Rachel Reva (Baugh) De Giorgio has lived in three countries and worked for some of the largest companies in the world, but it’s the foundation and Southern charm she acquired while growing up in Milledgeville that she credits for much of her success.
Knowing how to bake a good batch of brownies hasn’t hurt either.
Born and raised in Milledgeville, De Giorgio, who writes under the pen name Rachel Reva, was one of three daughters to parents who were employed locally as shift workers. She attended Freedom Church and was a student at Georgia Military College — two places where she remembers learning important characteristics, among them faith and discipline, that would be important throughout her life.
“We had a humble but very loving home,” she said.
When De Giorgio was just 12 years old, her father died very suddenly — a tragedy that would change the course of her life.
“God has his way of bringing new chapters into your life,” she said. “As He would have it, eventually my mother would meet and marry a man in a place called Australia.”
At 14 years old, De Giorgio moved with her mother and two sisters from Milledgeville to New Castle, Australia. She remembers the change that it was, but she counts that transition as something that made her very resilient and gave her a grit that she wouldn’t have otherwise.
“Tragedy happens, life happens, and some horrible things happen, but God is in the business of restoration,” she said recently during a Zoom interview from her home in Australia.
After finishing college with a communications degree, she worked in newsrooms as a news publicist in Sydney and later moved to London, where she landed her dream job working for the BBC. When she reached her 30s, though, she found herself wondering if she was doing what she was really meant to do.
“I felt God really pushing me out and going, ‘No, it’s time to do something else,’” she said. “So, I started my own business when I was 30 years old and haven’t really looked back since.”
That business is called Life On Her Terms Media, and it’s where De Giorgio serves as a publicity strategist and coaching consultant for Christian women in business. She is a big believer in women getting comfortable being their own publicists and asking for what they want. It’s something she had to learn to do in her own career.
“After a while, I figured out there was a way you can use authentic kindness and hustle to actually get where you want to be,” she said. “You don’t just have to sit there and wait for things to come to you.”
All of these unique experiences led to the recent release of De Giorgio’s first book, “Grit, Grace and Hustle: A Faith Gal’s Guide to Authentic Success.”
“It is everything I needed to know when I was desperate to get my foot in the door. … This is my formula of everything I have learned in my 15 years of PR career of how to get your foot in the door, how to climb the ladder but being authentic,” she said.
De Giorgio said she worked on the book for seven years, living it as she wrote it. She was first inspired to pen and publish it after an experience she had working as a news publicist. She remembers arranging a photoshoot for a well-known personality she had never met. She later received an email from him saying thank you and that he looked forward to working with her again.
“I was blown away by this one email,” she said.
She wondered why she had such a strong reaction to a simple email.
“I realized it had been so long since someone had actually said thank you to me, and then it got me thinking about the importance of kindness,” she said.
People would often tell her how kind she was — something she simply credits to the way she was raised.
“That’s what it’s like in the South,” she said. “Little did I know, though, that all of these Southern ways that we are just raised with … It was giving me an edge that I didn’t even realize.”
Co-workers and corporate partners would often be surprised when she would bring brownies to meetings.
“It’s simple things like that that I just grew up with in the South.”
But kindness, honesty and authenticity always helped her to stand out, she noted.
And much of that, she credits to her Milledgeville roots. More than anything, it’s a place that taught her the importance of putting people first and the value of faith.
“It taught me everything about servanthood,” she said. “I think one of the reasons I was so good at publicity is because when I would pick up that phone I would say, ‘How can I help you?’ I didn’t even realize the difference of how growing up in a church-minded, faith-minded, community-minded environment really shaped who I was.”
That strong faith is the cornerstone to all that she still does today.
“I wouldn’t have the career that I’ve had it if wasn’t for God,” she said. “I wouldn’t have the business that I’ve had if it wasn’t for God because He was the one that was in charge.”
And the journey that she’s been on inspires her to share a strong message with young women as well.
“I want to say to the young woman who feels like she is meant for more but doesn’t feel like she fits in and is allowed to ask for more, I want to say to that young woman — that your dream is not just possible; it’s available to you. … And it’s OK if you don’t fit in. … Embrace what makes you different and don’t give up on that dream. You hustle, you knock on those doors, and good things will happen.”
“Grit, Grace and Hustle: A Faith Gal’s Guide to Authentic Success” is available online at Target, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
To learn more about De Giorgio’s business, visit www.lifeonherterms.com.