Making a quick leap up the corporate ladder was never the point of the exercise for Georgia. She focussed her energies differently.
“I’ve always been intrigued by what else is possible in a business”, she says from her home of seven years in New York. “It's like, ‘well, what's the next thing? What should we do?’ That’s very motivating for me.”
Knox has indeed been a highly creative decision maker. As it turns out, she has also quickly climbed the corporate ladder.
Her current position is with Audible, an international audiobook and podcast service with more than 800,000 titles on offer. As Audible’s Country Manager for Canada, Knox oversees the entire Canadian business, though she cut her teeth as Audible’s first employee in Australia.
A colleague from a previous job phoned Knox and said Audible wanted to open for Australia and they were looking for a local to take it on. “They wanted someone who could craft deals, get some local content happening and really launch the service.
“I'd never heard of Audible. Never listened to an audiobook and to be honest, the whole idea was actually really intimidating.”
At the time, Knox was working at APN News & Media (now ARN Media), which was a leap in itself, considering her work after graduating had been as a lawyer. Though she did a double degree in Media/Communications and Law at Macquarie University, it was law that really drew her in.
So, in her fifth year of study, Knox started part-time work at Blake Dawson (now Ashurst), a large Australian law firm before graduating in 2008. She worked for two years in a traditional legal environment. Then media and communications re-entered the mix.
“I saw a newspaper article for an internal management consulting program at APN, a top tier media company. I thought, oh, that's interesting,” says Knox who has obvious warmth and a bright intelligence.
Already sensing that a pure law environment wasn’t for her, Knox applied for and won a position in the program spending a lot of time in the corporate head office learning the ropes on outdoor advertising, radio, newspapers and digital businesses.
But another transformative influence was about to arrive.
“Again, I was reading the news and I saw the ad about Sydney University relaunching its Master of Business Administration (MBA),” she says. “I was really enjoying being on the commercial side of things at APN, so I thought an MBA would give me some of the skills I didn’t have from my degree work.”
Knox began her studies and quickly realised the opportunities to learn were more wide-ranging than she first realised.
“There were people studying there from dentistry, architecture, medicine, banking, private equity, entrepreneurs. There was such an energy in what we all did. I learned a ton from the course itself, but I think I learned just as much from the other students.”
Doing the MBA and becoming part of that high energy cohort came at a good time for Knox. Like many media companies at the time, APN was weathering some serious industry storms. Both the MBA content and her fellow students were invaluable in helping Knox tackle the challenges.
Then the Audible offer arrived.
“I didn't know if it was beyond me,” says Knox. “But I credit some of my MBA peers with building up my confidence. I took the leap.”
The learning curve was steep, including time spent in London and New York, but Knox’s work in launching Audible for Australia in 2014 was a success. “After a couple of years, the business was going really well and we had filled out the team,” she says.
Then came another Audible offer. She was asked to replicate what she’d done in Australia in an international expansion role, first for India then Canada. It was a busy time which included, in the space of just a few months, her partner of more than ten years proposing, them getting married then both moving to New York.
There was one more step up for Knox to take. It arrived when the Country Manager for Canada, who she’d worked with preparing for the Canada launch, left Audible and Knox was asked to apply for the role. Now, four years later, that remains her current role.
Asked about the qualities she has that have allowed her to travel so far so quickly, Knox pauses.
“I don't have a work persona and a home persona or anything like that. I think it’s really key to lead with kindness, including for yourself,” she says.
“I mean, before I did the MBA, I thought I had to have all the answers. Then I realised you don’t have to. It's totally fine not to have all the answers so long as you have the mechanisms and relationships to find them.”
Written by George Dodd.