Getting the message across

By Drum Digital
29 August 2011

When Reatile Tekateka  gets to work in the morning, the goal uppermost in her mind is to make sure her company’s good reputation remains intact.

In her role as public relations manager, this dynamic 30-year-old works closely with the Liberty Group communications team at their Braamfontein head office to make sure Liberty’s message reaches its audience.

Reatile also liaises with the public on behalf of the group and with other communications professionals in the organisation’s different business units, including Liberty’s property and retail divisions.

Protecting the reputation of her organisation is Reatile’s priority. “I ensure that anything we might say in our various communications is in line with our core values and our brand’s image,” she says. “And I also look for opportunities to profile the company and our people,” she says.

Reatile liaises with journalists and keeps a close eye on how the Liberty group is portrayed in the media. “I receive regular reports on what has been reported in the media and stay abreast of developments in the industry,” she explains.

On a typical day, Reatile deals with queries from the media or the public, making sure that every request is honoured and that the appropriate information is supplied.

She’s also responsible for profiling the organisation by writing press releases, articles and fact sheets, setting up interviews and identifying the right medium for the message.

So what is the secret of her success? “Hard work, and always delivering on my promises.”

But that’s not all – she also believes in treating everyone with respect, and understands the value of teamwork. “Even the shortest communication has a whole team working behind it,” Reatile says.

Best part of the job?

Making technical information relevant to my audience. I need to see things through the eyes of the people I’m speaking to, and getting it right is very rewarding.

What I wear

I try to look professional at all times and dress smartly. I believe that first impressions are lasting impressions!

Perks

I’m constantly exposed to different and exciting challenges.

Stress levels

They can be high as the deadlines are tight – I must admit, though, that I enjoy the pressure.

HOW I BECAME A PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER

I matriculated from Redhill High School in Morningside, Joburg, in 1998 and did a three-year diploma in public relations management through the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) in Joburg from 2002 to 2005.

My first job was as a junior account executive for Dynamo Africa, which has since closed.

After two years I left to join Joburg public relations agency Magna Carta. I was there for a year before being approached to join Blue Financial Services in 2008. I headed up their communications and government relations outside South Africa until I left to join Liberty in 2009.

CHALLENGES

Grasping business issues. Sometimes you have to work with issues outside your comfort zone – and for me, that’s anything related to figures. But I’ve learnt to translate technical information so that it’s easy for someone outside my industry to understand.

HIGHLIGHTS

Working with some of the best minds in the industry and getting to grips with what makes my organisation tick.

PITFALLS

It can be difficult finding a company which values the role of communications – but more companies are realising its importance.

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