On this episode of The Geek In Review, Marlene Gebauer interviews Ayelette Robinson about her transition from KM Attorney to award-winning actress and voice-over specialist. Ayelette discusses how acting isn’t about “pretending” but rather it’s about showing our real selves and injecting our own unique perspectives.

Marlene discusses the five training modules on security awareness. Technology and security all go hand-in-hand. But it wasn’t all work. Somehow Marlene discusses not one, but two articles regarding technology, ethics, and individuality. Both straight out of fashion magazines.



Greg recaps his conversation with LexisNexis in Chicago last week, and about the harmful affects that tying unrelated products together has on the legal industry, and how Lexis’ lack of disclosure should make for an interesting law library conference in Baltimore.

Speaking of Baltimore. Take the time to talk with them about current events, things you did at the conference, or just to say hello. They’ll have lavalier mics and are looking for topics for future podcasts. Look for them!

Episode Links:

Ayelette Robinson
The Couch Web Series
The VO Dojo’s “You Should Do Voiceover” Intensive


Marlene Gebauer 0:15
Welcome to The Geek in Review the podcast designed to cover the legal information profession with a slant toward technology and management. I’m Marlene Gebauer,

Greg Lambert 0:23
And I’m Greg Lambert. Well, Greg, I

Marlene Gebauer 0:25
got back into the office swing after having a few days off for the Independence Day holiday. By the way, we have some fun reading links for the fourth including America the quiz if you want to check them out. As soon as I got back, I immediately had to complete five Yes, five training modules for various security awareness or be turned into a pumpkin.

Greg Lambert 0:43
So I take it they were due by midnight, of course,

Marlene Gebauer 0:47
and the modules were HIPAA security outside the Office Security inside the office and GDPR it really hit home to me how much more focus we have to be on privacy and security. Speaking of privacy and security. I read an article in Elle Yes, the fashion magazine about Brittany Kaiser and she’s the former director of business development for Cambridge Analytica, the company that allegedly exploited Facebook for political game Brittany is speaking out regarding her role in the Cambridge analytical scandal. The article is really fascinating. Her background is not at all what you would expect. Working for developing nations Amnesty International trade missions. The article mentions her first project for Cambridge was working on an initiative to help Ebola stricken countries yet later, the author shares that Brittany had to justify doing work for clients she didn’t believe in. I guess I have a reading assignment now. Now, Greg, this is a person who could share some insights on privacy and security. So Brittany, if you’re listening, we would love to have you on the show. The article is engaging and paints a cautionary tale of rationalization and really how easy it is to get caught in a controversy. That’s interesting.

Greg Lambert 1:57
You know, one of the things with law firms now is so much of the work in the IT department is strictly on security. There’s just so much they’re responsible for with making sure networks don’t go down there. We’re not hacked and we’re not losing data. It’s just really interesting to watch what it does now

Marlene Gebauer 2:15
it’s really become a main focus for it and most law firms. Well, last week,

Greg Lambert 2:19
I got to travel a little bit. I went up to Chicago early in the week to talk with the LexisNexis representatives about their Tying of unrelated products to their Lexis Advance online research tool. So it was a cordial meeting, but one in which Lexis was not really wanting to talk or negotiate, stopping their policy. Of course, they really didn’t even want to confirm that this was a policy because they require nondisclosure agreements are NDAs to be signed by their customers. And it was the first go to was, well, we shouldn’t even be talking about this. While we were there, I hammered them on the current method of what they were doing with getting customers to subscribe to Lexis Advance and how harmful this was to the customers. Traditional sales policy used more of a carrot approach offering discounts to entice customers to expand the subscriptions. And this is a pure stick approach where it’s designed to punish the customers who do not want to bloat their subscriptions with unnecessary products to get to the products they actually need.

Marlene Gebauer 3:14
If firms are being forced to buy things that they don’t need, you know, that impacts our clients

Greg Lambert 3:20
have also asked here associations for WWL like the Legal Marketing Association, which has LMA and the international legal Technology Association or Elta. To join with us and and call on Lexis to stop these sorts of time policies. One of the issues with them not really giving us a solid answer while we were in Chicago is that now that we’re going into the double A double O Conference in Baltimore, you’re gonna have to talk with your customers there. I got to feel in Marlene, it’s gonna be hot Baltimore at the double A double O meeting in the week and I ain’t talked about the weather.

