• Sian Simpson

Catching up with Sian Simpson - Entrepreneur

AIMES Innovation Award 2016 (& 2015)

This year has been a big one for sure and, self-proclaimed, the best yet. A friend of mine in 2016 said that 2017 was going to be 'the year I unleashed my best self on the world' reflecting back on the year at large - I'd say he was right.

Kicking off the year with my video production and creative work being displayed on 30 ft LED screens in front of 10,000 people in San Francisco at the SaaStr Annual (Software as a service) conference. Not only did I play a large part in the on stage production design, I also got to interview 100 leaders in software, technology and venture capital. Notable mentions that the North Shore community would perhaps know, would be the co-founder of Facebook - Dustin Moskitvitz and Trello's founder Michael Prior. This was the third year I've worked for the conference, produced their videos and interviewed their amazing speakers.
The Kiwi Landing Pad has continued to go from strength to strength, with the community crossing over 4,000 members in 36 countries around the world. We also celebrated six years of helping New Zealand technology companies expand into the US market, and two years of our cornerstone program the Sales & Marketing Jams, which brings US experts to New Zealand every six months to share learnings and experience with our startup community on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Product Management. We also have a thriving content program seeing me on a webinar every single week hosting Kiwi Founders such as Xero's Rod Drury, and Wildfires Victoria Ransom, through to experts sharing domain specific knowledge - we've had 40 webinars this year, with 2500 people tuning in from 105 locations around the world and answering 350 questions that our community wanted to know.
While I was too old for an AIMES Award this year, I was incredibly surprised and humbled to be announced as this year's 2017 New Zealand Global Women of Influence, after being a finalist in 2015 and 2016. The Kiwi Landing Pad also picked up the American Chamber of Commerce bilateral services award for our contribution strengthening trade ties between New Zealand and the United States. And just recently, as of December I was named as the Young Enterprise Trust Emerging Alumni for 2017 (for a program I did at Pinehurst when I was 10!). This was pretty exciting.
On the speaking front, I spoke to my largest audience yet, sharing my personal journey at Festival for the Future speaking to 1300 youth, followed on by many speaking engagements, ending chatting with 200 teachers at the young enterprise trust's it's business time conference about mental health, community and the future of work.
Personally it's been a tremendous year in terms of health, I finally got my sleeping up to 7 hours a night, up from 3 hours a night. Most exciting would be my extraordinary travel for the year. I would imagine there aren't many people in the world that could say they hiked the Great Wall of China and were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights in the same week - that was pretty priceless. I've also visited 15 countries this year for the most part taking my work with me some of my favourites were Shanghai, Paris, London, Singapore, Provence, New York and Vienna, even squeezed in a few islands!
In October, post experiencing on mass phenomena, I held and hosted the first USA screening of the film 'My Year With Helen' with a personal appearance and live Q&A with both the Right Honorable Helen Clark and award winning film maker Gaylene Preston. The screening was a huge success. I also curated and held a small intimate 'Dinner with Helen' and invited some of New Zealands foremost female technology entrepreneurs and minds to enjoy an evening of conversation and connection. The youngest was 22 the oldest 71. I'm on a mission to make technology the number one export, given the opportunity to have this conversation with extraordinary women, and outside of New Zealand I jumped at the chance - the discussion was thoughtful and lively - a true highlight.
That pretty much sums up my year, it's been a big one. I can't wait for 2018 where I'll continue to strive at the Kiwi Landing Pad and personally, I have planned the entire year already, with an overly ambitious strategy. I can't wait to see where we end up. I want to be a CEO, I want to buy/build a house (or two) and continue helping New Zealand to be the best little country it can be where people thrive in business, life and environment.


Fourteenth Annual Issue 2017/18