In a world where projects often go off the rails, Arlene Ayirah emerges as a beacon of hope and success. A project manager with a Midas touch, Arlene has an uncanny ability to transform even the most challenging projects into resounding victories.
At Africa 118 Inc., Arlene has played a pivotal role in spearheading several high-profile projects, consistently delivering results that exceed expectations. Her reputation as a project management virtuoso precedes her, earning her the admiration of colleagues and clients.
Here is her story:
Briefly tell us about yourself
I am Arlene Ayirah, a seasoned Communications and Digital Marketing Leader with over seven years of experience developing and executing effective communication and digital strategies that drive organizational success. My expertise lies in harnessing the power of strategic communication and digital technologies to amplify brand presence, engage target audiences, and achieve business objectives.
What does your role as a Project Manager at Africa 118 Inc. entail?
As a Project Manager at Africa 118 Inc., I oversee and lead a team of 13 Digital Marketing Specialists. Our primary focus was the successful implementation of digital tools for more than 1000 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya as part of the DLP program. This involved managing various aspects of the project, such as Team Supervision, managing stakeholder relationships, documenting processes, providing leadership and training, and ensuring the project’s overall success.
What are the typical projects you oversee at Africa 118 Inc?
Digital Launchpad Project – Kenya Division and collaborating with my colleagues in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ghana.
What are some of the challenges you face in managing projects in Africa?
SMEs still need help believing that the digital space can be their new standard when positioning their brands and marketing their products. The DLP project, however, was and is still an essential part of bridging that gap and making digitization a norm.
How do you ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget?
I do my best to understand the brief and what is required whenever a task is ahead of me. From there, I work smart to deliver mostly ahead of schedule so there is room to make necessary adjustments and changes.
What are some of the project management tools and methodologies you use?
I have used Asana and Jira a lot to help me organize my work, timelines and teams. Working with a Google featured partner has also allowed me to use the Google tools to collaborate seamlessly with my colleagues across multiple countries and in different timezones.
On work-life balance, what are your hobbies?
I enjoy a good swim, silence and games depending on my mood at a given time. Recently, I have also picked up attending social events, especially those that revolve around a good story or music.
How do you measure the impact of your projects on the African community?
In the last two years, I have conducted needs analysis and internal impact surveys to find out how well the project is doing and discover areas of improvement. This has helped us listen more to our clients and tailor solutions around them. This allows us to remain customer-centric but also impactful.
What are some of the lessons you have learned from managing projects in Africa?
To be bold and take up challenges. Often, how a project is set up or incepted is only sometimes how it goes. And so when a challenge arises, it is essential to remember that at the end of the day, the results will still need to be seen, so finding ways to navigate, adjust or optimize operations is a better path.
What advice would you give aspiring project managers who want to work in Africa?
Do your research, have a goal and keep improving your craft continuously.
What excites you most about the future of project management in Africa?
The possibility of having more projects towards digitization and impacting the people of Africa towards a digital/tech-savvy economy.
What is your favourite Quote?
“Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, often over, what you put into it.” — Maya Angelou.