Penny Burgess was interviewed by Youth Daily to mark International Women’s Day and recognise Shanghai’s leading female entrepreneurs.
Originally from the UK, Penny Burgess has worked in the communications industry for more than 20 years; across all areas from corporate and B2B to brand marketing and Crisis Communications. In 2009, Penny founded Red Bridge Communications in Shanghai and in 2017 the firm merged with WE Communications to become WE Red Bridge. According to Penny, Shanghai is the perfect city for entrepreneurs. It actively supports innovation and has a variety of support policies for start-up companies.
Penny’s China journey originally started 13 years ago in 2003, when she travelled throughout China taking in Beijing, Xi’an, Sichuan and Tibet. During these two months she fell in love with the country and vowed to return.
In 2005, Penny was relocated from the London offices of her UK employer to run the Shanghai operations of its global network. Despite being offered opportunities throughout the world, she picked China. A number of reasons drove this decision; her epic voyage, a growing fascination with the East, the changes taking place in China and limitless opportunities.
After working for several years, Penny identified a niche in the market. Clients were increasingly wanting independent and boutique firms but with global, networked agency strategic thinking and planning. Based on this insight, Penny took the plunge and started out on her own. The ambition was to provide clients with strategic consulting married with creative excellence.
In 2009, Penny founded Red Bridge Communications. The name reflected her vision; 'Bridging' is a key media handling technique with 'Red' obviously representing China.
In 2017, Red Bridge merged with the world’s 2nd largest independent network, WE Communications. The merger with WE Communications was apt. It was a global firm founded by women. The marriage made sense. As a result of the merger, WE Red Bridge's businesses is now divided into four major practice areas: corporate, lifestyle and consumer marketing, healthcare and technology.
In addition to running WE Red Bridge, Penny is the mother of three. Penny believes that regardless of sex or children, running a successful business is about having a clear goal, perservering and pursuing it relentlessly as well as leading and inspiring people every day.
As a working mother, Penny has established flexi working hours for moms . Inspiring the next generation of leaders is also important to Penny, so spare time centers around community leadership and mentorship for women, and indulging in travel and food.