When the experience is on the other foot

Now I too have got to experience that phenomenon of a national award. NAOMI SIMSON

Naomi Simson Blog

By Naomi Simson

Sitting among 700 glamorous people all present to celebrate the achievements of women from around Australia, I was completely overwhelmed by the experience.

Now I am in the experience game… our job at RedBalloon is to make sure we give people a good time. One of the best parts about what I do is listening to the stories of what people did on their experiences… “the 80 year old woman who had tears in her eyes as she saw a butterfly released for every year of her life – surrounded by her immediate family at North Head.” “The man off to fly an aeroplane – who had butterflies in his stomach like a boy going to a birthday party.”

The Telstra Business Women’s Awards was all this to me. I am so busy organising other people’s birthdays and Christmas celebrations – I rarely have time to feel excited about them – really look forward to them. But these awards touched every one of my senses.

I was nervous and excited – I was flattered and fearful. I wanted it so much. The team have worked tirelessly. This award was for all the people who saw the vision. Past and present RedBallooners – the wonderful team who turn vision into reality. The team who are prepared to give it a go.

To win this award is to acknowledge all those who are prepared to take a risk – do something different. And give it a go. It shows you can start with nothing (from the front room of your house – with second hand computers) and make something that is globally recognised as best of class.

Imagine being the first supplier to RedBalloon – trusting us in what we where up to… what about being the first customer. We have now delivered close to 450,000 activities in just seven years… each one of these was bought by people who share the vision of changing gifting in Australia forever… they see that a gift can be something to share with family and friends.

The program is so rigorous – a very extensive entry form, state-based judging, then more exploration independently into the financial status of the business…. Then national judging. It is the rigour and the process that makes this award so prestigious. It is not for the faint hearted… you have to really really want to do it.

But the acknowledgement is absolutely worth it.

To celebrate women is so essential. Only recently I was goaded by a fellow entrepreneur that women didn’t run real businesses – just soft ones. I intend to prove that fellow very wrong. RedBalloon is built in technology and innovation. There is nothing “wishy washy” about it.

I committed to all those at the event – that they can count on me to continue to run an amazing business – that others will look to as an example of “it can be done”. Innovation pays off and people can have a great time at work and be truly effective and productive.

Thanks again to Nokia for supporting innovation… we need it more than ever in tough times…. Also to Telstra which has taken such a long term approach to improving the voice for all business women in Australia.

I loved the experience – and sharing it with my family (my children came to the event).. it will be one of my 27,610 days that I will always cherish.


Naomi is a finalist in the 2008 Australian HR Awards and the 2008 Telstra Women’s Business Awards, winners to be announced end 2008. Naomi was also a finalist for the BRW Most Admired Business Owner Award in 2008 and Marketing Employer of Choice by B&T in 2007. One of Australia’s outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a professional speaker inspiring middle to high-level leaders on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blogand has written a book sharing the lessons from her first five years.

To read more Naomi Simson blogs, click here .



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