Rotarian Elisa Graham Classification Talk
Elisa Graham’s Classification Talk
My name is Elisa Graham and I am the Public Relations Officer for the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission and this is my classification talk…
From ever since I knew myself, I enjoyed writing and speaking as key aspects of communication. I had dreams of becoming a best-selling author and poet as well as championing the cause of others in the courtroom as a defense attorney. Financial circumstances after completing the Antigua State College did not facilitate the latter, imagine my disappointment after being accepted into Kent Law School in England. While in college, I was the captain of the Debating team and was also the PRO for the Junior Optimist Club. I always jumped at opportunities which involved public speaking and the performing arts.
However, fate would have it that my performance in a workshop for Young Journalists while in 5th form attending the Antigua Girls High School, peaked the interest of Mr. Fitzroy Brann, who spoke to me about the possibility of doing an internship at ABS and the rest became history. Prior to that, I was also a member of Junior Cabinet an interactive programme then hosted by Observer Radio, which also horned my news gathering and reporting skills.
Last year, I made the decision to expand my media experience and applied for the vacancy of Public Relations Officer at ABEC. It was a new arena and I had to learn quite a lot, deepening my understanding about governance, the electoral process and the laws of the land. Less than six months on the job, I had my first general elections to prepare for. I was a bit worried as to whether or not I would have been able to withstand the pressures but I am thankful for the support and encouragement that I received from across the board which made the journey both exciting and rewarding.
I see the most challenging part of my position is being able to satisfy the needs of everyone at the same time because we all know in Antigua and Barbuda that politics is never easy. Even more specifically, there is a culture in our beloved country, where persons are only concerned about election matters every five years, so we constantly have to find ways to keep the public engaged through public and civic education. However, I am once again grateful for the guidance that I have been receiving this this regard from the Members of the Commission and the staff at ABEC.
For anyone who wishes to enter the field of public relations, you must be able to relate to people, understand their passions and be willing to impact lives in a positive way through information and education. You must have clearly defined goals and objectives to be accomplished with the masses. It must start with you though, you have to educate yourself first and then share your knowledge with others. Be familiar with subject areas.
Technology and government regulations do play a major part in my profession. The operations of ABEC is enshrined in the Representation of the People (Amendment Act) 2001. However, ABEC stands as an independent body which is not influenced by any of the political parties.
I do not face any ethical issues as work and it also happens that the mission and vision statement of ABEC stresses the importance of operating in a fair and transparent manner without any partisanship.
Even before becoming a Rotarian, the components of the Rotary 4-way test were already in my DNA….
Always tell the truth and report the facts
Be fair to all that you will encounter, lend a listening ear to everyone even if it may not be a direct concern of yours
Being helpful and understanding as well as understanding the need to leverage a person’s strengths, as no man is an island and you can always learn something from someone else.
And always think about the other person and how your interaction with them can make them smile even brighter.