Through hard work and perseverance, Jonifa Ewanga leaped into her PR career at Porter Novelli last year February. She is currently a Junior Account Executive at the global public relations firm.
Porter Novelli opened its doors 50 years ago with the idea that “the art of communication could advance society,” and they were right. With clients like Beiersdorf, Pfizer, Bayer and Sony, their firm’s capabilities speak for themselves.
Jonifa Ewanga joined their team after taking on an internship at a consumer and lifestyle agency. With the advice of a friend, Ewanga mustered up the courage to seek out opportunities and not wait for them to appear. Porter Novelli offered a personable interview process to their naturally shy and admittedly awkward future Junior Executive.
Ewanga values compassion and being gentle with yourself, despite the challenges that come with being a Black professional. Her views are the perfect juxtaposition to the face-paced world of public relations.
Learn more about her journey and how Porter Novelli makes room for her kind of talent.
BYP: What are the inclusive initiatives at Porter Novelli?
Ewanga: We have a DE&I Action Group that is responsible for supporting a culture of belonging through training, events and providing a safe space to talk about topics on our minds. One thing I love about Porter Novelli is the recruitment process. They have implemented a new ‘no cv’ policy which gives everyone an equal chance. I’m awkward and get nervous when it comes to interviews, so I preferred this process. I was able to showcase my skills by providing a panel of 8 with a presentation and show them what I’m made of.
BYP: Are there any misconceptions about the public relations field?
Ewanga: PR is a very fast paced environment, and no two days are the same. You learn so many skills and although many think it’s ‘just marketing’, you actually become very dynamic and can get stuck into many different things. Whether it’s helping to launch a campaign, dealing with creative mailers, writing a press release, managing influencers, the options are endless.
BYP: Have you experienced any obstacles?
Ewanga: Imposture syndrome is something I struggled with. At my previous agency, I was the only Black girl and it made me question my capabilities. It really can make you feel unworthy, but my advice is to get rid of that immediately. It’s easier said than done, but you need to believe you deserve every opportunity that comes your way.
BYP: Did you feel any pressure to behave or act a certain way being the only Black woman?
Ewanga: In the past I have, but not so much now. When you put that on yourself, you take away from being a human first. It’s not fair to put too much pressure on yourself, you can only do your best and be happy with that.
BYP: How have you celebrated your accomplishments?
Ewanga: Last year I won the Client Services Excellence Award. It was exciting because everyone wants to feel valued and acknowledged. For me, it was just basking in that win, and it reaffirmed that I’m on the right path and I’m doing the right thing.
To learn more about Porter Novelli or to apply for their available roles please visit their BYP jobs board here.