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PRSA Member Spotlight: Eric Kwame Adae, Ph.D.

PRSA Iowa member Eric Kwame Adae, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of public relations at Drake University. Originally from Ghana, West Africa, Dr. Adae has worked in public relations for more than 15 years. He recently completed his APR and also holds accreditation in Ghana.

Learn more about him, his career, and the process of completing the APR below. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself: 

I hail from Ghana in West Africa, where I obtained undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Ghana. I earned a doctorate degree in media and communication from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in June 2020. I am an accredited member of the Institute of Public Relations (Ghana), associated with the Advertising Association of Ghana and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (Ghana).

I was a media and communications consultant for about 15 years in Ghana, with some experience in public relations, advertising, brand development and management, event management, and strategic change communication.

I would like to be recognized as a leading media/communication scholar and consultant of African origin, with specializations in public relations, corporate social advocacy, and Afrocentric philosophy. I seek to help unlock the challenges to global development by undertaking relevant research and publication, teaching, community service, media/communication consulting, and active scholarship that speaks to the deepest-cutting present-day issues.

You’ve worked in multiple industries and countries. Tell us about your career path so far:

Before pursuing doctoral studies, I was a communication consultant in Ghana. I originally wanted to become a certified public accountant, so my early career saw me working as a trainee accountant at the Ghana office of KPMG, the global accounting and management consultancy. I pursued this initial career path until I met my mentor David Ampofo who asked me to join his communication firm Channel Two Communications in Ghana. It turned out to be an awesome career move since I totally fell in love with strategic communications and quickly forgot about the dream of becoming an accountant.

My professional experience is an interesting mix that straddles various roles, profit orientations, and operating contexts. These include PR consultancies, in-house communication departments, and branding and advertising agencies. My experiences include the private sector, Ghana’s public sector, nonprofits, and the World Bank system in West Africa.

I have taught diverse communication courses at institutions of higher learning in Ghana and in the United States. I have contributed to some publications on CEO activism, brand activism, public relations for social responsibility, responsible management, sales, and marketing.

I strongly believe in conducting relevant research that would positively position our field for the future. My research seeks to empower people to achieve their fullest potential in a sustainable manner while embracing and celebrating their social identities. This research agenda is positioned at the intersection of social justice, corporate social advocacy, critical public relations, corporate social responsibility/sustainability, and culture.

My current research examines situations where corporate social advocacy, environmental conservation, and socioeconomic development collide with intersectional social justice issues such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability, citizenship, and other axes of inequality and oppression.

Some of my latest research interrogates the phenomenon of CEO activism in non-Western contexts. Especially, I focus on applying alternative lenses of Afrocentrism and postmodernism in addressing some gaps in the current literature on public relations for social responsibility, responsible management and leadership.

How did you get involved with PRSA Iowa?

My involvement with PRSA Iowa started when I got a beautiful job as an assistant professor of public relations at the Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Professor Kelly Bruhn, Associate Professor Jennifer Konfrst, and Dean Professor Kathleen Richardson encouraged me to join PRSA Iowa. Although I am already an accredited public relations practitioner in Ghana, I felt the need to pursue the accreditation process of the PRSA, as a matter of necessity. This saw me joining the PRSA Iowa chapter. 

I am firm in the belief that if you want to flourish as a public relations professional, you need to join the largest and most reputable association so you can profit from the generous mentoring, training and development, special events, and professional networking opportunities afforded.

You recently completed the APR boot camp. What can you tell other PR professionals about the experience and the benefits it may offer?

Participating in the boot camp was an eye-opener since it was a thoroughly enriching experience. Every facet of this refresher course was well thought-out. The topics are laser-focused on preparing and priming participants to totally recall all the public relations principles, theories, models, roles, functions, and practices necessary to ace both the PRSA panel presentation and online multiple-choice examination. The resource persons who led in discussing the various modules are experienced and exceptionally accomplished members who have remained at the cutting edge of public relations practice.

Importantly, this boot camp connected me with many new professional colleagues and like-minded individuals who also share my passion for public relations and who are on the same journey to become accredited members of the PRSA. Some of us have maintained a very profitable study and accountability group that meets weekly to keep members on their toes and steaming ahead to become accredited PRSA members.

For me, it is a no-brainer that any serious-minded public relations professional chasing PRSA accreditation should, as a matter of course, go through this boot camp. It will help you recall everything you need to remember, offer you the best study resources, connect you with brilliant colleagues, challenge you to be your best, and effectively set you up for success in the examinations and beyond.

How can PRSA Iowa members offer support to PR students, not only at Drake University but at the many colleges in Iowa?

PRSA Iowa members can do so much to support the next generation of PR practitioners. They can open many doors of internship and employment opportunities for PR students; propose that their clients/employers establish scholarships, grants, and similar endowments at selected universities to support students; prepare and publish mini cases that students can study; become guest lecturers and adjunct professors; maintain blogs that publish their experiences for the benefit of aspiring professionals; and serve as mentors. PRSA Iowa members can also consider publishing working manuals and books on various public relations specialisms or practices.

Source: PRSA Newsletter 21, Originally published on Jun. 17, 2021 

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