April 20, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Giving Back, Australian Style

photography Shawn Fender styling Heather O’Boyle

The modern career woman needs to be a jack-of-all-trades. No one knows this better than philanthropist, publicist and Pacific Palisades local Susie Dobson.

President of thriving non-profit film organization Australians in Film and well-known publicist, who reps many brands including Brentwood’s Luxe Hotel, made Los Angeles her home 20 years ago, moving with her director husband, Kevin James Dobson from her native Australia.

As with many expatriates before and after her, the City of Angels quickly became a home away from home for Susie, who grew up with Sydney’s famous harbor as her backyard. The Westside, she says, is now very much her playground, from where she runs her successful business, Susie Dobson Global PR.

“Kevin wanted to come to LA to get a new agent,†Susie says. “We were only planning to be here for two weeks when he landed a directing job right away … the movie was never made but we had already relocated.â€
Her LA stop wasn’t the first international move of Susie’s career, with a stint on London’s public relations circuit warming her up for the success that was to follow once she arrived in Southern California.

With her filmmaker husband, in 2005 she produced and publicized the independent feature film The Virgin of Juarez, starring Minnie Driver.

May 2006 marked another milestone with a nomination for the Women Making a Difference Award by the LA Business Journal. The following year Susie Dobson Global PR orchestrated one of many Oscar® parties, this time for director George Miller, hosted by Nicole Kidman.

Her in demand services have attracted the likes of the Italian Film Commission for which Susie launched the Tuscan Film Commission, Cristophe salons in Beverly Hills, Washington, D.C. and Newport Beach, and Bellagio in Las Vegas as part of the opening team. From 1999 to October 2002 her firm handled the worldwide public relations account for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and was responsible for launching the company in five new international counties and three new domestic territories in the US.

“The best part of PR is being able to shine a light on good work. I also love learning about the businesses I represent,†Susie says.

Her success has carried well beyond the boundaries of public relations.
She joined the Australians in Film board in 2002, when it had just 50 members and screened a mere six films a year. In 2007 she was elected as President of the organization that fosters and promotes Australian film talent living and working in Los Angeles. Her involvement has seen the organization grow to more than 500 members who attend more than 24 screenings each year. With ambassadors such as Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe (pictured), Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman among others, Australians in Film also hosts high profile events including the Breakthrough Awards, the Heath Ledger Scholarship and an Oscar party.

“Our events provide an exciting forum for expats and Americans to come together regularly at our events†Susie says. “You dont have to be an Aussie to join either — I love attending our events and seeing the positive effects of getting such a diverse group together.â€

Running the organization, she says, is a way of continuing the spirit of giving back.

While the Aussie film community is certainly one focus in her life, the Pacific Palisades community is another. She has always made a point of contributing in her neighborhood, as a passionate businesswoman and mother to teenage sons Harry and Jonathan.

An active participant in various community programs over the years, Susie also held board positions at Crestwood Hills Nursery School and was co-chairperson for the Canyon Charter School Beautification, Outreach and Special Event committees and instigated groundbreaking fundraising events such as Jammin’ in the Canyon. With Cindy Simon, she also wrote a successful grant to the Anne & Kirk Douglas Playground Foundation.

“Being involved in the local community is so important,†Susie says. “Not only do you get so much back, you also see something grow, and you get to meet such extraordinary people who are your neighbors.â€

Susie is also a member of CEW, LACP, EPPS and James Beard Foundation. She is a guest lecturer at Santa Monica College’s School of Marketing and USC Annenberg School of Communications and Pepperdine University.

How does Susie compare her new home to her old?

“LA is more success and career oriented. Australia is more social and relaxed,†she says. “That being said, I thrive on the opportunities available here. It’s like nowhere else. Once you make it here, you really have arrived.â€

To contact Susie visit www.sdgpr.com and for further information on Australians in Film, head to www.australiansinfilm.org

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