Marlene Gebauer 3:56
Greg, while you were traveling, I got to interview a yell at Robinson, a yell. It’s an actress and a former cam professional. You know, she’s been our friend for years, she offers some great insights on how to present yourself how to present your ideas that we can all apply in work or yell it offers some great insights on how to present yourself how to present your ideas and how to really be in the moment and I think those are lessons we can all apply in our presentation of ourselves and ideas. So let’s jump in, shall we?

Greg Lambert 4:25
Let’s do it.

Marlene Gebauer 4:32
Today’s guest is a yellow Robinson, a yellow began her career as a corporate attorney spent several years in legal knowledge management industry and about six years transitioning into the entertainment world where she is an actor, producer and voiceover artist. She’s also the founder of a career management tool for actors called actors guru where she gets to merge her acting experience with her km background a year old is currently in development on a feature film and has produced a seven episode web series that just got admitted into its first film festival and is scheduled Release around late summer. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can follow it a couch web series on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have any questions for yell at after this podcast, feel free to reach out to her at a yell it that’s a y e l e t t e at ayelette.com. Ayelette. Welcome to The Geek in Review.

Ayelette Robinson 5:19
Hi, thank you,

Marlene Gebauer 5:21
you have quite a remarkable background. And I’d like you to tell our listeners about it.

Ayelette Robinson 5:25
So first of all, I just want to say thank you so much, Marlene, and Greg, who is in here today, really thank you both for just creating this amazing forum for learning more about different perspectives and how they might relate to legal cam, and then also for inviting me to be a part of your project. So you’re happy to have you tell you a little bit about kind of where I came from professionally and where I’m at now. So as you mentioned, I started off to the corporate legal world of transactional attorney, and then with the kind of guidance and pull from it has been Omraam ended up getting into the knowledge management world as I think you know, and hopefully some of your listeners know I absolutely love that world. I think it’s so it’s fun, it’s actionable, it’s productive. It’s just amazing. Um, anyway, always love that world. But then, about six years ago, my dancing coach and I grew up as a dancer. And as an adult had been a competitive ballroom dancer, my dancing coach happened to mention that I take an acting class to complement my dancing from the moment that I took that class, it was just a shift internally, where I just knew that that’s really what I was meant to do. From that point on, I shifted things around and came into the entertainment world pretty wholeheartedly. So that’s where I’ve been since. And where I am now is I’m primarily an actor and voiceover artist, and also a producer. So I have a couple of projects that I’ve been working on now the web series in the film, and as well as the the actors guru company, which is really fun for me, because I There are parts of me that Miss cam, and I get to merge the cam with what I’m doing now, which I love

Marlene Gebauer 7:02
is still keep your toe in the water. Right?

Ayelette Robinson 7:04
Exactly, exactly.

Marlene Gebauer 7:06
How do you think your role in in the legal space and in knowledge management have prepared or impacted your current role as an actor? Do you view it as a key part of your path? Or was it more of a

Ayelette Robinson 7:17
side job? Honestly, I think it’s some of both. One thing about the acting world that was completely new to me is how much of a business it really is, as an actor, you are a product that essentially is being taught and sold. agents want to represent you if they can sell you directors and producers want to cast you if their viewers will enjoy what you bring to the table. And this is actually really similar to legal and really any other profession, right? It’s really about it’s not enough just to be good at what you do. It’s not enough to just sit in your office and code really well or you know, be able to research and write really well. You have to actually get out into the world. You have to build relationships, you have to market yourself and your skills. And I know this is a big topic into the sort of non world and legal of how do you market yourself as the non attorney and honestly all of that really just carries over. Another really big thing for me is that it’s actually helped me shape my brand. As an actor, everybody really has a different we’ll just call it essence for now. But you know, when you meet someone, you kind of get a sense of them when you’re an actor, because you’re a product that you’re selling just like you know, legal services between one firm and another firm. How do you make yourself stand out? How do you make your law firm services stand out? So how do I make me as an actor stand out, part of that is creating a brand because of my background. And where I came from my brand is educated, it’s confident it’s a stable and reliable professional one that’s pretty specific. And it’s not something that everybody has. So that’s been cool that I’ve been able to sort of pull that over into into this world

Marlene Gebauer 8:53
that’s really interesting that the roles that you’re sort of looking at and performing have a little bit to do with your persona as a professional in the legal space. That’s wonderful. Have you ever gotten any roles as a legal professional?

