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Sophie Tchitchinadze

Sophie Tchitchinadze: Communication for Development Makes You Part of Great Social Change

Sophie Tchitchinadze is Communications Analyst at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia.

Why did you decide to enter this field and what kind of opportunities does it give in terms of career growth?

-Public Relations is more than a career. It is my state of mind. Looking back now, I see that everything I have been doing my whole life led me to this professional path.

I studied psychology in Georgia and journalism in the UK, worked as a reporter, tried myself in emerging IT business. All those experiences shaped my personality and were truly rewarding. They also helped me understand that what I really wanted was to be part of positive change. Not just watching, but making, and telling people the great story of social transformation. When I realized that, I dropped journalism for development communication and never regretted my choice.

Today I am part of the UNDP team in Georgia, the most vibrant and dynamic community of professionals who believe that their work makes the world a better place. You are asking what it gives me – best job in the world and a wonderful opportunity to see very real results and share this success with everyone.    

What does it take to hold successful communication with public?

The spirit of the job is in three Ps – being Passionate about your work, Proud of what you do, and willing to share your story with People. The rest is about tools and professional machinery.

What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR? 

Enjoy your work. Tell the truth whatever it takes. Always try something new.

This way, you will be true to yourself, will like the results of your work, and will have a lot of fun in the process.

What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?

Public Relations is so complex these days that it is hardly possible to learn everything you need in advance. What you really need is keenness to gain new knowledge and courage to innovate.

Describe your typical work week. 

-I don’t think there is anything in my work that can be described as a typical week. UNDP is unique because it is so dynamic and diverse. We work in many different areas – from human rights and rural development, to election media monitoring, climate action and vocational education. As a person responsible for communication, I am involved in every single project, which makes my work days a bit crazy though fascinating and never boring.

How would you go about finding relevant contacts and sources?

Open mind and open eyes usually help. We live in the age of information, you can easily find whatever you are looking for. My personal favourite, however, is talking to people. There’s nothing that can possibly replace face-to-face communication.

How would you prioritize and start your work day?

I plan my working day on my way to the office, so that I come to work fully prepared and never start slow. Of course, there are a lot of pressing tasks, urgencies and routine to take care of. But I always have a couple of yummy bits in store to sparkle up my day – an interesting project, something new to try on social media, or an enjoyable piece of writing.

What skills are required to be a successful PR?

Positive thinking, curiosity and excellence in horizontal management. PR practitioners work with everyone and should learn how to lead, without actually leading, and be an inspiration to others.

What trait do you value the most in your co-workers?

It is always rewarding to work with top professionals who are motivated and determined at work while being easy-going and open with their colleagues. I am a lucky person because I found the team which exactly falls under that description.

What is the best PR practice technology can’t change?

Technology is a useful tool if you know how to use it. And you definitely should if you want to succeed in PR profession. Technology makes things faster, more focused, better packaged, but it does not replace the essentials of communication. Great PR projects are always based on great content and, of course, on great personalities.

  What are some of the growing trends in the public relations industry

 -Acceleration looks like a universal trend. The world is moving faster than ever and PR has to adapt to this pace. Content avalanche is another challenge we are facing. It takes a lot of skills and creativity to make yourself noticeable. There is good news too. Human storytelling is a growing trend and development agencies, like UNDP, have a significant advantage here. Everything we do is about people, their needs and their future.