Pulse People: Ben Bassey – Director of Content, Pulse Nigeria.

If you have been following Pulse Nigeria on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, then you’re already familiar with the work of Ben Bassey, Director of Content at Pulse Nigeria. Ben’s story seems to be underscored by one word: options. After dabbling in a bunch of creative and entrepreneurial endeavours, he decided to pursue his editorial career full time, and within the editorial niche, he has also dabbled in a number of disciplines. These days, he’s charged with managing the skilled, diverse, and very creative 30-man content team in Lagos, Nigeria, leveraging social media and the web to inform and engage millions of young people who are part of our digital communities. 

In this edition of Pulse People, we speak to Ben Bassey, Director of Content, Pulse Nigeria.

Tell me a little about your background, and how your career came to be:

I have what I like to call an entrepreneurial hustler background. I used to own a fish farm, a music studio, traded forex, and created digital products for sale.  Content then was something I did as a hobby or to promote my products. I occasionally did a few projects for some clients. Plus I wasn’t sure which area of content I wanted to focus on, so I trained and practiced as a music producer, animator, graphic artist, video editor and after effects specialist, etc. It later turned out to be a hidden advantage in my current role. 

What is your role at Pulse?

I manage the super talented and crazy people (which is the default setting with talented people) that create content for Pulse Nigeria. Together with the various content leads, we chart the content direction, execution, quality, and operations of a 30-man content team. I am tasked to oversee this process.

What does your typical day look like right now?

I start my day by visiting the Pulse pages to ensure we have the latest trending stories while also making sure the quality of the posts are on point. I then monitor other media platforms and what is trending on social media. Check my emails, have meetings with my team to chart content direction or whatever project we are currently working on. In between, I do some day-to-day operational stuff.

What was your path to Pulse? And what has your journey been within the organization? 

When I finally decided to pursue content as a career, I told a friend who works here that I was interested in joining Pulse. He told me there was an opportunity but the role was for RSS management, not writing. The JD (job description) fit some elements of selling digital products, so I took the role. It was basically me publishing news wire content in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya. After a while, I was promoted to lead the Content Hub, where I was still in charge of news wire content, but now had a video and social media team. We created and distributed content across the various Pulse markets in Africa. In 2018, I was promoted to Head of Operations for the editorial team and was in charge of quality assurance, client requests, media partnerships, inbound sales, onboarding, and day-to-day operations. In 2019, I was made Editor in Chief and later, Director of Content.

What inspires you to work every day?

I love to see ideas take life whether it is in the form of content or project management. My current role allows me to explore my creative, entrepreneurial, and organisational skills. It can be hectic a lot of times and there is always some new challenge waiting around the corner but most times it does not feel like work.

What’s the best part about working at Pulse? 

The opportunities to learn and grow are immense. You constantly need to be innovative and you can’t innovate without learning, so it’s an endless cycle of growth. In my role as Director of Content, there are many things that could clog the flow of work, and I’ve come to see those challenges as great opportunities to innovate. I’m grateful for the work culture and environment here because they allow me and my team to colour outside the lines, and really collaborate and arrive at creative and sustainable solutions. It’s the best part for me. 

What do you do when you’re not working? 

This changes over time. For now, it’s watching movies and daydreaming. Daydreaming is the constant here – I like to let my mind wander. It helps me reboot, lol. I also like to shoot some pool or hang out with some friends.

Ahmed Beddy Kane – Graphic Designer and Video Specialist, Pulse Senegal.

Welcome to another edition of Pulse People. We’re speaking with Ahmed Beddy Kane, Graphic Designer, and Video Specialist, working out of Dakar, Senegal with the Pulse Senegal team. From being inspired by his reporter father to finding release in music, sports, and video games, Ahmed shares his passion for video with us, and how Pulse has helped him grow professionally.

Tell me a little about your background.

My name is Ahmed Beddy Kane. I am a video specialist, photographer, and graphic designer. My father was a reporter on the national channel. As a child, he used to give me the camera so that I could film certain activities that were going on around the house. That’s why after the BAC (baccalaureate), I decided to do Multimedia training.

I attended the professional world in license 1 in a film production company. I was there as an intern in video editing. But I also participated in film festivals too. I went through vibe radio Senegal and Expat Dakar. It was through Expat Dakar that I got into Pulse.

Let’s talk about your role at Pulse. What does it entail? What do you do on a daily basis? And how do you manage all the tasks?

At Pulse, I am responsible for making videos, photoshoots, montages, animations, and sometimes designs for clients. Every day I come to see the schedule, to see my tasks if there are videos to do or visuals. But I manage all my tasks with technique and zero pressure.

