Grace Labong Achire: Team Leader
With more than 27 years of work experience in organizational and enterprise development with special focus on, leadership, investment management, business optimization, stakeholders’ engagements, public awareness and marketing communication, Grace brings a rich managerial and entrepreneurial skills. She is the Team Leader and majority owner of Vantage Groups, a leading and one of the first truly professional PR Agency in Africa with offices in five countries in East and Central Africa (ECA).
She has successfully grown the company into internationally reputed group trailblazing innovations in PR and communication in the region for the past 15 years. She is one of the few African professionally qualified and only accredited PR practitioner by CIPR UK in Uganda, member of the global Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) and UnitedSuccess a global network of women entrepreneurs.
Her firm’s client list includes international development funded programs like the UNDP, World Bank programs, Trademark EA and high-end multinational Companies like MTN, Standard Chartered Bank and several Government Ministries and Agencies across the EAC region Her company was one of the first recognised women led business in professional services to become Top 100 MidSize 2009 company in Uganda and the only PR firm that is ISO 9001 2008 certified in East Africa. She was featured by IFC as one of the leading women in business documentary for East Africa by Cine Africa in Kenya.
Besides running her five countries based business, she still finds time to be part of entrepreneurship development. She has worked with multinational development agencies on a team of international consultants for some notable organisations like Norwegian Agency for Development NORAD funded program to develop marketable and exportable brands to the European market for women owned businesses under the Women Entrepreneurship Development (WED). She was one of the initiator of Women Entrepreneurship Network (WEN) when she worked with the Uganda Investment Authority. She was the National Focal Point for Uganda and one of the international trainers for Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) training program supporting Private Sector Development from 2011-2013. International Trade Centre, SheTrade Geneva.
With an eye for trends, she has been able to transform the business through innovation she is keen to share with other women in business especially at the grassroots. Passionate about women empowerment, she has been involved in supporting other women in business through business counselling, mentoring with TecnohServe and Enterprise Uganda hands on support and training of rural based women to develop simple marketing and customer services techniques to grow their business under the flagship of Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Association Ltd (UWEAL).
Looking into Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to tap in the growing numbers of educated and unemployed youth, she was selected for the Netherlands Trust Fund to participate in their program for women in IT. ‘If I can help one woman, young girl, or boy out there to become economically empowered then I have achieved much. It touches my heart to see young unemployed walking in my office asking for a job and I can not help them all: As a woman, it truly pains me’. She is now on a quest to be part of the solution to address youth unemployment under flagship program Youth Apprentices Programme (YAP) in partnership with Uganda Investment Authority to skill young unemployed graduates to provide business support services to SMES. With already 600 youth over the three years.
Due to her wide experiences and networks she has had the privilege of sitting on several like high levels Boards like Equity Bank Uganda, BPW International (Kampala Chapter), Uganda Free Zone Authority, Alliance for Trade in Information Services (ATIS), UWEAL and Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU).
She is member of international professional bodies that include International Social Marketing Association (iSMA), CIPR and Global Alliances, Senior Member of the Africa Public Relations Practitioners (APRA). International Public Relations Association (IPRA), Corporate Governance Institute Uganda and the Management Forum, British Council.