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Silicon Beach Radio - Strange Destinations with Dan O’Grady

Sep 2, 2019

Courtney Blackman explores the ways in which creativity and an adventurous spirit have shaped her life and career - fashion, journalism, real estate, marketing, networking, tech and of course renovating a heritage listed opera house!

Courtney is Head of PR & Marketing at YBF Ventures – Melbourne’s top startup hub for tech and innovation, Courtney looks after the company’s public-facing reputation and leads the internal and external communications teams. She is a member of YBF’s executive leadership team.

Since starting at YBF, Courtney has put the YBF brand in front of millions of eyes via traditional marketing and editorial placements. In her first year, YBF reached 21,530,721 people via traditional media and 4,705,315 via social media. She designed, developed and currently oversees content production for three direct-email products and has increased direct communication by 1188%. Courtney and her team hosted over 400 events in 2018, most open to the wider tech ecosystem.

Courtney manages the ongoing content strategy for YBF’s own news page, a YBF Medium account and YBF’s own YouTube channel and multiple social media platforms. Under her leadership the YBF marketing team has grown social media followers by over 8,000%, and in April of 2019 the company was awarded ‘Best Instagame’ by the Coworky Awards out of the States. YBF was also shortlisted for the 2019 Australian Small Business Champion Awards.

Courtney has been active in pushing gender equality and produced Australia's first fintech awards celebrating women and cultural minorities in 2018 – the Lift Off Awards. The awards were supported by the Victorian Government, Lander & Rogers, Xero, Visa, ConsenSys, Vinomofo, Foreigner Brewing Co. and the British Consulate-General Melbourne.

Prior to moving to Melbourne, Courtney was a London-based entrepreneur working in fashion and music. She founded and grew Forward PR, a media firm that became one of the most respected agencies in London working across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Courtney’s team secured coverage in tens of thousands of outlets (print, digital, television and radio) including Vogue, ELLE, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, BBC – resulting in millions of pounds worth of equivalent advertising. Her team created and managed hundreds of events (catwalk shows in London and Paris, product and album launches, etc.); successfully aligned celebrities and influencers and negotiated numerous unique collaborations. Courtney was a board member of the Ethical Fashion Forum; a judge for the WGSN Global Fashion Awards, Scottish Fashion Awards and the Fashion Monitor Journalism Awards; a commentator for NBC's Today Show and a presenter for Fashion One Television. She was a regular guest lecturer at universities and even helped develop the PR program at Southampton Solent University.

Courtney also founded, grew and ultimately sold London’s premier professional fashion networking club. As MD and Chairperson, she secured top names as event speakers – British Vogue Editor, Edward Enninful; male model, David Gandy; heiress and accessories guru, Lulu Guinness; and British GQ Editor, Dylan Jones; forged lasting partnerships with Swarovski, Condé Nast, Pulse Films and the V&A Museum and secured and maintained relationships with sponsors. She served as Producer for The Industry TV and Editor-in-Chief of its digital magazine.

Personal interests include the arts. Outside of YBF Ventures, Courtney is the editor of a London-based men’s lifestyle magazine called Candid Magazine where she oversees a team of more than 12 global editors and contributors. The magazine features original content in the fields of arts, fashion, film, music and celebrity interviews.
Courtney and her partner also spent thirteen years historically restoring and operating an opera house in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and owned and operated a contemporary art gallery in the town. In the first quarter of 2019, the Lunenburg Opera House was sold to a society, which will carry on their original vision of being a beacon of the arts for Nova Scotia’s South Shore.


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Intro & outro music by Dan O'Grady