THE BLOG
11/08/2014 06:38 am ET Updated Jan 08, 2015

Women in Business: Julie Jakobek, Managing Director and Executive Producer, JA Digital

Julie has over 23 years experience in TV, DVD and online productions. Before co-founding JA Digital, she was Head of Multi-Camera at Done & Dusted for a very successful 8 years. During this time she Produced and Executive Produced most of their multi camera events including Madonna in London, Coldplay in Sydney & Toronto, Amy Winehouse in London, Mika in Paris, Gorillaz in New York, Robbie Williams in Manchester & London, Simply Red in Havana plus many others.

A major player, Julie has been involved in numerous award-wining projects and has been Grammy nominated twice. A world renowned expert in large scale events, she has filmed all over the globe including the USA, UK, Europe, Syria, Australia, Cuba and Japan among others.

Julie also has substantial experience producing access documentaries including Eddie Irvine Living The Life (C4), Prince Naseem Little Prince, Big Fight (C4), Damon Hill Fight For Victory (DVD) plus the multi-award winning current affairs special Convoy To Moldova for the BBC.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

I'm not sure where my drive and ambition comes from but it's something that grows and grows and is showing no signs of fading. I am fiercely proud and passionate about the films and content I create with the wonderful teams I work with. Strangely enough, I trained to be a nurse when I first left school and dealt with every kind of emergency, which has enabled me to remain calm and focused in challenging situations. It has also given me an ability to read people well and see situations from other peoples point of view, not just my own. I have used these qualities in my business relationships.

How has your previous employment experience aided your position at JA Digital?
Before co-founding JA digital, I had produced and Exec produced multiple projects across multiple genres including lots of live music films, access documentaries, entertainment shows and even an award-winning current affairs documentary. I had worked with artists including Coldplay, Madonna, Gorillaz, Amy Winehouse, Placebo, Robbie Williams, Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kylie and sport stars including Eddie Irvine, Damon Hill, Prince Nazeem, Lennox Lewis and have filmed extensively around the world from the UK and US to Australia, Cuba, Europe, Japan, Lebanon, Turkey and even Syria. I have managed a wide range of budget and projects and teams and learnt from every project and experience. I have been extremely fortunate to work with the best possible creative's and have learnt from them all. I'm also a firm believer that even the toughest of situations or projects, or people (!) is an opportunity to learn and develop.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at JA Digital?
The wonderful people I have and continue to work with and the wonderful films we have created.

What advice can you offer women who are seeking to start their own business?
Hold you nose and jump in! You'll never truly know if you can do it until you try. I got the point where it was something I just had to do. I felt my biggest future regret would be not to try. Build a good support system around you of professional advisers, mentors and friends in similar positions. I've gained so much by talking issues through with other like-minded company owners. At the end of the day you have to make your own decisions, but it's great to do that having talked things through objectively.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
With a great deal of dedicated juggling. It's not always easy but of course my family and friends are my other great passion so a good work/life balance is essential for my personal happiness. Some weeks are better than others, but overall I'm happy with the balance in my life. One thing is you have to set your own limits; no one else will do it for you.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I recently completed a Goldman Sachs business course and had a financial mentor who I would say has made the most difference in my understanding of business from a financial point of view. He really put me through my paces, which wasn't the most enjoyable of experiences but has left me with a deeper understanding of running a business from a financial point of view.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I admire all leaders who run successful businesses whilst managing to keep family healthy and happy and find time for themselves. I also admire leaders who are able to nurture other people's careers and help them achieve their ambitions and dreams. This is something I strive for also.

What do you want JA Digital to accomplish in the next year?
To continue to grow and produce a wider range of films and content. To enable the wonderful teams of creative's, production teams and technicians we work with to achieve their personal goals whilst working on ground breaking and challenging projects.