Georgii Speakman: creative all rounder

Interview by Molly O'Brien, Marketing & Communications Specialist, Advance

Georgii Speakman is an Australian living in LA, and a woman who has worn various creative hats throughout her career. She is currently the Director of Strategic Business Development at VOL. 4, Roc Nation’s / Jay Z’s newest Creative + Consultancy Agency in LA. 

In a former life, Speakman was an award-winning actress, having played lead female roles in theatre and independent feature films – Carmilla Hyde, Offside, and Roadman.

Speakman recently established The People Series, a content platform that explores influence and influencers based out of LA across Entertainment, Tech/Innovation and Disruptive Media. In 2014, Speakman was appointed Media Board Advisor for LA-based charity, 'Ambition' and tech startup/App, Waves.

Advance recently caught up with Georgii to find out how she juggles so many projects at once, where she gets her ideas from, and what creativity means to her.

You’ve worked across many different creative industries – was this something you had always predicted when you were younger?

100%. I was one of those kids who did everything – from art, design, English, drama, sport, dancing, singing, writing, creating plays, photography – anything I could do to “create”. These creative interests have continued to play a role in my adult life, and have managed to inject themselves in some of my passion projects as well, such as in my blog/podcast, The People Series and having explored a film career for a short window.

Working in a creative field requires the constant generation of new thought processes and ways of doing things. Where do you get your ideas?  

I balance my Monday – Friday schedule by working from home, the office or a café. My goal is to intuitively pay attention to the environment I’m energetically experiencing, and I will be at my most creative. The material I read across multiple industries and sectors also helps (anything from tech, entrepreneurship, spiritual development, design, creativity); laughing and being happy in the workplace creates a space for everyone to be more open and in turn creative. Sometimes I get the best ideas in the shower or driving to work listening to an audio book, podcast or music, and so often in those moments and when I can, I make a record of certain things via notes on my iPhone. I contribute to The People Series when I can, which involves interviewing and writing about other people in culture – entertainment, tech/innovation or disruptive media. I do creative writing, portrait photography, drawing and other things to satiate creative desires! It’s important to ask different questions and switch things up as much possible; expand the consciousness of any business related dialogue you’re having by challenging yourself, your colleagues and clients with new ways of thinking.

What does creativity mean to you?  

Creativity to me means pursuing anything that gets you out of your head and using your senses in a way that allows you to be “free”. Creativity is when you are open to exploring random thoughts, ideas or collaborative projects with others and bringing new inspiration to life. Creativity is openness – it’s important to remove fear-based thinking or judgement of yourself and others as much possible. I like doing as much as I can within my usual routine, but differently – challenging my senses to be engaged in an alternative way. It challenges my perspective and in turn, makes me think about and see things differently.

You certainly have many things going on at any one time – how do you balance your workload?

I’m extremely organised these days! My father used to always say to me growing up “don’t tell me Georgii, show me”! As a result, I feel fairly confident that I have become pretty good at just getting it done – managing ‘to do’ lists and not ending my day unless I’ve achieved what I feel I should have in that particular day. I work seven days a week a great deal of the time; it’s rare (outside of holidays) that I have a complete day off. The thing I love about LA is that everyone is working on something more than their day job. I’m inspired by a passion to have multiple projects that are extensions of someone’s personal brand, but that are also adding value to society, culture or a community in some way, shape or form. It’s really fun merging the different identities with others and doing it with purpose.

You recently launched The People Series – what was the inspiration behind that?

From the age of five, I used to approach strangers in public – mainly restaurants when dining with family and ask several inquisitive questions. I’ve never suffered from a lack of curiosity and the hunger to understand, empathise and relate to other people and their choices. Having moved to LA, I’ve been so inspired by many incredible people who have made me think about things differently, through a different set of eyes. I get so much joy out of exploring a human being – their thought process, entrepreneurial journey, motivations and inspirations and how they contribute to culture. I get so much satisfaction out of elevating other people, their work, and how they’re making a difference – primarily within entertainment, tech/innovation and disruptive media (in and around LA only). I interview people who I’ve met organically who have ‘moved me’ in one-way, shape or form. I get excited about their personal stories and want to capture the dialogues I have, and so I created a platform to amplify whom they are and how they’re choosing to show up in the world.

What has been a career highlight?

When I had the opportunity to work in film as an actress in Australia. I loved having the opportunity to explore story, character and work with so many great people in creative roles. Otherwise, I’ve had non-stop highlights for me personally here in LA: When I first arrived, I worked at Resolution Agency – a talent agency competing head to head with the likes of WME, Paradigm, ICM and CAA. My second opportunity that was a highlight involved establishing a brand for the largest and oldest influencer marketing network in the USA. That allowed me to work with all the studios and networks such as Disney, and some of the most successful and ‘in demand’ social media influencers of today. I’m extremely excited about my current opportunity, which has entailed launching a brand new creative and consultancy agency within Roc Nation (Jay Z’s / Jay Brown’s) company, titled “VOL. 4”. We will be officially announced to market come late Jan/early Feb. I have a senior position here and have played an instrumental role in establishing the company from inception.

What advice do you have for young women who are looking to break in to the industry?

Firstly, relationships are everything. Network, follow up and follow through. Align yourself with people who are “smarter” and more “successful” than you – whatever that looks like to you personally. Surround yourself with mentors who inspire you and with people who you can learn from. But also always think of how you can add value and give back. Put yourself out there and treat yourself as a valuable “mission”. Offer to take people out for a coffee or a drink for as little as half an hour of their time to pick their brains. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or advice – just one meeting might turn or lead into the dream opportunity. In a city like LA or NYC, nothing will necessarily just fall in your lap – you have to have a goal, vision, self-confidence and go after what you want with precision. Speak it into existence. Sustain humility and patience whilst you’re at it! 

Secondly, hard work pays off. You won’t achieve the level of success you want by being like everyone else. You always have to find ways to go over and above!