Ilke Platt-Akwenye: Parlaying fame into fortune

A mother, wife, TV host, communications aficionado and now an entrepreneur, Ilke Platt-Akwenye has worn many hats.

From NBC, past Sanlam to Old Mutual, she has graced corporate positions with hard work, self-determination and an aura of faith.

Today the vivacious IIke has left Old Mutual albeit after a short-stint to set-up her own comms empire, Poiyah, inspired by the need to complete her Master’s Degree.

She has risen from Cutie, the girlish singing sensation-turned TV star into PR czar. But that’s just half the story. What she has done, and is doing, has leveraged her television success into entrepreneurial gold.

For one, a mother and wife to mogul Nelson ‘Dicky’ Akwenye, it has not taken long for Ilke to transform her style into a strong business brand.

“Sanlam allowed me to become innovative and embraced my new ideas and suggestions. I am proud that initiatives such as the Sanlam Innovation Works, was created after much research done in terms of identifying a need for entrepreneurial projects.

I’ve developed the ability to work smarter and not necessarily harder. Many times, you find yourself everywhere and not executing a single task. Time management is everything. I’ve learned how to become more selfish with my time to ensure that the execution instills quality,” she tells Us.

And from May this year, Old Mutual. With a new team that she met at Old Mutual, she had to learn the ins and outs of what works for Old Mutual.

Still, her ballooning fan base grew with her from Linked-In to Facebook and other social media handles.

It was here that it clicked that bridging TV fame and PR fame with smart commerce is not easy. It needed a Masters. Now a Ph.D. is in the offing.

“I look forward to finalizing my Masters and presenting the results to Old Mutual. My thesis focuses on its corporate social responsibility, alignment with impact from beneficiaries’ feedback and the element of sustainability.

I believe with these findings it will allow Old Mutual to make necessary changes with researched information provided. Taking my studies, a step further will allow me to continue bringing change in the industry I have specialized in,” Ilke says.

Her drive comes from family support and the ability to succeed at something always gives her a push to do even more. The failure of a project encourages me to work even harder.

Ilke’s journey has been about personal brand and the ability to create a reputation that’s easily relatable and reliable.

She has used this to her advantage to prove her work/worth in the corporate industry. This has allowed her to venture into so many different avenues, including radio, TV, acting, and now her public relations baby, Poiyah.

So Ilke’s latest coup, a nomination as part 2017’s Economist Businesswoman of the year comes as a surprise to no one. She attests, beauty without a sound business plan and a quality product, no company can succeed.

“It has allowed me to cross paths with inspirational individuals who still seek networking platforms simply for encouragement. I advise young women to observe those hard working Namibian females and to make a deliberate effort to share the same platforms. More specifically in public relations and communications its critical to get yourself out there and associate with like-minded individuals.”

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