We’ve all had the acting buzz. We’ve all thought we could be the next DeNiro or Streep. Some just want to be the next Monroe… however acting isn’t that easy. Yet the skills actors possess can go a long way to helping people in life and business. Lisa Peers knows this. She speaks with Jonathan Jackson about role-playing to better your business.
Lisa Peers is no ordinary woman. You may recognise her for performances in iconic Australian films including Sunday Too Far Away with Jack Thompson, Monkey Grip with Noni Hazlehurst, Buddies with Colin Friels, and the New Zealand classic Solo, as well as Finding Nemo. She has had television roles in COPS LAC, All Saints, A Country Practice, Hom e and Away, Bellbird, Pacific Drive, The Power The Passion and many others. So you’ve probably seen her face. Lisa is still acting up a storm, but these days she combines those talents with corporate training and development.
Lisa has always been passionate about acting, but 15 years ago something beyond the stage was calling. It was some sort of phantom. Not a frightening, operatic one, but certainly one that could sweep her off her feet and into an alternate universe.
The phantom rapped hard when her children were growing up.
“I didn’t want to be going on tour and doing massive projects while they were growing up,” Lisa says.
A chance meeting with a corporate acquaintance who required a team of actors sowed the seeds for a unique business idea.
“I had access to a team of actors and opportunity struck. Two weeks later I was contacted to gather six actors. It was a business opportunity, a chance to source great people. The client was happy with what we did and the business just grew from there.”
From that job, there was another and another and so on.
Logic would suggest that arts and business don’t mix well. Yet the phantom inside Lisa was beginning to realise that the opposite applied. The challenge was to apply a corporate perspective to her acting skillset at a larger level.
And thus Peers and Players was born, an agency that combines performance and business skills, by providing actors with corporate development and assessment conferences. Services include individual coaching from professional actors on a range of competencies including role-playing to assist in communication skills when dealing with different levels of hierarchy in business; vocal and presentation skills from the actor’s ‘tool box’, recreating workplace issues for effective learning.
For Lisa, balancing her acting career and running her own business requires a lot of focus but her dedication and persistence helps her pull through.
“It’s tough to focus and I’ve been trying to find ways to better use my profile as an actor to attach to the business and then use the business to better enhance my profile as an actor – which is something that most people don’t do,” she says.
The business can be challenging in more ways than one. Lisa has grown the operation from local to international outfit. The team has grown from a small group performing role-play around Australia, to a big team of professionals working in Australia, the USA, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, India and Brazil. She hires local actors overseas.
With global clients, Lisa travels regularly, however she trusts her representatives overseas to deliver a great experience. It was on one of her trips to America that she realised although she had a great product; she also needed to market it to grow. That trip was 12 years ago, when websites were relatively new.
“I built the website and received enquiries from all the way around the world. Even after returning to Australia I kept the .com and the business just kept evolving.
“It’s amazing now that I can immediately organise actors in Brazil, Mexico, Singapore or America or wherever from my office in Australia through a company that often may emanate from Germany or England, so it’s literally a global business.”
Each actor is carefully vetted, so that they fit the mould expected by Peers and Players and because the quality of acting and teaching is so good, the brand has an exceptional reputation.
Lisa’s clients have included organisational psychologists and banking institutes to learning and development departments of large corporations such as KPMG, National Australia Bank, RTA, Unilever, Greenpeace, Honda, Victoria Department of Human Services and others…
Excerpted from an article originally published in the April/May 2014 issue of Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine. If you are a subscriber to Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine, you will receive this article in your April/May 2014 issue of TGR. If you are not a subscriber, click here to subscribe.