How much have you grown at Pulse? If you have changed roles, also tell us about that. 

I grew into maturity at Pulse. Pulse also allowed me to find solutions to problems in my line of work, but also things outside the office. At Pulse I’ve learned a lot; I learned how to deal with pressure and stress.

What is Dakar like?

Dakar is good. Life is good here. We enjoy a quiet and rich nightlife. I am an outgoing person, so I’m quite acquainted with the nightlife in Dakar.

What inspires you at work?
I’m inspired by the team spirit and the atmosphere, the work environment. What inspires me in my job is music and sports.

Tell me about your other interests, outside of video.

I am passionate about football, photography, and video games. In my free time, I go to drink tea with friends, train (football) and play the Playstation.

Pulse People: Caren Rotich, Head, Pulse Studio, Pulse Kenya.

The Third edition of Pulse People is here! This time, we’re talking to Caren Rotich. From intern to Head of Pulse Studio in Kenya, Caren Rotich shares her interesting career journey with us and gives us a peep into how she spends her free time, and what inspires her.

Tell us about your background:

I used to love journalism. I wanted to do it on campus (in university). I got into the campus for journalism and I found myself more interested in reporting, writing, and editing. 

So after school, where did you work?

Pulse actually is my first place of full employment, but I’ve interned at different media companies in Nairobi in different roles. My first internship was radio reporting and partly a bit of TV and news reporting, and also some video production (sometime around 2014). And then I went back to campus to do my Bachelors (around 2016) and got into Pulse straight after campus in 2019. 

Tell me about your role at Pulse.

At Pulse currently, my role is Head of Pulse Studio at Pulse Kenya. My job basically is to manage all our client projects from concept to screen, making sure that what we execute as a studio meets and exceeds the clients’ expectations. So basically managing all that, and also budgeting for Pulse Studio, whatever is needed for success in everything that we execute for our clients. I am also involved in the production of all Pulse studio client projects, making sure that my team; Pulse studio (A big shout out to them for the good work they do every day) have a good working environment and a good working relationship with other team members, coming up with video strategy recommendations (On this I have to work closely with operations, sales and even social) for what’s best for our client videos. This is much of what I do on a daily basis. I still do scripting for our client projects.

You have just launched a new studio building for Pulse Studio in Kenya. Can you tell me about that?

Oh yeah, it’s interesting. I’m very excited about it. Currently, I am in charge of it, but moving forward we hope to get someone who is going to help us manage the studio. It’s quite a big space, and we’re hopeful that we’re going to do so much more in that space. So far we’ve done two client executions in our studio. The first TVC (television commercial) has been completed there for Skygarden, an interesting shoot, and I can’t wait for you guys to see it. We also did the first social experiment there for a client (Diageo). It was quite interesting; we had the best cast, and I just can’t wait to see more client executions that are to be done in that space.

So what’s Nairobi like?

This (July) is one of the coldest months in Nairobi. It’s freezing! We even have heaters in the office. But actually, it’s a good place to live, an interesting place to be. You get to learn different things every day. 

I’m just from the countryside, and it’s so warm there. But coming into Nairobi, it’s different. It can also get warm sometimes. The weather is a bit unpredictable.

Tell me about your journey into Pulse.

My career journey into Pulse is interesting. I came in straight after campus in 2019. I just saw a vacancy online. I was one of the student leaders on campus, and we still had our WhatsApp group. One of our lecturers just posted about an internship at Pulse. So, having nothing to do after campus (I hadn’t figured out where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do), I was like, let me just make this application for this internship. If I get it, I can go do some interesting stuff there. So I made the application, and then visited Pulse’s pages on Facebook and Instagram, then I got more interested. It looked like a great place to work, and do great stuff. I had started noticing that digital media was the upcoming trend.

So I got really interested and started praying that I would get the opportunity to join. On January 6, I got an email and a call to join, and I started my internship on the 9th of January. I remember the date because it was a big moment for me. I joined to do video editing for Wochit videos (Wochit videos are a type of video format used in Pulse Kenya at that time) and scriptwriting for News and Lifestyle. I was then retasked with client scripts, so I was handling internal lifestyle and news scripts and at the same time working on client scripts. Slowly I also moved into client Wochits as well. 

