“They make me want to do better,” A day in the life of Georgia Hanias, CEO and founder of Ecology Media
- Ecology Media builds publicity for fintechs focused on social impact.
- From running a company, to running 10Ks, here’s a day in the life of CEO, Georgia Hanias
Georgia Hanias is the founder and CEO of Ecology Media, a media consultancy based in London that specializes on raising the profile of social impact businesses in the technology sector.
“My main focus is fintech. I also do some PR around sustainability and fashion as well. Believe it or not, the two sectors do collide,” said Hanias.
She is not new to fintech, having spent over 10 years’ working in the space. Her experience includes being one of the founding members of Innovate Finance, a nonprofit that aims to create a global financial services sector that is more inclusive and sustainable. Her time at the organization gave her the connections and inside knowledge she needed to branch out and start her own firm.
“Because I was in that ecosystem, I got to know all the entrepreneurs, and to essentially become part of a unique global network,” said Hanias. “It just made sense then to set up a consultancy of my own and work with entrepreneurs I had already met in the past.”
Now, with four other teammates at her side, she is able to extend her passion for fintech to cover diversity as well.
“Over the past three years, I've been nurturing my relationship with the team, and together we’ve been able to forge a really interesting business,” she said.
But while being the CEO and founder of a PR firm may be rewarding, it’s anything but easy. From placing stories, to chasing journalists, to touching base with sources, it’s a game of tag that can outlast its players.
Still, Georgia Hanias manages to do it all, while still making time for family, exercise, piano, and reading.
Here’s a day in her life:
5:45 a.m.: My alarm goes off. This is the quiet time I use to prepare for my work day. I need about a half an hour to 45 minutes to read the headlines. So I quickly look at the top trending stories in the Financial Times, the BBC, the Guardian and the Daily Mail - just to get an idea in terms of what's happening in the world. Then I quickly skim the headlines of top tier tech and trade publications like Wired, Business Insider and TechCrunch. I also listen to BBC World Service Radio.
Obviously I can't read all the articles. But I just need to know what the journalists are writing about - the top line - and whether the subject matter impacts any of my clients. If the stories resonate with anyone I work with then I find a way to help them contribute to the discussion.
A big part of my job as a PR is to figure out what the journalists are interested in writing about and pitching new story angles and ideas. That time in the morning is therefore very important to me -- I need to be on top of what the media is writing about.
6:30 a.m.: I get ready and have my morning cup of coffee while I reflect on what I'm going to do for the rest of the day.
And I meditate for a few minutes to try to stay calm before a big busy day.
7:00 a.m.: I have two children -- both teenagers. I normally get them up at around this time. We try to spend about half an hour to 45 minutes together having breakfast, just to make sure that everyone's happy before the day starts.
7:45 a.m.: For at least a couple of hours, I'm on the phone, checking emails.
That’s key pitching time for PRs. We try to reach the journalists before they go into their 10 a.m. editorial meetings because they're usually looking for different stories ideas to share with their bosses.
It’s quite a frantic couple of hours: You're trying to place stories as much as possible, but journalists aren’t picking up the phone or answering emails or they’re asking you to call tomorrow.
And it’s not just reaching a journalist, pitching an idea, and having them write something. They've got hurdles to overcome as well from their end to get a piece commissioned.
There are times when the journalist really loves what you've pitched to them - but they need to run it by the editor. If the boss doesn’t like the idea, it won’t get published. It’s tough!
And the reason why we need to place stories is because a lot of times the companies I'm working with are not major corporations with lots of company stories to share. The people I work with run fledgling startups or mid-size firms that are trying to get themselves ready for an IPO in the next couple of years.
They don’t always have organic news to share with the world. So we've got to create that news for them. That means placing opinion pieces, trying to piggyback on stories that are happening at the moment that impacts their sector and contributing to articles that journalists are currently writing about.
So this is, very honestly, the most stressful time of the day for me. And what's difficult about public relations is that there's so much happening behind the scenes that you can’t prove has happened to your client. In other words - you can spend hours pitching to journalists, and get either no response or not the response that you wanted.
And it's really heart wrenching at times and dispiriting because you always have to go back to the client and tell them that a story has been declined and manage their expectations.
Of course, being a boutique consultancy I can’t afford to not deliver any coverage, so I always make sure that my team and I have secured some kind of opportunity for clients, but it's not easy to do. Days can go by and you still have secured an interview or an opinion piece - It can be very stressful and I want to give up!
