You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.
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“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” This is the story of Alima Atta, one of the very few women to run a PR consultancy till date.
Alima Atta is the founder of Sesema PR which has been running for 13 years. The company has spearheaded a lot of perception management campaigns for different local and international brands. It took more than the need to make money for Alima to have been this successful, it was the drive to have a good name and reputation in the male-dominated industry she had pitched her tent in.
After her first degree, she worked in several companies where she got different skill set which later helped to hone her interesting skills in the PR industry, as advised by a recruitment consultant. She started her PR Company, Sesema PR, in a room in her mother’s office. She knew she wasn’t cut out for the 9-5 working lifestyle. She wanted to work for herself. She faced a lot of challenges as any normal start up business would, but the most challenging was getting qualified staff. She also had to deal with issues of being turned down by prospective clients because of gender. Although, the same gender issue had also gotten her some clients because they needed a woman’s approach.
Born into a family with a strong belief that “having a good name, strong morals and decency are more important than anything”, she transferred those strong beliefs into her work ethics which was reflected in the way she managed her business over the years. She came up with a lot of ideas to help build the brand’s quality to what it’s known for today. First was a scholarship idea which was to take two students who were the top of their class and sponsor them through their course and then they come into her company to get practical training in the field. This helped her to develop the quality manpower that was required for her business. The second was a business talk show she hosted on Smooth FM 98.1 which was sponsored by VISA.
Her constant dissatisfaction with her level makes her think beyond that level to seek more room for improvement, either for herself or for the company. This, according Alima, has helped maintain a good name for the company as well as improve on her success, and that of the company, over the years. Her first client was Cisco Systems which a friend helped her set up and this was helpful in getting other clients. Her company now employs over 10 staff, and some of her clients include British American Tobacco, Hewlett Packard, and Hennessy Cognac.