After my internship was concluded, I was confirmed as the first scriptwriter at Pulse Kenya. I did more of the client scripting as well as more client Wochit videos and less internal script work. I did that all through till around October 2020 when I got promoted to Project Manager/scriptwriter, where, with the team, I managed to pull off one of the first TVCs (television commercial) that we did (for Golden Africa). I managed the project so well that I got nominated for the Employee of the Month once we completed the project. (All thanks to the team that was involved in the shoot)

In February this year, I got promoted to the role of Head, Pulse Studio. It has been a very interesting journey, and I’m just grateful to the team that saw my potential and much of what I can do and challenged me to take up the role. I remember when I was given the role. I spoke to Leonie (former MD, Pulse Kenya) and told her I was not sure I would be able to manage everything tasked to me, but she had so much faith in me, and she kept encouraging me, talking through every project with me.

What is your inspiration for work?

I’m one person who is inspired by a variety of things. I think what inspires me at Pulse is the team spirit and the culture that we have. We have a culture whereby when you have a challenge or a concern, and you reach out to any colleague at Pulse, at no point will they turn you down. They’ll sit down with you and figure out a solution to what you want to achieve, and you’ll leave there satisfied. You won’t be shy to reach out to people, and you’ll not hold back your ideas, and it’s easier working in such an environment.

Also, Pulse gives you the freedom to be you, and they accept you as you are. That kind of spirit is what inspires me daily, and also being able to know that I am tasked with a team, and part of my responsibility is to manage them, to help them grow, and help them become better in their fields. This is also what keeps me going. (Shout out to the team for the great work that they do)

I am also inspired by different people whose passion I look to. An example of this is someone called Dr. Nancy Booker. She was my lecturer. She’s just done so much in the field of journalism and has now moved into digital media. I look up to her a lot. 

What do you do when you’re not on the clock?

I am one bad introvert (lol). When I’m not at work, I’m probably at my house reading. I do love reading a lot, and I read more novels. I’m not very interested in movies, but it’s something I’m trying to love. Most of the time I’m either reading something or cooking something new, trying out a new recipe. I love doing that. Also, I love going on road trips with my closest friends, outside Nairobi. So those are the three main things I love doing when I’m not at work. When I’m not working I try as much as possible to avoid social media and clear my head with other interesting stuff. 

Pulse People: Eben Nana Yaw Berima Kwao, Head, Commercial Video, Pulse Ghana.

Welcome to another edition of Pulse People, where we talk to Pulse team members in all our markets, highlighting their career journey to Pulse, their growth within the company, and other interesting bits about them, when they’re not on the clock. 

Today, we’re speaking to Nana, Head of Commercial Video at Pulse Ghana. From fine art in secondary school to graphic design, motion graphics design, and a full career in video production and cinematography, Nana’s journey paints the picture of a creative person whose curiosity has brought him closer and closer to the camera. 

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I’ve always been a creative person. I started my media career as a graphic designer actually. But I often got frustrated when I would hand off designs and the animators would translate my designs and mockups differently from how I had envisioned it. I would do a mockup or a storyboard for a project and by the time it was presented, it would be different from what I originally had in mind. So I got curious about the process, and I moved from still graphic design into motion design. And then in motion design, I ran into the same frustrations with cinematographers and directors. So my journey has really been fuelled by my curiosity, and with each step I was looking for more control of the final result, eventually coming closer and closer to the capturing of content in video. 

And before graphic design?

I did fine art (or what you would call graphic art) in secondary school and won a scholarship to study a diploma in design, and from this diploma, I went on to film school. 

You’ve worked at Pulse before. Tell us about that

Yes. I joined Pulse in early 2014 when it was actually not yet Pulse. It was AllSports at the time. We had AllSports and then we also had Tissu.com.gh, an eCommerce brand, both businesses under Ringier at the time. So that was when I joined. And then in 2015, we transitioned into Pulse. I was actually part of the core setup team for Pulse. I actually came in as a camera person for AllSports, and by the time I was leaving, I was Head of Pulse TV. I was responsible for everything video (at this time social video and commercial video were not yet separated). I left in November 2016. 

Tell us about your current role at Pulse.

Honestly, I like to think that not a lot has changed. To put it plainly, I am still producing videos. That’s still my core task at Pulse. The business’s structure has changed a little, and there is more specialization now. We’re producing our own video content now, and also serving clients with their video needs. 

I’m also looking forward to doing a lot of partnerships. Because of my diverse experience with different industries, I kind of have ideas around some of the problems these industries have, and how Pulse can come in to solve these problems. I would not have been able to approach some of the companies and businesses with these solutions as a freelancer for instance, but we can have these conversations now, and it is much easier for these partnerships to be signed. 

An advantage of having worked here before is that the conversations I need to have internally are much more fluid since I’m already quite familiar with most of the leaders. 

What do you do on a typical day?

