Staff Reporters
Nov 18, 2020

40 Under 40 2020: Sam Geer, Initiative Australia

Over the course of a decade Sam Geer has risen from trainee strategist to chief strategy officer and now MD, winning client loyalty while also putting mental health and issues relating to indigenous people on the agenda.

40 Under 40 2020: Sam Geer, Initiative Australia
Top-tier talent transforming APAC media and marcomms 

Sam Geer

Managing director 

When he was 21 years old, Sam Geer left his professional dancing career and—as a colleague put it—“pirouetted into media with no degree, no experience and no idea”. That was about 12 years ago. Since then, he has pranced from success to success.

Joining MediaCom in Australia in 2008, Geer went on to become the first person to win the NGEN Award from the Media Federation of Australia (MFA) twice. Geer took off to New York City the year after to pursue his sweetheart and, barely missing a beat, scored the lead strategist role for Audi and Revlon’s global accounts for MediaCom.

He returned to Sydney at the age of 28, taking on the strategy director role at UM Australia. About two years and several big business wins like Coca-Cola and Virgin later, he was made the national strategy director.

At the age of 31 in 2018, Geer moved on to Initiative Australia as its new chief strategy officer—eventually bringing the agency to its best year on record. Now promoted to managing director, Geer led a business onslaught that netted 21 new brands from diversified categories, including Lego, Western Australia Government, Goodman Fielder and KPMG. This was on top of a 100% retention record on incumbent pitches.

Communications leaders are in advantageous positions to spark important conversations, Geer believes. Capitalising on that, Geer has been instrumental in pushing for the inclusion of mental health and indigenous issues on the cultural agenda of a series of industry forums he fronts, called ‘Culture Shock’. He also hired corporate social responsibility expert Jason Maggs for his agency’s ‘Initiative Good’ programme, consulting clients on how to market with purpose. This led to the development of award-winning campaigns such as LadBible’s Citizen Reef and AIME’s Hooded Hustle.

To bridge the gap between academia and practice, the avid mentor also guest lectures at major Australian universities like Swineburne and teaches courses at the Media Federation Australia and Miami Ad School—thus walking his much-recited talk: “Be the change you want to see.” 

Top-tier talent transforming APAC media and marcomms 


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