Ayelette Robinson 9:06
It’s funny, I actually have not it but I have gotten called in multiple times for doctors for whatever reason. I come across his doctor but Doctor lawyer, but you know, it’s kind of the same ballpark. How do you think having a very job and life experience has benefited your professional life both as an actor and as a knowledge management professional, no matter what profession you’re in, the more you can relate to the people that you deal with every day. So whether that’s the people on your team, the people at other firms or vendors, the people who are on set and on a film crew, and the more you can adjust to work with different personalities and approaches, the better. So not only will your interactions run more smoothly, you’ll you’ll be more open to learning and growing from just experiencing different perspectives. That way, I think acting and legal aren’t so different in both worlds. You’re constantly problem solving. You constantly have projects that you’re accomplishing you happy Little that you need to negotiate with you kind of a lot of the tasks are actually not that different. The more experience you have and all of those areas, the more creative and resourceful you’ll be and ultimately, the more successful I think just the more varied your life and interactions and experiences have been, it just informs you no matter what industry you’re in, I agree.

Greg Lambert 10:24
We’ll be back in a moment with part two of our interview with yellow Robinson.

Marlene Gebauer 10:29
If you do happen to be in Baltimore on July 15, I hope you can stop by the tech savvy Law Librarian event hosted by above the law and evolve the law. David, lat attorney, Founder and Managing Editor of both law and Dean sonderegger, Vice President and General Manager for legal markets and Innovation at Wolters Kluwer legal and regulatory us we’ll discuss how can law librarians drive the future of law practice. Then David and I will entertain some lively and entertaining two minute elevator pitches from legal tech innovators followed by four minutes of q&a. Innovators pitching will include CaseText, courtroom insight, and simply agree tickets are available on the Eventbrite app.

Greg Lambert 11:07
Now back to the second part of our interview with a yell at Robinson.

Marlene Gebauer 11:11
Now I’m going to share with the listeners that you and I have a connection. I remember the pivotal moment when I was visiting you in San Francisco, and we were talking about a new class that you were taking in voiceover and you were very excited about it. And then I got excited. So you know, imagine the two of us like standing there holding hands jumping up and down being really excited. And then you convince me to take an intensive class and this in voiceover. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about the program?

Ayelette Robinson 11:36
Totally. And I just want to say for a moment that I’m so excited that you brought that up, because that memory is so clear in my mind. Exactly. I remember being so excited that you were excited. Yeah, anyway, I think we were just feeding off each other. But that was it was really fantastic. It’s really clear for me, so I would love to share about the programs. This program that I did is called the voice over or the VO dojo. It’s led by the really accomplished and wonderful Tish Hicks, she’s worked in all the different genres of voiceover. And there’s a lot more than you think. So there’s about seven or eight different genres of voiceover. And she’s worked in all of them. One of the specific things that I like about her and the way she teaches is she just like actually, we’ve been talking about so far, there’s two sides to career, there’s sort of the technical being good at what you do. But then there’s also the how do you sort of run the business side of the career and she is really strong at both? Well, what her intensive includes with is she calls it the you should do voiceover intensive, you can either do that as a two day in person intensive in LA, or she has a six week virtual version. During that intensive, she gives you a wonderful core foundation of the technique of voiceover. She also covers what the business is like in that world. And she also gives you a taste of what all the different genres are and hear what the day to day life is in all those genres. If you do decide to continue, she offers sort of two paths. One is a dial in once a week for it, she calls it a workout. And each person on the call, it’s a virtual like, essentially read some copy. And then she gives each person a little coaching, basically, and then you get your own. And you also get to listen to everybody else, which is just as informative. And then the other path you can go down is what she calls her mystery to mastery program. Or she also calls it from I don’t know, to working pro, this is about a 15 month program. It’s for three month terms. And each term has a really clear curriculum, and you keep building higher and higher and higher. And what it includes it every in every level. It includes individual coaching, it includes a personal private coaching session once a month. It includes business guidance that’s specific to where you are in the career. And it also includes which is really important, the whole mindset that you need to have being in this world and being in this career because it can be feel very different for a lot of people, a lot of people have either complementary or previous corporate backgrounds. And it’s a bit of a shift to come into this world. She covers all of that you also have homework recordings to give us feedback on it’s really just a complete 360 training. When you