Typically, as you would expect, a lot of us creatives find it difficult to conform to norms and so forth. I missed a lot of meetings in my first few days, and I had to figure out a way to stay ahead of that. I now have an NFC sticker on my table such that as soon as I get in, and drop my mobile on it, my calendar for the day pops up. This is typically how the day begins for me, a way to ensure I do not miss any other meetings. I use this to plan my to-do and schedule my activities around those meeting times. I do a lot of ideating, of course, and shooting happens almost every day. I came in as we were about to sign a big client, and immediately got to work on that. Initially, I had to also be the project manager for most of the work the video team was doing, but now we have a Project Manager, and because of her, I have some free time now. 

I also keep an open-door policy.

Tell us about the decision to come back to Pulse?

I’ll say it’s a lot of sweet-talking from Katharina (MD Pulse Ghana). What the structure is right now, is actually something I had pushed for before. Now, we have social video separate from commercial video and handled by separate teams. I was attracted by the clarity and separation of work. It’s exactly how I’ve always wanted the structure to be. I was excited about coming back to the video team that I helped build. It’s a great feeling. I was also motivated by the new direction I’ve seen, and the new business focus. I’m hoping it stays like that.

How has working at Pulse impacted you?

Pulse has helped me build a strong portfolio in this one medium (video). Pulse has helped me focus on that and build it. Now I have a solid career path in video. If I did not work at Pulse, I may not have focused exclusively on it for the length of time that I have. 

What’s your personal inspiration for work?

It’s just the idea of creating something. It sounds cliche, but it actually is the truth. I love creating something that is tangible and can be appreciated by others. I take that client’s idea, and then make it tangible, and offer it back to the client. If I was not doing video, I would be creating something else. It’s just the idea of creating, regardless of the medium. And of course, the need to make a living. 🙂

How do you spend your free time?

Omo, I still create anyway. 😀

I like to help people, to fix things. Any problem I can solve creatively, I would do that. I’m also very very handy, working with wood, making furniture and so on. It could be me using my power tools or sketching an app idea or something. I also have a hydroponic farm. I’ll just always be found building and making things.

Pulse People: Kelechi Odoemelam, Communications Manager

Welcome to the very first installment of our blog series “Pulse People”. On Pulse People, we will share real stories from Pulse team members in all our markets in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal (with Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda coming up soon), highlighting their career journey to Pulse, their growth within the company, and other interesting bits about them, when they’re not on the clock. 

Today’s post is about Kelechi Odoemelam, Communications Manager at Pulse. Read on!

What is your role at Pulse?

I work as Communications Manager at Pulse. It is my job to showcase and highlight the work that Pulse does internationally to an audience of potential partners. This involves some content creation, social media management, press releases, newsletters, website content design, and some internal communications as well.

What does your typical day look like right now?

On a typical day, I’m creating and sharing content on our corporate platforms and reaching out to colleagues to send in content for the internal bulletin. If I’m on a project at the time, I’m also talking to collaborators and preparing updates. It’s also important to touch base with my colleagues from graphic design and web design to probably share an update or a brief. There’s almost always something I need these guys for. I also sit down with the account management team once in a while to discuss a successful and recently completed project, to get the gist of it so that I can write a compelling case study. By the time this is published, it will be our first edition of Pulse People, and I’m also responsible for that. 

How did you get here? What was your path to your current role?

Well, my background is in Engineering. But I’ve always found myself writing something right from uni. I got into an assistant editor role right after youth service at a small tabloid in Port Harcourt. From there to an advertising agency, an investment banking group, and now Pulse, Africa’s leading innovative media company. 

How did you get into Pulse?

I was looking for other opportunities at the time, and then I got word of the vacancy at Pulse. I sent in my application and then went through two anxious interviews with the decision-makers lol. I really just kept my mind open, and when I got the offer, it was a mix of fear and excitement. You never really know a company is a good fit until you get a taste of the culture.

What inspires you to work every day?

I’m driven by gratitude. I’m grateful to be on a team like Pulse. The one thing that stands out for me is how willing people are to offer help, how flexible the system is, and the fact that it is not a super strict formal environment. Coming from a financial background, it’s easy to understand why I appreciate these things. So I wake up every morning knowing that the team trusts me to deliver on my tasks and that they also support me. In return, I want to put in good work and drive a greater corporate image for the company, a stronger sense of belonging for the teams, and creating conversations with potential partners.

When you’re not working, what are you doing?

My favourite pastime is reading. I’m either reading a novel or a business book or a bunch of articles. Recently, I’ve found that I also enjoy learning new stuff from YouTube.