WOMEN LEADERS IN SUSTAINABILITY: NARDA SHIRLEY, GONG COMMUNICATIONS
Narda Shirley, managing director, Gong Communications
Narda Shirley is the Founder and Managing Director of Gong Communications, a business to business agency with offices in London and Nairobi. Gong is focused on 3 areas; human capital, natural capital and private capital.
She is a serial public relations agency entrepreneur having founded an agency prior to Gong called Gnash, that rode the internet boom (and bust) helping establish some of the enduring brands from that digital decade including lastminute.com and Match.com. She was the founding Chair of the PRCA’s sustainability group and is committed to driving sustainability engagement across the sector today.
1. What are the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome to get you where you are today? (what tips can you share from that experience?)
I think the biggest challenge in getting to where we are today has been figuring out how to become an international business and getting our Nairobi office on its feet. It’s been a stretch for me personally but a welcome opportunity to learn about a new cultural context for doing business after two decades of PR experience in more developed economies. For example, navigating local norms that don’t fit with ours, but it can also mean that culturally people in Africa sometimes don’t want to say ‘no’ which can be tricky to interpret when it comes to getting decisions over the line. But ultimately it’s about respecting the culture that you are operating in and programming in some patience. If you try to make everything go at top speed, you will just buckle under the weight of frustration.