But I always think of Samuel Beckett's famous quote that's become my mantra to inspire me every day: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
And you know-- it's true. You just can’t help but try to stay as positive as possible, especially during a crisis.
So that's the morning.
10:00 a.m.: And then because it's such a stressful first couple of hours, I have to take some time to exercise.
I try to go for a 10 km run at least twice a week along the river near my house in London.
When I’m not running, I either weight train or go for a long walk, or a bike ride.. Taking out about an hour or so of my day to exercise is vital to me. It helps to clear my head, and it makes a world of difference.
It also changes how I feel about my day, so even if I've had a dodgy couple of hours in the morning with journalists, after I’m done with my workout, I just feel like a better person. I feel like I can go and get on with the rest of my day.
11:00 a.m.: I get home, have a power shake (which involves lots of vegetables and vitamins and water to replenish), have a shower, and then I'm back again at my desk for conference calls.
I make sure I speak to all of my clients at least once a week -- to touch base, and know that we're all on the same page, and that I'm delivering what they want me to deliver. It's very important. So I spend quite a bit of time on call.
During these hours, I’m hitting the phones, speaking to my clients, or catching up with emails
1:30. p.m.: Then come my writing hours. We do produce a lot of articles and opinion pieces on behalf of our clients. So myself and my team will spend each day writing something.
I do enjoy the research behind the writing for my work. I get to feel like a subject matter expert for a day.
Last week, I produced something about digital transformations in Cambodia and Pakistan. The other day I was doing some research on the remittance space in Nigeria and how it impacts small businesses. I also looked into microfinance projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and financial literacy programmes for teens in America.
My work allows me to learn something new every day and that keeps me very optimistic and happy. I also enjoy the entrepreneurs I work with because they're intelligent and passionate, and their energy is very infectious. They make me want to do better. They make me want to learn more. I'm constantly inspired by them.
3:00 p.m.: I make some time to actually call a friend or family member -- I think that's very important to boost morale and to stay close to the things that are the most important to me.
I will pick up the phone (not text), and call someone. And even if I can't get hold of them, I want them to know that I've been thinking about them.
So that's what I do until around 3:30. We don't have to be on the phone for long, but it's good to touch base.
3:30 p.m.: Working again: usually another conference call, then email pitching and looking at headlines, seeing if there are any new developments.
4:30 p.m.: The kids get home and I'll spend some time with them -- maybe make them a little snack -- and catch up on how their day went.
5:00 p.m.: I’m still online -- mainly because I have American clients now as well. So I've got to be available for them. I also call them once a week to touch base with them and to know what they're up to.
Trust me, you cannot manage an account if you don't speak with your clients at least once a week. And I find that if I don't speak to them, things slowly fall apart. I think it's really important to communicate and engage with them.
That's the industry I'm in anyway.
6:30 p.m.: I try to shut down my computer, and I start to cook. I love cooking. It's in my DNA -- that's what Greeks do. I always joke and say that we were born with a snack platter in our hands.
So I will cook for a family meal. We always sit and eat together every night. It's just what we do. And I find that it’s our bonding time as a family.
7:30 p.m.: We'll sit down and eat and I devote the next hour, hour-and-a-half, talking and engaging with everyone.
8:30 p.m.: And then the kids clean up, and I play piano for a bit.
I’ll also look at my computer one more time to see if I have any emails from my clients on the West Coast or from my team members.
9:00 p.m.: If there’s no problem, I switch off and I will usually go upstairs to make sure the kids are okay. They’re teenagers now, but I still have to keep an eye out for them.
Then I go upstairs and read. I love reading. I try to finish a book once a week -- everything from nonfiction, to poetry, to fiction.
I just finished The War at the End of the World by Mario Vargos Llosa - that took two weeks - but what a great book. It’s based on the War of Canudos in Brazil in 1896. I also completed an anthology of poetry which I absolutely loved called Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur. It's incredible. She’s a poet on Instagram, and very young and a fellow Canadian!
It's so refreshing to read the insights and thoughts of these tremendous and very talented people who are from different generations.
I think it's important to switch off, and the only way I can do that is by reading in the evening.
And then before I go to bed, I say a little prayer to thank God for my blessings.
10:30 p.m.: Around now the lights are off. If I go to bed after 11, that's a really late night.