Q1. What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is that I get to work with some of the smartest, most innovative people, who are essentially at the crossroads of culture, communications and technology. Storytelling is my greatest love, and I want to invest in, and support, both the storytellers and the people whose technology makes those stories better and more accessible.
For example, Ai-Media uses technology to make media more accessible with captions, transcripts and translation. And what that means is the ability to make live content; whether it’s broadcast TV, events or video conferencing that's accessible. That means a much more involved and diverse set of voices at decision-making tables.
Q2. What skills have been the most useful in your work?
I started life as a lawyer. I've found that those analytical skills have proven useful. But mostly I am using relationship skills, because media specifically, and investing in general, is all about relationships. I've had the privilege of working with some incredibly creative people across those different sectors, and now working at an investor and board level, you can take a bit of a helicopter view.
Q3. Who or what in the media inspires you?
I admire women like The Guardian Australia’s editor Lenore Taylor, and what she's doing at the masthead, and political journalist Katherine Murphy, and the incredible female writers there who are really making a difference to our conversation.
And from a business perspective, my business partner Olivia Humphrey, who is probably one of the most successful female Australian entrepreneurs that no one's ever heard of, which is ridiculous. She founded Kanopy after seeing a gap in the market years ago for distribution of educational DVDs into universities and now Kanopy is in libraries and universities all over the world.
And I'm so inspired by some of the female entrepreneurs that we're working with, who are looking at AI as opportunities. I think AI can help us do a lot of more manual jobs better, and we shouldn't be scared of it.
Q4. What’s the most useful advice you’ve had?
The best advice I ever got is that careers are not linear. And it is so important to understand in a rapidly changing world, because you can otherwise get trapped into always grasping for what is ‘the next step up’, and the next.
And don't let other people dictate to you what they think your status needs to be as opposed to not valuing your skill set, or not valuing the contribution you make. And the other thing is that you are the only person responsible for your career. You can have many supporters and advocates but at the end of the day, it's your career.
Q5. What are you looking forward to?
I'm most looking forward to the continuous diversity of voices at the table. The world, particularly the Western world, has been designed for a small wedge of privileged white men, and I’m wanting to help create a much more complex and diverse set of people sitting at the table. It's because I grew up watching, basically, men being defined as leaders, and women being defined as either housewives or other stereotypes; it’s so important that we support female writers, and female journalists need to be amplified and supported.
That is what excites me, because it's actually so much more bloody interesting, not to mention brings measurably better outcomes.
About Deanne Weir
Deanne Weir is a former media lawyer and executive-turned-producer, investor and company director. She has held a diverse range of board and advisory roles in the screen, music, publishing and technology sectors, and is Chair of ASX listed Ai-Media Technologies Limited, Chair of the Sydney Film Festival and For Film’s Sake, producer of the Attagirl global film lab. In 2022 Deanne and Olivia Humphrey, founder of global streaming platform Kanopy, launched Storyd Group which invests in Australian female creatives making feature films for international audiences.