SIAN SIMPSON

IT, Innovation & Science Award 2015

Growing NZ's Technology Ecosystem (24 years old) | SPONSORED BY MASSEY UNIVERSITY

Sian grew up on the North Shore attending Pinehurst School, describing herself as a ‘doer’ as long as she can remember. Originally planning a career in Latin and Ballroom Dancing she became a national champion before dislocating both knees at age 16, forced to relinquish dancing altogether. Not one to settle, by age 22 Sian had worked in almost every industry imaginable from hair and beauty, telecommunications, construction, roading, infrastructure and hospitality, through to marketing and video promotion.

 

Following this Sian was a digital marketing intern for two New Zealand technology companies (90 Seconds and PureSEO) and learnt a great deal about digital marketing, online web video, search engine optimisation and social media.  In 2012 she started a Bachelor of Business at Massey University majoring in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and is currently completing the degree via distance learning.

 

Sian set out in 2014 travelling the world (for the second time), spending time in various continents before the United States captured her heart. Offered a role at the Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco, Sian now spends her time between San Francisco and New Zealand, building technology communities in both locations and also around the world. She is the sole employee of the Kiwi Landing Pad, an organisation which is half funded by the New Zealand Government and half funded by high-profile New Zealand technology investors and entrepreneurs (Sam Morgan, Stephen Tindall, Craig Elliot, Movac). They provide a soft landing point for New Zealand technology companies coming to land and expand into the US market, they also plug people directly into the Kiwi Landing Pad community from day one.

 

Sian manages all aspects of the business and it’s major growth and success over the past 12 months can be attributed to her drive and passion for building communities. Sian is rapidly becoming the bridge between New Zealand and San Francisco and as the spearheard of the entrepreneurial community, has meet with 700+ entrepreneurs since her time at the Landing Pad, over 150+ companies and has so far held 50+ events, that are all efforts to feed the ecosystem and grow the community.

 

In addition to her role with the Kiwi Landing Pad Sian works with various other startup businesses advising on their digital, branding and community strategies. She runs the small US arm of 90 Seconds, charged with growing presence in the US, she films and executes content strategies for conferences in the US. She engages and interviews thought leaders and industry influencers to create engaging, high-quality content in the form of web video, and also designing the digital strategy to maximise the conversation on and offline. She has also worked with startups across America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and has been directly involved with growing the community and running the online strategy for ProtoHack and the Seoul Global Hackathon.

 

Back in New Zealand she is working with Massey University to launch their Entrepreneurship Club as well as planning the mentoring some business students from Albany Senior High School and has a long term vision for technology to be New Zealand’s biggest export and believes that through her time spent working in San Francisco the biggest technology mecca in the world and visiting and connecting with the World’s technology hubs, she will be able to have an impact.

 

Sian’s an avid traveller (travelled to 32+ countries, and taken 86 flights in the last year and a half), runner, reader, cook and loves exploring how to reduce cognitive load to create efficiencies and achieve optimal performance.