Georgia Robertson: Innovative funding for a fairer world
20Twenties Young Alumni Award winner in recognition of leadership in a non-profit organisation that benefits education projects. LLB, BA 2015.
What was your reaction to receiving the award, and what does it mean to you?
It's incredibly humbling to be a recipient of the inaugural award. I've maintained strong professional and social relationships with many Otago alums and the calibre of those people is incredibly high, so it's a real privilege that my work would be recognised.
Something I've learned is that visibility matters and having the courage to step out and own our work is a big part of that – how can we inspire people to action if we stay behind the scenes? I'm very grateful to be acknowledged in this forum and hopefully able to encourage other people to explore the edges of what is possible and choose pathways with purpose that serve win-win-wins for all stakeholders.
What have you done since graduation and what are you doing now?
I gained commercial experience as a corporate lawyer working on acquisitions and disposals, private capital markets and foreign direct investment. I joined the Board of Youthline CSI where I became one of the youngest elected Chairs and started the social enterprise practice area at the firm.
Around the same time I met Josh Ross, one of our Co-Founders of Humanitix, the world's first not-for-profit events ticketing platform and new generation tech-charity that exists to close the education gap for disadvantaged children through disruption in the ticketing industry, transforming booking fees into funding for education programmes. The stars aligned and I joined as NZ CEO leading the go-to-market in NZ.
Now we work with thousands of event organisers. We are the fastest growing ticketing platform in Australasia with 300 per cent year-on-year growth, and global expansion plans. We fund education to create a fairer world for disadvantaged young girls and addressing the digital divide for young Māori and Pasifika students.
What inspires and motivates you to work in the area you are involved with?
I really believe in the power of business to bring to life a better vision for our world.
It's a privilege that we get to make decisions about our lives like leaving lucrative corporate jobs to start tech-charities. What drives me is that every young person on this earth has the opportunity to decide what they want for their future, the ability to actively contribute to that dream and live their life out through that. Inequality hurts everyone and we know the facts. Education is the answer to the challenges we have to overcome for our world to thrive into the future.
That kind of world doesn't come from playing it safe, it depends on people willing to put it all on the line. Purpose driven values are not just wishful idealism, it's actually a serious competitive driver in business. Change is coming. It isn't enough to coast along business as usual anymore. What inspires me is that we each have the power to use our skills as a force for good and I love that each day we have a fresh opportunity to contribute.
What were the highlights of your time at Otago, and has it influenced you in your career and following your interests?
I think the legacy my experience at Otago provided me with is staying curious about the world and I am constantly educating myself on ways to contribute.
It afforded me the privilege of an amazing education and it set me up with credentials to go out into the world and be a little audacious. I had the opportunity to align myself with projects, people and ideas that I feel matter, build my confidence through small successes, and then extrapolate those into a blueprint for a better world that we are building through every-day transactions which stack up to massive impact over time and at scale.
Otago taught me to create a place for yourself, nourish your networks, take huge courageous action in favour of what you want to see and inspire others in a way that brings them on the journey with you.
It's these values that have influenced the shape of my career and interests in tech, governance and social enterprise. BCG (Boston Consulting Group) calculated that through Humanitix I have 40 times the impact I could have acting alone and what's most exciting is we're just getting started.