Touch presents Jo Lurie
It's October, and our final talk for the year. We've got the perfect speaker to end the year with a bang and it's Jo Lurie.
By profession, Jo Lurie is a TV Producer, Design Thinker, Writer, Creative Director, a Podcaster for Kaya FM, and Content Creator. By nature, she is a rule breaker, problem solver, truth teller, and a student of humans. By choice, she’s a hardcore hip hop fan and a bad ass tequila drinker. By circumstance, she’s a cancer survivor, terribly uncoordinated, and a godawful singer.
Jo grew up in Durban and moved to Johannesburg in 2002 to chase her lifelong dream of pursuing a career in Advertising. After spending a year of postgraduate studies at The AAA School of Advertising, she worked in the industry for six months before discovering she’d spent her life lusting after a career she had no passion for. *Cue the tequila problem*
After receiving an offer to work in Television, Jo began an unplanned 15-year love affair with the TV industry that would take her around the world and give her the opportunity to sit down with stars, dignitaries, moguls, prodigies, and presidents. The other 96% of it was much less glamorous, but still set her on fire with the excitement of being privileged enough to get to tell stories for a living.
She made international broadcasting history in 2008 by producing the world’s first live broadcast of an open-heart surgery in Meet Wally’s Heart. The team was awarded a Yellow Pencil at the D&AD Awards in London.
She spent eight years producing South Africa’s most popular live daily talk show, 3Talk with Noeleen, which is an unbroken record for a talk show producer in SA. She’s produced local versions of international formats such as, Disney, Nickelodeon, The Weakest Link, The Biggest Loser and Big Brother. She was the Creative Director of top local formats, Live Amp, RGB, YOTV, #WTFTumi and Top Chef.
With the shift in the television landscape, Jo has taken a step back from traditional production. Although she still produces, it’s not the only thing that pays for her tequila anymore. She’s taken the skills she’s learned through producing 15 years of live television: content creation, problem solving, research, firefighting, ideation, getting sh*t done, creativity under fire, tequila drinking, gut instinct, amongst others, and integrated them into a creative problem-solving methodology called Design Thinking.
Jo now owns her own Design Thinking Consultancy called Sharp + Blunt, where she produces unique creative solutions for clients. Some have called her the Olivia Pope of Creative. Ok, only one person has, but still.
In June 2018, Jo took to Instagram to launch an initiative called #TheGramSham for National Youth Day. This was born out of a sharp rise in depression and suicide rates in our youth, linked to Instagram. The campaign was an enormous success and was covered by all major print, digital, and radio platforms in the country. #TheGramSham has now evolved into a Podcast series currently on Kaya FM.
Jo’s dirty little secret is she never learnt to ride a bike and deeply resents it when people say it’s like riding a bike.
More on #TheGramSham:
In June 2018, #TheGramSham came to life for Youth Day.
With a sharp rise in depression and suicide linked to Instagram, it’s become evident that people are losing touch with the fact that the picture perfect lives being portrayed on the social media platform are most often simply snapshots, frames, highly curated, art directed moments of people’s lives and what they aren’t seeing is the hustle, the hard work, the disappointment, the heartbreak, the mess, the anxiety, the depression, and the hard times. So, when the youth feel all those things, they think they’re failing because they aren’t achieving the Instagram perfection. They feel less than, defeated, inadequate, and like they aren’t enough.
A few days before Youth Day, an appeal was made for people to share their truth with the youth. We needed at least one day of truth telling on Instagram and no dream selling. People were asked to post something that was their truth and use the hashtag. There were no guidelines. There was nothing specific, as long as it spoke to something that was real to them. The response was phenomenal. #TheGramSham made an enormous impact and exposed a much bigger truth to a much bigger audience than anticipated. The collective truth was that we all struggle with something and it doesn’t mean you’re failing, it just means you’re living. Life isn’t neat and it doesn’t always fit into a perfect frame. It’s messy, raw, and real.
#TheGramSham continues until today and the podcast was launched exclusively on Kaya FM at the beginning of October.