It is the season of IFUMSA’s elections and as always, Medivoice is here to serve you seasoned interviews and updates. Here with me is the PRO aspirant- Amarachi Nwankwo. Let’s hear what she has to say to IFUMSAITES

Medivoice: Can you introduce yourself to IFUMSAITES. (Name, class, position you are contesting for and any other important thing we need to know)

Amarachi: I am Amarachi, a third year medical student, the Clerk of IFUMSA SRB. I am an aspirant for the position of the Public Relations Officer in the coming IFUMSA 2023 General Elections.

Medivoice:What three fundamental values do you uphold, and how will they contribute to the advancement of this association?

Amarachi: Innovation, Creativity and Excellence. 

These three values have always guided my approach to work, leadership and life. They will continue to do so if I am elected as PRO. 

In terms of Creativity, I have always approached problem solving by challenging myself to explore original and unique ideas. 

In terms of Innovation, I am not afraid to try out new things. 

For example, while planning the Doctor Plus 5.0, I wanted to host a competition that would challenge IFUMSAites to come up with creative solutions to solve problems in the Healthcare sector. 

I did not want those who did not have businesses to be left out, so, I had to think and make research. I was able to come up with the idea for the innovation challenge, an idea that IFUMSA hasn’t done before.

One of the driving forces of this idea was inclusivity, a value I uphold dearly. 

Most pitching contests usually give room only for existing business owners to pitch, excluding those without businesses. But with the innovation challenge, everyone had an equal chance to share their brilliance. 

And finally, Excellence. I strongly believe that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. And this shows in how I pay attention to the littlest of details. 

The IFUMSA SRB media page is one of such examples. My culture of excellence is what my campaign is built on, PROficiency. As PRO, IFUMSAites can be rest assured that they’ll be projected excellently to the world.

Medivoice: Can you explain your understanding of the role of the PRO within IFUMSA? Why are you interested in this position? 

Amarachi: Constitutionally, the Public Relations Officer serves in 3 capacities: Publicity, Communications and Liaison. He/She publicizes all of IFUMSA’s activities not just to IFUMSAites but also within and outside the university and that is publicity. 

He/She also notifies members of the Executive Council and Congress of Executive and Congress meetings and that is communications, pretty much what I do as Clerk. 

Finally, he/she works closely with all organ and club heads and that is the liaison they play. So, I can understand why Dr. Agbaje Tosin, erstwhile IFUMSA President calls the office the image maker of the association. 

This office determines whether or not our association is united. 

If the PRO is slack in communications, especially in moments of crisis, it tells on the association. If the PRO is also slack in publicizing our association, again, it can negatively affect the image of our association. 

To me, the PRO is a community builder. If done well, public relations can bring a sense of unity, community and togetherness in the association and the benefits of this cannot be overemphasized. 

In the last 15 months, we have been through a lot as an association and this has caused some rifts especially because we’ve had certain people project the preclinical vs clinical mindset. 

But if there is one thing I have learnt from the incumbent President, Kolade James Adegoke, it is that in IFUMSA, there is no preclinical and there is no clinical, there is just one IFUMSA. 

This is why I as a preclinical student can chair a committee with the General Secretary who is a clinical student serving as the Vice Chair or Dr. Bush who is also a clinical student serving as the Team Lead for mobilization. 

There are no limits to what we can achieve when we all come together and work as one. 

So, whether it is publicity, communications or liaison, my role as IFUMSA PRO at the end of the day is to build our community through effective public relations. 

And for why I am interested in this position, well, If not me, who? And if not now, when? 

I have worked closely with my predecessors in persons of TB Daniel, Miracle, Joie, Dr. Josh Trager, and Dr. Richard Cross. In May last year, I’ve even had a conversation about our public relations with Dr. Oginni, one of our emeritus PRO who served in the 90s. 

I come armed with insight, hindsight, and foresight. I have the skills, experience and vision to take our public relations to the next level and I am ready to serve IFUMSA in whatever capacity and platform that is available for me to do so.

Medivoice: Who can attest to the fact that you are worth the vote of an average IFUMSAite?

Amarachi: For this, I would say that I have the support of all my predecessors with whom I am in contact with. I think that’s a great starting point. 

Next would be my classmates, members of the SRB, the teams and committees I have worked with and even alumni of our association with whom I have forged a relationship with.

Medivoice: Can you provide examples of your experience in managing social media accounts for a large audience? What results did you achieve?

Amarachi: As the sitting Clerk, I doubled as the Chairperson of the SRB Media Committee. I am proud to say that we won the committee of the year award and no, I cannot take all the credit. I had a great team who did so much to make it happen. 

The point here is that in the 12+ months of being in that office, I pretty much managed our social media accounts. 

I currently intern with Amal Outreach as the content intern. 

I also managed the social media accounts as IFUMSA Care Team PRO under Dr. Damilola Akinbo. 

So I can say I have quite the experience when it comes to social media management and communications.

Medivoice:In a rapidly changing digital landscape, what strategies do you have to keep IFUMSA’s online presence up to date.

Amarachi: My campaign is built on two pillars: Internal and external public relations. My strategy for external public relations with respect to IFUMSA’s online presence is STORYTELLING

I’m not even kidding when I say that  IFUMSA is the most vibrant and versatile community I have experienced.

And believe me when I say this because I have experienced other associations. As someone who is also heavily invested in campus leadership aka Student Union, I can say for a fact that nobody does it like us. 

