Gandra Thomas-White, CoFounder of Birds of Paradise, Public Relations, Dominica & U.S. Virgin Islands
With a background in social work; an uncanny sense of people; and the holistic perspective on the business world that could only be developed through a rigorous MBA program, Gandra Thomas-White has the battle-tested skill set and experience to oversee the daily operations of Birds of Paradise Public Relations. A natural-born leader with solid business acumen, she encouraged her sister to follow her dream to open a boutique PR shop and made it a priority to help her see it come to fruition, by signing on as her business partner. Her No.1 goal is to eventually expand the services provided by Birds of Paradise Public Relations beyond the communications industry. Gandra lives in Miami,FL with her husband and is a self-proclaimed fashionista with a knack for finding the best deals. She enjoys relaxing on South Beach and indulging in all the fun her city has to offer.
SB-C: Tell us how you got involved with Birds of Paradise PR? GTW: When my sister shared that she was ready to follow her dream to open a boutique PR agency that would cater to Caribbean clients, I saw a great opportunity to build something together. We made the leap and became business partners in August 2015. Despite the challenges, it is one of the best decisions I've ever made!
SB-C: What role do you play as Co-Founder? GTW: As Co-Founder and COO, and I manage all the behind-the-scenes logistics of running Birds of Paradise Public Relations. However, we are a small shop, so it’s an “all-hands-on-deck” operation. While we have our specific strengths, everyone is involved in both backend and client-facing tasks.
SB-C: What are the key ingredients for a good PR campaign? GTW: Knowledge of your audience – Knowing your target audience is key to having a successful campaign. Visibility – A good presence on and offline can create an exceptional PR campaign. Timing- Timing is everything. Have a timeline in place and set realistic goals.
SB-C: What are some of the things startups can do to build rapport with the media? GTW: We believe in making real-life connections, both in person or online. Take the time to get to know the media professionals that cover your industry. Read and share their content. Send introductory emails and offer insight on the subject matter area.
SB-C:Should female entrepreneurs be delivering lectures, speeches, writing books and the like as a part of wider PR strategy? GTW: Yes, as female entrepreneurs it is imperative that we help support, uplift and educate others.
SB-C: How can entrepreneurs in the pre start-up phase of business use the internet to raise their profile? GTW: A clean, informative, user-friendly website is key. Use your blog to share insight in your area of expertise.
SB-C: What do you think is the next big PR trend? GTW: Video and visual content will be the best way to share your message.
SB-C: What inspirational takeaways do you have for our community? GTW: Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. It’s like being on a roller coaster ride. There will be good days and bad days. Never give up on your dreams.