Australian writer, director, businesswoman and AFTRS alumna Genevieve Clay-Smith clinched the top spot in the 2019 Emerging Leader category winner at the 2019 Telstra New South Wales Business Women’s Awards. The awards, which aim to celebrate women who are redefining business, have been taking place across the country throughout March, finishing up with the New South Wales ceremony on 4 April.
Already successful in the screen world, Genevieve completed a Masters of Screen Arts at AFTRS in 2013, before completing a Graduate Certificate in Screenwriting Fundamentals in 2014 at AFTRS.
Shortly thereafter, Genevieve went on to become the Co-Founder and CEO of the voluntarily run, not-for-profit Bus Stop Films (BSF), an organisation aiming to create more diversity in the film industry by helping people who lack English skills, have mental health challenges, disabilities or are from marginalised communities learn about the industry through workshops. BSF has partnered with AFTRS to host workshops at the School.
Another of her ventures, Taste Creative (where she is the Co-Founder and Creative Director) helps students gain further industry experience and employment. The agency creates film, animation, design and digital work for companies ranging from P&O cruises to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The short film produced for the latter organisation, Shakespeare in Tokyo, showed an Australian Shakespeare fan with Down Syndrome exploring the busy Japanese city and received numerous film festival award nods.
Genevieve showed her passion for filmmaking in her Telstra nomination, saying “I believe that filmmaking is one of the most powerful ways to create social change”. After her win, she heralded the benefits of diversity on a celebratory Instagram post:
“We talk a lot about diversity in business & it’s benefits. Diversity is a fact, and inclusion is an attitude. We won’t unlock the benefits of diversity unless we are inclusive. Inclusion is an attitude which unlocks positive action. Being inclusive isn’t hard, it doesn’t slow you down and it doesn’t compromise on quality. Making a difference isn’t difficult all you have to do, is be inclusive” my message tonight upon accepting the emerging leader award at the @telstra #telstrabizwomen awards!”
This year was the 24th year of the awards. Robyn Denholm, Chief Financial Officer & Head of Strategy and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, expressed her excitement for the awards:
“For almost a quarter of a century, the Awards program has recognised outstanding women, helped progress their careers and business ideas, and built a support network of like-minded people to learn, grow and connect with.”