Marlene Gebauer 14:19
talk about it’s very different. If you’re used to a corporate environment, I can tell you, it’s like I really did have to get outside my comfort zone when when I took the class. You know, I love the way it’s set up as a dojo because the focus is that this is a practice. This is a continual practice. And you know, you’re always getting better at it. This is not something you kind of reach a goal and that’s it. I love that about it.

Ayelette Robinson 14:39
It’s funny because as much as on the surface from the outside the entertainment world might feel so different from the legal world and a lot of core principle ways to actually really similar I mean, lawyers have continuing CLE credit you’re always learning, right? You’re always building your knowledge, you’re always making sure that you’re keeping your real kinships going, you’re always making sure that you’re learning whatever the new products are that are out there, and what other people are doing that’s going to help you or the mistakes that sharing your mistakes and learning from other people’s mistakes. I mean, all of that stuff is just so parallel.

Marlene Gebauer 15:14
There’s a lot of programs on public speaking out there that people can take, how do you say voiceover work is different? And why is this sort of training important to people and unrelated legal profession to consider?

Ayelette Robinson 15:26
That’s a really good question. And one thing that I’ll actually say up front is that I’ve actually never done public speaking training. So I can’t speak specifically to what that does, or does that is shocking, I will say, I’m 100% sure that I would have been a better lawyer, and a better knowledge manager, had I done some acting and or voiceover training earlier in my career, I can just say that without any hesitation, many people have this notion that acting and I’ll kind of put Voice Over Under overlapping acting for the purpose of this, that acting is pretending but actually, it’s the opposite. What acting and voiceover are about is learning how to be in each moment focused on the person you’re interacting with, when you get to a place where you can live in your imagination in that way. So that you believe that that circumstance with that person is really what’s happening, you are authentic, you’re a good listener, you’re flexible, and you’re not distracted by outside concerns and stresses, and you are really compassionate part of the way that comes out is because when you are more acting than voiceover, is, you need to make the space feel really safe for the other person to live in their imagination. So what that means is you need to be compassionate to them and their needs. And maybe the fact that they’re self conscious, and that sort of thing. It’s so VoiceOver is so much more than just how do you speak loudly? Or how do you project to the back of an audience, it’s about how do you connect with the person you’re talking to in a way that moves them and inspires them. It’s about being authentic, even though people tend to think of public speaking or voiceover acting as pretending if you actually think about your own experience, people are so much more drawn to people who are themselves than to the proverbial used car salesman, it’s like, if you feel like you’re just talking to a human, that’s going to draw you in much more than someone you feel is pretending to do something. So your goal, then on the speaking side, is really to just be that human, that real person, you need to listen well. So the person you’re talking to feels heard, be flexible, really just pay attention to the other person and not checking your phone. So how do you get yourself to be in that moment focused on the people that you’re talking to make them feel heard, you know, move them or inspire them in some way. And that’s what acting and voiceover can help you do a great benefit of acting or voiceover training is that by focusing on the other person, what that does is actually take the focus off yourself, it makes you much less self conscious, and you don’t feel exposed or vulnerable when you’re in front of other people, you know, for people who do have stage fright, or who do feel that vulnerability or when they’re speaking to somebody else, whether that’s a public forum, or it could even just be one on one with a superior or something like that. And you feel really vulnerable. The more you put your attention on the other person and what you are trying to convey or sort of inspire in the other person, the more your attention is off yourself. So all of these aspects with someone from the outside might not intuitively think, oh, that’s acting or that’s voiceover actually are acting or voiceover. And those are, I think, all the things that easily carry over into sort of a public speaking realm.

