Young Guns: Fairfax account director, Taylor-Lee George

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 6 January 2017
Taylor-Lee George

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the buzzing young talent under 30s across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry. 

This week we head to Sydney to speak Fairfax account director, Taylor-Lee George.

How long have you been in the industry?

Four years.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Nearly two years.

What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig?

Getting educated.

Define your job in one word:

Diverse.

What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?

I thought it was going to be like Mad Men, lots of long lunches, schmoozing and big commission cheques.

How does the reality match up?

Chalk and cheese.

How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?

Fairfax Media informs, engages and entertains millions of Australians everyday via its newspapers, magazines, websites, radio stations, events and dynamic digital ventures. My role is to leverage Fairfax’s storytelling craft to help brands find their narrative and connect with their audiences in a more meaningful way.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

The people and the culture.

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

Change is an inherent part of the job and the industry, I've learnt to be resilient and agile so I can adapt to whatever comes my way.

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?

What makes me so proud to work for Fairfax is our amazing newsroom. Our writers are some of the best in the country. If I could make the switch anywhere it would be to editorial.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?

Our business is diversifying and upskilling in surprising areas, that means we are working with brands in new and innovative ways. Publishers have traditionally been seen as a place where advertisers and agencies buy media, but we are becoming so much more than that. We are supporting brands’ marketing strategies through design, content creation, strategy, digital innovation and amplification. It’s an exciting time to be working for a company like Fairfax.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

We need to develop new streams outside of standard display. For many media businesses content marketing has been a key area of investment. However we are currently facing challenges around the shift from traditional display, to content as a currency. Therefore it is vital we develop an industry-wide approach to the way we value content and the way we measure it.  

Who's your right hand person/who guides you day to day?

The light of my day is my right hand woman Julie McAlonana (aka Uncle Julio), Fairfax’s female tour de force. Jules and I are in the trenches together, trying to make stuff happen every day, for our company and the brands we work with.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

My fearless leader Simon Smith who has been my guiding force since I started at Fairfax.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 2020 and how do you plan on getting there?

I will be leading the commercial team for Fairfax. To achieve this I am working hard to build my relationships and connect with every person, on every level, in the organisation. I strongly believe a business's most valuable assets go home in the elevator every night. A company is only as good as its people. I approach everything in life with a strong connection between my head and heart alongside the belief that the harder I work, the luckier I'll get.

What is the elephant in the room? The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be.

The underrepresentation of women in journalism and senior leadership positions in the media. I am aware I am not alone in a quest for a more gender equal Australia and I wholeheartedly agree with Emma Watson when she said in her speech to the UN:

“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.”

I want to be part of a world where leadership is shared equally between men and women and where each half of humanity embraces and supports each other.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

Beyonce.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

I played Tina Turner in my high school musical. ‘River deep mountain high’ and a whole lot of shimmy.

Favourite advert is:

I love the Doritos 2016 Superbowl ad.

What’s your personal motto?

I am the master of my own destiny.

I got into advertising/ad tech/marketing etc because:

My acting career failed.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:

Instagram famous.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

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