Interview with Ruzanna Hovhannisyan, head of Public Relations and Marketing department of “Enlight” Public Research Center NGO.
You have been a part of the “Enlight” team for about 4 years. Would you talk about the path you have gone through, հow you joined the team and started your career?
I joined the organization in 2016, along with the opening of the French department. All analyses were to be translated into French and they needed a person who would develop content in French on social networks in order to make our materials available to the French-speaking audience. After a while I started to work with Russian, English and then Armenian materials, too. In 2018, when the renaming of the organization was in process and the audience was growing significantly, the council decided to create the social media and marketing department the coordination of which was given to me. Then, the media and the social media departments joined, and I continued the coordination.
As the head of the “Public Relations and Marketing” department, what strategies have you developed or are implementing to improve the work of the department? What steps are you taking to ensure the desired quality?
This is the largest department of the organization. Therefore, organizing systematic work is quite an interesting and serious challenge at the same time. The main strategy is division of tasks. Everyone has its function and particular responsibilities; tasks are completed separately and then work is generalized after united discussions. Each publication posted on social media passes through several stages of processing; the same is in case of photo and video content. Occasionally, we change the roles and functions within the department, which helps members not to get bored and try to reveal their skills in other areas or to gain new skills. Quality is assured as a result of cooperation within the department or with other departments and through consistent work.
During your activity as a head of the department, what do you consider to be your and your department’s key achievement and success?
The hardest and the most important process was the creation of the team, strategy development, and the creation of a healthy working environment. The first success occurred, when the tasks were put on their “wheels” and the department started its successful process; I associate this with the idea of the major success. And the key achievement is the implementation of the main function of our department, making available the analyses, articles, and the whole material resources to the public.
“Enlight” has its platform on several social media networks, where people of various interests and preferences are registered. We try to make our content available to everyone, maintaining our style and principles at the same time.
What do you think is the key to the creation of a good team? How to build trust and respect for one another?
In order to build mutual trust and respect one should see and accept the talents of others. When people notice and try to support “crazy” or unrealistic ideas of others, encourage one another, they find themselves in a warm and pleasant environment, where they are the mood creators themselves. The key is to give a little freedom to people, then to be consistent and supportive during the process of implementing the ideas.
What are the most important skills that you have gained and now use in this position? What do you prioritize at work?
Flexibility, the ability to find free time when being overloaded, maybe tolerance. I prioritize listening, understanding, and finding solutions. Often I let my teammates make decisions by themselves. This increases the feeling of responsibility.
Let’s focus on professional education. Do you think it is necessary to have special professional education to work in this field? Can self-education and experience completely replace professional education?
When self-education and professional education are put on the same level and we try to compare them or separate them from each other, something is already going wrong. In my opinion, these two should be inseparable, one complements the other, but never replaces. I think that working in this field one should have either good language skills or good technical knowledge, adding marketer skills will create an ideal specialist. When one of the components of this chain is absent, everything becomes incomplete.
How the new coronavirus pandemic affected “Enlight”, particularly the department you lead?
As the work mainly was carried out remotely before the pandemic outbreak, no major changes have taken place. The influence was not negative, too. We have just deviated from a beautiful tradition for several months, when we used to organize meetings outdoors or in the office once in two or three weeks. Although I hope that we will be able to restore this tradition soon.
What work is being carried out during this period? What can we expect from your team in future?
During this period “Enlight” has numerous great ideas and programs that are on their way to implementation. Our team is also included in that work and is ready to illustrate everything. Also, we have plans to carry out new projects which I would still like to keep secret. We want to resume our EnlightQuizzes soon.
The interview was held by Anna Manukyan.
Translator: Marieta Stepanyan © All rights reserved.