Apr 25, 2024 - Business

Communicator spotlight: Fenot Tekle of Canva

Photo illustration of Fenot Tekle with rectangles and cursors.

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Jonathan Asmerom

As global head of communications for Canva, Fenot Tekle is responsible for leading the graphic design platform's corporate narrative and storytelling efforts across the globe.

Why it matters: AI-supported tools โ€” like Canva โ€” have expedited the shift from text heavy communications to visual communications, like graphics, data charts, photos and videos.

๐Ÿ—ฃWhat she's saying: "The world is becoming very, very visual and it has definitely changed the way we all communicate with each other," Tekle told Axios.

  • "So much of what we're doing is through the screen. ... To be able to actually communicate visually is a value add in terms of team collaboration, productivity and efficiency, and we're really moving away from a world of text in many ways. So, for Canva, we see an opportunity to really drive that trend, because the future is poised to be more and more visual."

๐Ÿ“How she got here: Tekle was part of Netflix's early communications team and helped establish the streamer's brand. She then held various communications roles at LinkedIn, Facebook and Adobe before joining Canva in 2022.

๐Ÿ— How's it structured: She reports to Canva chief marketing officer Zach Kitschke and oversees a global team of 16 responsible for corporate, enterprise and product communications, analyst relations, issues management, talent brand and media events.

  • What's next: "When I first started out, the focus was media, media media, but now it's about having an understanding of paid media strategies, sponsored content, event extensions as well," she told Axios.
  • "Content marketing is going to be foundational to the work that all comms professionals are going to be required to, not only understand, but know how to do."

๐Ÿ’กEvery CEO should know that "demonstrating company values and making them valid and visible in all aspects of their business can build a tremendous amount of goodwill and trust with audiences."

๐Ÿ“ˆ Trend spot: Customer advocacy replacing "influencers."

  • "We've seen a ton of influence come from the advocacy of our most enthusiastic users, and we want to bring them into the fold," says Tekle.
  • "Companies are quick to write big checks for big-name influencers to publish a couple of social media posts, but there's really nothing like active users who've really embraced the platform, and if you can get enough of them to authentically spread the word about your product, then you're golden."

๐ŸŽง Content plate: Tekle always has earbuds in, listening to podcasts like "Pivot," "Hello Monday," "Masters of Scale," "Techmeme Ride Home," "Hit Parade" and "Pop Culture Happy Hour."

๐Ÿง  Best advice: Don't spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror.

  • "It's not to say that you shouldn't be introspective, but there's really nothing that can be done with what's behind you. So live with your choices, learn from the experience and apply those lessons to what's ahead."

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