In an exclusive interview with The Bottom Line (Saturday 14 June at 4.00pm on Channel
Nine) Founding Director of RedBalloon, Naomi Simson explains why she is still trying to
prove herself, even after building a multimillion-dollar company.
“I still don’t think the big end of town is taking what we do, what I do, seriously. There’s still a
small girl inside stamping her feet saying: take me seriously.”
Internationally renowned for her workplace reforms and her Recognise Every Day (RED)
initiative, Simson has been awarded for creating one of the ‘best places to work in
Australia’, as voted by BRW Magazine for the last five years.
Simson explains to host Alex Malley, Chief Executive of CPA Australia, how her previous
experience working in the corporate world helped establish her modern philosophy on a happy, healthy and effective working environment.
“If you want people to truly engage, be proud of the work and do their best work – well then
let’s have authentic and transparent leadership and bring people with us on a journey. One
thing I’m very aware of is that every single person in my business participates and without
that participation the whole thing doesn’t work. We’re all equal.”
Simson humbly admits her entrepreneurial flair is a product of the inspirational and
hardworking women in her family.
“My grandmother died before I was born, but she would go off and work at GJ Coles as a
bookkeeper. So when mum had the opportunity to work on the first computer in Australia
she didn’t hesitate. That’s really the message I had the whole way through, do whatever
you want to do, it is available to you, there’s nothing stopping you if you put your energies to
After starting her career working for major corporations like KPMG, IBM, Ansett and Apple,
Simson recognised early on the importance of customer centricity and the power it has to
change both the way a company operates and how successful it will be as a result.
“I remember saying, if I was running the show we’d all be focused on the customer
experience, we’d all be aligned to the one course,” Simson says.
“The other thing is I had to not look at what my passion was but what was the market
opportunity and market size and my marketing background in those big corporates did
teach me that.”
Simson’s decision to step down as RedBalloon’s CEO in 2011 has given her the
opportunity to tackle the role of visionary and continue to steer the company in new and
exciting areas, rather than be restricted by the daily operations of the business.
“I’m very lucky that I’ve had great colleagues around me. I’m much better in employing
professionals who are the best of what they do, bringing them together and aligning them in
a team and I can do that from being a director,” Simson says.
“I think my strengths come in vision. I know where we’re going and I can see clearly what
it’s going to look like in five, 10 and 15 years’ time.”
Naomi Simson shares her insights with Alex Malley on The Bottom Line – Saturday 14
June at 4:00pm on Channel Nine.
– ENDS –
Naomi Simson on The Bottom Line is Episode 18 in a 24 episode series.
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