Marlene Gebauer 18:35
I mean, I know when when I’ve taken public speaking, sessions and classes, there’s there’s a lot of focus on a task and the tasks that you perform during public speaking, you know, you stand to one side and you move your hand a certain way at certain points, look across the audience, you try and connect, make eye contact. These are all important things for public speaking, what the voiceover class helped me with, and you hit on on this as well is that you’re trying to connect to the people you’re talking to, you’re speaking to them and how you would speak to them. That coupled with the regular meetings, you know, discussion with a group that many people did have stage fright. And you know, this certainly wasn’t something that was natural to me. And I was with a group of people that I felt had a lot more experience than I did. It’s a little nerve wracking, but I mean, it was a very supportive environment, you were encouraged to take risks, and to do things that were sort of outside your comfort zone, and it was okay, do this over time. And over time, it became more of a second nature and something that I could transfer outside of that group into my professional environment. That’s sort of the benefit. I think that that I’ve gotten out of it.

Ayelette Robinson 19:42
And I want to actually touch on the fact that you talk about the sort of external behavior. If you think about your life throughout your day, do you think about what to do with your hands? Do you think about where should I stand in this room as I’m talking to someone? No, because if you’re just in that moment, doing whatever where you’re doing, you’re just in a meeting listening to someone speaking or you are sitting at your desk writing, or you are, when you are just doing what you’re doing, you’re not thinking about where your hands should be, or where you’re just naturally do what makes the most sense for that thing. And that’s what sort of acting and voiceover can help do is, instead of it being this sort of external list of, oh, I have to think about where my right hand is. And I have to think about where I’m standing or where I’m looking. If you’re just in the space thinking, I want to inspire this person, if you’re just focused on what you’re actually doing, your hands are going to naturally go to where they should go, you will naturally be looking at people in the eye, because you’re going to be thinking about how they’re struggling the way you were struggling six months ago or a year ago, and you’re going to want to inspire them. So of course, you’re just going to naturally look at them in the eye. So a lot of this sort of takes away that need for the outside in approach, because if you are just in it and doing what you sort of are doing anyway, you don’t have to think about all that external stuff.

Marlene Gebauer 20:58
And people probably respond to that better. Exactly. Are there any other sorts of training that US legals could benefit from now, you and I have talked about improv, which is crazy scary for me to even think about. And I know you’ve actually taken workshops. And so you know, what are some other options for us, you

Ayelette Robinson 21:16
know, and I already talked about, you know, obviously, the acting piece, which is an acting and voiceover have different benefits, but certainly a lot of overlap. Improv is maybe the third leg of that chair or something. I do think improv is really a great almost like a gateway class for sort of non actors to sort of get into this space of feeling more comfortable just in their bodies and their voices in the world. Some of the things is it teaches you really just how to think on your feet and, and work with whatever you’ve got. Because in the improv setting, you don’t know what the other person is going to do. But in life, again, in a meeting on a project, something changes suddenly, where you have to have that comfort and ease with adjusting and not have it stress you out right and also be able to work productively off that note, it also teaches you how to collaborate with others, you or many others who’ve listening might have heard the very popular improv principle, yes, and it’s just two words, but it’s really a huge tool that just carries over into all of life, both personal and professional. In the improv setting. Your goal is to build on what the other improviser has done rather than to tear it down. And really, that’s sort of everything, you know, in a professional setting that sort of white, whether, again, you’re working on a project with other teammates, it’s never it’s very rarely just you on your own right, you’re always collaborating with someone in some way. And this skill of being able to Yes, and so the yes is I sort of acknowledge the world that you’re creating, essentially, and whatever that is, and I’m going to build on it. That kind of perspective is just incredibly positive in any setting, both acting and improv also really teach you to just trust your instinct. And that is huge. I think an area that can feel really risky for people, sometimes it really tends to be this this sense that or there, there can often be a feeling that what I like the first instinct that comes up is wrong in some way, or it’s not good enough in some way. And what acting and improv show you is that usually your instinct is actually the strongest.