Academics, leadership, sports, tech, finance, politics, travel, fashion, capacity building, literature, social impact, entrepreneurship, health advocacy, research… We even go into debate competitions with Law students and win. But who tells these stories? Who tells the stories of our brilliance and talent? Who tells the stories of our impact and influence? 

We try our best once in a while, however, I strongly believe that we can and should do better with telling our stories and projecting our community for what we stand for and for who we really are at our core – diverse, versatile and talented.

Medivoice: Can you share examples of successful communication campaigns you have led in the past. What lessons did you learn from them?

Amarachi: I’ll refer to my work with the SRB Media Committee. 

As a first time parliamentarian in my 100 level, I remember thinking to myself how honourables did so much work in building our association. 

They worked in several committees that kept the association running and played a good number of administrative roles that kept us going. 

However, none of this was being documented appropriately. There were no reports, no recognition, nothing. 

Worse still, the general image that IFUMSAites had about the SRB was that we always fought ourselves. This made me determined to represent us appropriately and project the work we did in the SRB. 

I remember telling my secretary Fisayo that our goal was to bring IFUMSA closer to the SRB and the SRB closer to IFUMSA and our award is testament to the great work we did. 

We saw encouraging participation from congress people during sittings. We want to believe that our beautiful flyers and posters played a role in this especially for the notice of sittings.

 I remember for the twelfth sitting, our designer was unavailable and I had to put out a notice without the flyer and someone made a comment about it. That made me realize that people see these things even if they do not talk.

We also got the attention of the college. We have the college following us on social media. Our alumni who served in the House also commended our efforts and showed interest in helping us with improving our documentation process. 

These are just a few of the results we saw in the last one year. The lessons this experience taught me is that you don’t know how important public relations is until you begin to see the benefits. 

My predecessors once mentioned that the office of the public relations officer is the most underfunded office in IFUMSA.

I may not know the validity of this statement because I am not yet in the office, but I sincerely hope that, if elected, my time in office will not witness such a situation. I aspire to channel more resources into public relations.

IFUMSAites should get the PR they deserve for the amazing feats they achieve, and I am ready to give this all it takes.

Medivoice: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing IFUMSA in term of communication? How do you plan to address them?

Amarachi: As I mentioned earlier, we do not tell our stories enough. 

I served as the editor for the Humans of IFUMSA under Miracle and that content was one of the best performing content we had at the time. So, I can confidently say that people want to hear our stories. 

As the content team lead under the sitting PRO, my team and I brought the Leaders of IFUMSA which also performed very well. We introduced educative posts like How-tos and tips and tricks which equally did well. 

I plan to continue these content and also expand our content base. I plan to bring in an open content policy where content creators in IFUMSA can share their content with us. My office will collaborate with people like Jomi, Joie and Dunmomi who make beautiful video content. 

We’ll have a Creatives Community for writers and vloggers. This will give everyone a room to do what they love and get a bigger platform to share their talent. 

For internal public relations, I plan to create an information page. While our general publicity page does a fine job in communications, we often lose vital messages in between the many broadcasts. 

With the information page, we’ll have a content schedule, and whether you want to pass across content from the Executive Council, the SRB, FAMSA, IFMSA, NiMSA, CMDA, FECAMDS, IMHSA, Club, Organ, Committee, or any related group, rest assured that your message will reach IFUMSAites.

Rest assured that IFUMSAites won’t miss out on vital information. This way, IFUMSAites won’t be overwhelmed with information overload while still staying updated.

I also plan to publish an activity schedule at the beginning of every month.

 I have heard comments from IFUMSAites that they wish to participate in the planning of certain events but are unable to do so because they do not get any information on time for when planning begins. 

With the activity schedule, people who are interested in certain activities can reach out to the appropriate contact persons. These are the communication challenges I hope to address in office.

Medivoice: What sets you apart from other candidates running for this post and why should IFUMSAITES trust you?

Amarachi: At the moment, I do not know of anyone else running for this position. And as I have mentioned earlier, we are a community of brilliant minds. So even if I do have another contestant, I know that they’ll be equally as skilled. 

In terms of what sets me apart, I would say I excel in working with teams. I intentionally invested time in building this skill, and it has paid off.

Whether its chairing a large team of over 150 volunteers for Doctor Plus planning or managing a smaller team of 8 people in the SRB media team, I perform very well when it comes to teamwork.

Medivoice: While we wish every candidate  success, in the event that you do not secure victory in this election. Can the association confidently expect your continued support and assistance?

Amarachi: I have this funny story I usually tell. 

It is about my very first election in IFUMSA. I ran for the position of class rep and I lost by an embarrassing margin. But here I am three years later. 

If anyone has a heart to serve, nothing can deter them from serving, not even when they lose an election. 

For example, Chief Badru, today he is my Chairman in IQDC and he did such an amazing job. Marvellous served as the Deputy Chair for our just concluded healt week and she performed so well. 

Miracle also served as the Publicity Team Lead for the healthweek and I cannot count how many times I had to put a call through to him during Doctor Plus planning and he was readily available and ready to help. 

So IFUMSAites can always count on me whether I hold a position or not. I love my community and I will always give my best to the association. 

Medivoice: Any last words for IFUMSAITES? 

Amarachi: To every IFUMSAite, thank you for creating the environment that has made me who I am today. Thank you for your support, your mentorship and everything you do. 

Without each and everyone of you believing in me and supporting me, I wouldn’t have come this far. And it is my hope that should I win this election, I continue to have your support while in office. 

This is all from the PRO aspirant for now. Stay tuned for more.

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