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Genevieve Clay-Smith

Genevieve Clay-Smith


Actors / Actresses - After Dinner - Arts - Entrepreneurs - Inspiration - Keynote Speakers - Motivation - Women in Business

Social Entrepreneur

Genevieve is transforming film making from being an elitist industry to one that embraces disability and marginalised people.

She has taken a potential negative and turned it into a positive. Using her childhood challenges of depression as a result of being bullied at school, she has developed a deep appreciation for ‘belonging’ and moving people from being marginalised to ‘included’.

Genevieve is the co-founder and co-owner of award winning creative agency, Taste Creative and, co-founder and Executive Director of pioneering not-for-profit organisation, Bus Stop Films. She is the NSW Young Australian of the Year.

Genevieve’s films about inclusion have been viewed by over half a million people world-wide.

In 2009, at 20 years old, Genevieve won 1st prize at Tropfest, with her film, Be My Brother about a young man with Down Syndrome. It was acclaimed for the way it broke down social stigmas about disability.

Be My Brother is now used across Australia in schools as a related text for the HSC, has aired on the ABC and in-flight entertainment for Qantas. Be My Brother’s success inspired Genevieve to co-found Bus Stop Films a pioneering not-for-profit organisation, with a focus on creating supportive learning environments for people with an intellectual disability. Since 2011, Genevieve has held weekly, filmmaking workshops for people with an intellectual disability. Her workshops are progressive, helping people learn about tertiary level film studies topics. Since 2009, Genevieve has developed six ‘inclusively made’ short films to help voice the experiences of marginalised communities within Australia.

Genevieve is raising the bar when it comes to disability and the arts, showcasing that people with an intellectual disability can be involved in creating artistic works of excellence. The Interviewer, made in 2012 created with a class of 12 students with an intellectual disability has been used by countless international recruitment agencies across Australia, Germany and France to raise awareness about inclusive employment. It’s been sold and distributed in five international territories, gone viral in Europe, has screened at the UN as well as several Oscar qualifying film festivals and has won over 30 international film festival awards.

In 2014, Genevieve worked with NAB and Australia Post to produce short films and internal campaigns designed to break down barriers and create conversations surrounding people's fears and uncertainties about disability and mental health in the workforce. In 2013, she facilitated the world's first inclusive television commercial, where two of her students with an intellectual disability received paid employment on a television commercial she directed for the Special Olympics.

Presentation Topics

The importance of diversity and inclusion
When speaking on this topic Genevieve inspires listeners to understand the richness of fostering a diverse and inclusive society at large and how everyone can be a part of creating positive social change through identifying potential barriers to inclusion and how to actively participate in creating a more diverse and inclusive society. We are all agents of change, and this starts with understanding and acknowledging that we are all susceptible to prejudice, and once we understand and acknowledge this, we can change and help others to change too.

Raising awareness about inclusion and diversity in the workplace
There is an incredible push to see more diverse and inclusive workplaces across Australia. Many large corporates are creating and developing diversity and inclusion action plans to increase and retain employees from diverse and marginalised communities and backgrounds. But this shouldn't be done just to be politically correct and tick a box. Diversity enriches workplace culture and provides many benefits to companies who are willing to be inclusive. In speaking on this topic, Genevieve highlights not only the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workforce but also inspires people to become passionate advocates for diversity and inclusion in their own spheres of influence.

Leadership is more than having the 'right skills'
Insights into what leadership is from the point of view of a young creative. Genevieve believes that leadership does not rest upon individuals with a certain set of skills or talents, but rather, leadership comes from attributes that all people can adopt into their lives, it simply starts with passion and acknowledging what you're not good at!

Inspiring youth to dream big
Genevieve came from very humble beginnings and in any keynote speech she gives to youth, she likes to inspire them with the fact that background doesn't matter. Young people should have big dreams and believe they can achieve great things. She warns youth never to act out of fear, but to always act out of hope in order to reach their full potential. Fear will stifle you, hope will propel you.

You don't have to go far to make a difference
Everyone has something to offer to offer the world, and doing well can simply look like sharing your skills and passions with others who might not have the opportunity to do what you do. In this topic Genevieve explores how to make a difference where you are and with what you have, through her personal story of sharing the art of film making with people with a disability.

The power of storytelling to make a difference
Insights from a filmmaker about how storytelling can be used for more than just entertainment and that the best stories have universal themes and messages that help audiences make sense of the world. Storytelling has the power to shape social perspectives, challenge people and create positive social change, now more than ever, people are yearning for stories that are emboldening and encouraging.


Genevieve was the keynote speaker at the Hunter Research Foundation’s (HRF) Regional Youth Summit, held in Maitland in February 2015. Our CEO Brent Jenkins has been talking about her ever since and wanting to invite her back! We invited Genevieve, as a Hunter Valley girl made well, to share her journey with our audience of young people and her address greatly exceeded our expectations. She was inspirational and positive, her story relatable and human and told in a captivating way. The feedback from our staff and audience was uniformly positive and we will continue to invite Genevieve to take part in HRF events. She is an outstanding ambassador for our Region, but despite having achieved great acclaim as the NSW Young Australian of the Year, she remains approachable and warm. After her address she stayed for the other Summit presentations by young people and spoke to audience members in the break, including a young person with a disability who was inspired by Genevieve’s presentation on her not-for-profit organisation Bus Stop Films. I couldn’t praise her role in our Summit highly enough. I have no hesitation recommending Genevieve as an inspirational speaker with a great story.
PR & Fundraising Manager, Hunter Research Foundation

Genevieve is a passionate supporter for those with disability, and speaks very powerfully from the heart about what led her to where she is. She is very accomplished, with numerous professional and personal accolades, and communicates as a very compassionate person, intelligent, open and honest. I have no hesitation in recommending Genevieve to connect on a very personal level with any audience, her drive is positively infectious. Thank God for people like her.
Business Development Manager, Wesley Communications, Fundraising & Volunteering

Genevieve gave us a refreshing and passionate keynote presentation that all of our guests enjoyed. One of the best guest speakers that we have had for the Commonwealth Day Lunch.
Commonwealth Day Council of NSW, President

Thank you so much for sharing with us the experiences you’ve had on set, it was inspiring to see the way you were confronted with regimented gender stereotypes yet were able to earn respect and esteem in order to disprove them. One of the strongest ideas that carried through the night was your message not to fear failure. It is such an important concept which I hope to follow through with my leadership term. I left the forum inspired, wanting to head straight out into the workforce and to achieve success due to my ‘unfathomable capabilities’.
Head Girl, Kincoppal - Rose Bay


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