Marlene Gebauer 23:12
Yeah, I think that that’s critically important. I mean, I like you know, your and comments, because it’s normally people are like, but and, you know, using and adding to your thoughts, I think is much more positive. That’s something to apply. Also, this going with your instincts. Many times in the professional world, there’s some hesitancy to do that. There’s some fear that you know, it won’t be accepted or you I won’t say it the right way or you know, is this audience going to be receptive? I don’t know. It’s great to hear that working. And improv makes that a little more comfortable for people. Yeah, any advice for those wanting to take the plunge into voiceover or these other new experiences?

Ayelette Robinson 23:51
First off, I will just say that, if anyone does have any questions that really should just completely feel free to reach out to me as far as specific suggestions. So first off, I really can’t recommend tissues, of course enough, and hopefully you feel the same way. I do. Yeah, it’s just wonderful. She tissues incredibly supportive, but also incredibly specific and knowledgeable. And it’s really wonderful. And the fact that she does offer this initial intensive allows you to get clarity again, both on what you want, but also and what you don’t want. So you get to get a taste first and decide if it is for you or not. But it’s really just this wonderful. I will say that the the biggest thing that I learned from acting and from having gone through this career transition is how important it is to be yourself. I feel like we tend to have these ideas of what a corporate person should act like we all put on these spaces or put up these walls so that we conform to those ideas and we fit in and we will be seen as x rather than letting people just see us for everything that we are. I know just from my own personal experience, the moment that we show our real selves. Has everyone around us just relaxes a little, you know, it just brings guards down, it helps people listen to us more and understand our perspective more. And then when our guards are down similarly, we tend to be better listeners and better understand errs, it just makes everything just a whole lot less stressful because you don’t feel like you’re constantly trying to fit in. Personally, I think that no matter what the industry, everything becomes better when people can actually inject whatever they are doing with their unique perspective. And the more you try to conform to what everyone else is doing, the less we get those unique perspective, I feel like the biggest thing I want to say is just be yourself and whatever your unique thing is, have that come out because that’s usually what will provide honestly the most value and move people and inspire people and get people on your side the most

Marlene Gebauer 25:49
Ubu. Right. Exactly. Well, well said yet. It’s been a great opportunity to explore voiceover and taking risks and growing as a professional with you. This has been very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us.

Ayelette Robinson 26:04
Thank you again, so so much Marlene for the opportunity, and all along the way for your friendship and support as well.

Greg Lambert 26:12
That was a great interview Marlene. So I have to be honest with you. When you first mentioned interviewing, I yell at about acting and voiceover training. I really was wondering how we’re going to play that into the legal and law firm market. But you know, but I have to say it dovetailed perfectly with some of the things that we’ve stressed on three geeks and The Geek in Review, about focusing in on the client. So when I yell it’s description of taking the focus off of ourselves, and placing that focus on the client that was just perfect.

Marlene Gebauer 26:44
You know, right after I did the interview, I saw this article about a woman who worked as a stenographer in the State Department. And while her focus was on clothing, she professes to live on the opposite side of the neutral color spectrum embraced by many of her colleagues. Her signature piece is a pair of hot pink flats, she expresses the same philosophy as a yellow, you got to be you right? And when you allow yourself to do that you’re more engaged and more connected with others professionally and personally.

Greg Lambert 27:11
So Marlene, one of the things we learned after you did the interview, yell at mentioned that her web series the couch was up for some awards in the narrows Film Award. Well, she recently informed us that the couch one best web series and Best Screenplay at the narrows Film Awards in Italy to audiences interested in checking it out. You can follow it at at couch web series on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And I highly suggest it

Marlene Gebauer 27:37
and congratulations, a yell at well done, Greg and I’ll also be roaming the hallways with lavalier microphones in Baltimore during the AALL annual conference. We’re going to be getting insights about the conference and most anything else you want to discuss. So if you have a topic for the podcast or want to offer comments and suggestions, we’re happy to get you on air. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Greg Lambert 27:58
Absolutely. All right, Marlene, that’s another one in the books. So I will see you in Baltimore. Bye bye. Bye. This has been The Geek in Review. Special thanks to Ayelette Robinson for speaking with us this week. Also a special thanks to Kevin MacLeod for his music