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10 questions with Catherine Jonathan

Women in Media recently sat down with Catherine Jonathan, founder of Emerging Brand Africa (EmBA), a PR firm that showcases diverse African talent within Australia.

Ms Jonathan is also Editor in Chief of EmBA Magazine, which publishes diverse stories about successful migrants.

What is your current role?

The chief thinker and doer for various roles.

As the director of EmBA Media Group, I lead PR and Brand communications strategies for our B2B and B2C clients.

As chief editor of EmBA Magazine which publishes diverse stories of successful migrants.

I am also an Advisor for the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Barwon Region Committee and the Vice Chairperson for African Professional Association- Vic Chapter, among other roles in the African community.

What inspired you to create Emerging Brand Africa?

My journey as a new migrant.

Emerging Brand Africa, now EmBA Media Group, was born out of a lack of visibility of African Australians; both in corporate and business.

I wanted to create a media platform that spotlights the contributions, challenges, and successes of migrants in Australian society, in the hope of inspiring the younger generation and new migrants in finding a sense of belonging.

What professional achievement are you most proud of?

The Launch of EmBA Magazine!

There are quite a few things I am extremely proud of throughout my professional career but this one takes the top prize.

Interviewing and publishing diverse stories of migrants gives me absolute joy.

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered?

Migration and settling!

Relocating to a new country and having to start over in re-establishing my career.

The biggest challenge was a systemic disadvantage, not being provided with the opportunity to take up employment in roles that I was perfectly qualified for.

The recruitment system discriminates against applications from temporary residents.

For example, you would be asked if you are a permanent resident, an Australian citizen, or other.

If you fall under “other”, what are the chances that your application gets to the hiring managers?

It’s the plight of most migrants trying to enter corporate Australia.

Luckily, through my networks, I found lots of support that helped me breakthrough, and in time I braved myself into the entrepreneurial space.

Who has been your biggest mentor and influence for you?

I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people and benefited from those that extend their privilege to advocate for others.

The most influential in my media journey is Claudia Raab – a communications and media relations specialist.

Her encouragement and continued guidance in the industry have been invaluable.

There are many more, quite extraordinary women and men whom I admire – both older and younger champions crushing the concrete ceiling.

I learn a lot from them and inspire me to keep rising.

What is something no-one knows about you?

It’s not commonly known that I am a proud Kamba woman (the fifth largest tribe out of 42 in Kenya).

How do you wind down after work?

Chai – Swahili for tea – for sure and a good Netflix series just for laughs, or home design shows. I love the design shows!

What are you reading at the moment?

Forty Nights by Pirooz Jafari – an absolute gold literally fiction by a human rights advocate and a migrant.

What does the immediate future hold?

Positioning EmBA Media Group as the brand of choice, not only for migrant entrepreneurs but as a media of choice to foster collaboration with the wider Australian business community.

We are currently working on the release of the second edition of EmBA Magazine, exciting times indeed.

Describe a perfect day in your role

Is there such a day? Most days are imperfectly perfect (chuckles) safe to say, I have found the balance, balancing the chaos.


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