMPLOYERS GUARD AGAINST EMPLOYEE BURNOUT OR IN THE WORST EVENT, LOSING THEIR BEST TALENT?
My pet peeve is double and triple booking people for Teams calls at the same time – It’s disrespectful not to check if someone has a prior meeting set before sending another request. Also, do not expect responses after working hours.
BCG PUBLISHED ITS INNOVATION REPORT FOR 2020 AND AT THE CORE OF ITS SELECTION CRITERIA ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MARRIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT MAKES SOMETHING INNOVATIVE?
Anything that serves the customer well and makes their lives easier, that also makes sure that the company is retaining and acquiring customers.
HEMAL THAKKAR, BRAND MANAGER FOR BURGER KING INDIA IS A RECENT WOMEN IN MARKETING FEATURE. ONE OF THE KEY AREAS SHE IDENTIFIED FOR CONTINUED GROWTH IS THAT OF INFLUENCER MARKETING. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF MARKETING LOOK LIKE ACCORDING TO YOU?
Less investment in traditional marketing and more segmented and targeted direct marketing.
2022 AND BEYOND
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Have a plan. Don’t just wing it. Most things do not happen without a plan.
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY, OR BOTH?
Personally – Being a single mother is tough – I hope I am getting it right. Finding the time to have me-time.
Professionally – working remotely, trying to encourage those who report to me to respect working hours and respond timeously and achieve timelines.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
To have raised a well-rounded and happy daughter and professionally to be remembered for being passionate about my job.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
Rihanna, Hillary Clinton….. I have so many.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I read actual books and from a kindle. I am currently reading Barack Obama’s ‘A Promised Land‘.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
I’d love to hone a skill like dressmaking and have a company making clothes or something in the fashion or furnishing industry.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
I do not have a Netflix account!!!! Yikes, am I the only one?
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
My brother, sister-in-law, and nieces and nephew are in London. I still haven’t had time to see them after covid.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
Mansa Nettey of Standard Chartered Bank Ghana.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Be present. Contribute. Be vocal. Be passionate. Be a team player.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME ANNE. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
You can follow me on @annesackeymarketing at Instagram where I showcase amazing Ghanaian companies that are passionate about local content and product branding.