Welcome to the Telum Spotlight, a quick insight into some of the interesting people in the PR and Communications space, as well as freelancers and those launching their own boutique agencies. Today we shine the Spotlight on George Garnham on the Gold Coast. George has almost a decade of experience in the PR industry, with roles at Edelman and The PR Group, and prior to moving to Australia, at The Crowd &I in London. He recently launched his own consultancy George Garnham PR.
By way of introduction:
My name is George Garnham - a London-born, Australia-based technology PR professional. I led corporate comms for clients including Samsung, PayPal and Envestnet | Yodlee at Edelman Australia, before starting my own consultancy, George Garnham PR, in July this year. We’re a specialist PR agency for tech and finance companies.
My first taste of comms was a month-long work experience placement during the final year of my degree at Leeds Rhinos Foundation in the North of England. I had the task of announcing the charity’s Easter Rugby Camps to local media - drafting a press release and building a targeted media list. Me and my mate - also on work experience - hit the phones and secured coverage. The office had a call the following day from a parent saying they’d read about the camp in the paper and would like to sign up. That’s when I was introduced to the value of PR. The first “proper” job, however, was at The Crowd &I in London - a boutique agency that served startups in London, Stockholm and San Francisco. iZettle, later acquired by PayPal, was our hero client. I was hooked on all things tech and startups from the moment I joined the company.
One thing you would change about the communications industry:
Studies have reported mental health problems in the industry. The Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence’s (CSCE) report, So how do you really feel?, showed that 48 per cent of people employed in comms and PR have considered leaving the profession for the sake of their mental wellbeing. I am a firm believer in the phrase "it’s PR, not ER" and I think we all need a healthy reminder sometimes that we aren’t saving lives here. We can all take a breather and not put too much pressure on ourselves.
Most admired person in comms:
Gem Griffiths-Rimmer, who founded The Crowd &I and took a punt on me when I was fresh out of university, gets my vote. So much of what I have learned about the industry and practice today came from Gem. She was formidable, could hold a room like no other and had an aura about her that made people stand up and take notice. Her standards were also incredibly high, something that I respected deeply. She remains a close friend of mine today and has done so much for the startup ecosystems in London and Stockholm.
Most admired journalist:
Chris Griffith at The Australian deserves a mention. He has been a stalwart of tech journalism for years and is always such a pleasure to talk to. John Davidson at the AFR is another. He’s an acclaimed journalist, but very humble and always has time for you.
Advice to anyone starting out in comms:
It goes back to the "PR not ER" point I made earlier. Have fun and tackle things head-on without the fear of making mistakes. It’s such a rewarding industry to be a part of, with so many specialisms and sectors in which to craft your trade, so just soak up as much information as you can and enjoy it.
Essential daily reading:
The AFR and The Australian are my go-to for tech and finance news, and ABC for general news and politics. Marcel Van Oost’s daily fintech newsletter is absolutely brilliant for those who want to keep on top of global news related to financial innovation.
Think Like A Monk, by Jay Shetty, is phenomenal for anyone wanting to incorporate a bit of chill in their life without going overly spiritual. Jay has some brilliant tips that we can all implement to be more mindful and fulfilled.
Sideways, because I love wine, California and a good laugh!
I’d have to say an African safari. I love nature and after doing a safari in Sri Lanka a few years back, I definitely have the bug. To do the next one in Africa would be pretty amazing.
Clickbait fact about you:
I am a massive Fulham Football Club fan - for my sins.
“Don’t worry, be happy”