Main navigation

Naomi Simson travel

It was my birthday this week , and it is always a good time to reflect. I have taken a break  (everyone at RedBalloon get’s there birthday off)… but I have taken 11 days for this birthday, (justifying that this is my eleventh year at RedBalloon) to travel back to the place where my career began. My first job after finishing my undergraduate degree was with IBM in New York. I had my 21st birthday at the restaurant ‘Windows of the World’ at the top of the World Trade Tower.

As I go back to places that I went to 25 years ago, I marvel at how the city has changed – I reflect on what I have achieved in the past quarter of a century. But more importantly what am I yet to do.

I was given “The Gospel According to Coco Chanel – life lessons from the worlds most elegant woman” for my birthday and as I began to devour it I was completely in awe of a woman totally committed to style and beauty. She did not rest, she was tireless in her pursuit of excellence – in her 88 years on the planet she changed they way women dressed forever.

Well beyond her death the brand that she created in business partnership with the Wertheimer family (Chanel is still privately held by the family). As Lagerfeld took over design and whilst many areas of the business were modernised, the simplicity of this woman’s vision continues on.

Gabrielle Chanel known as Coco knew implicitly what she stood for: style, self-invention, survival; with a passion, drive and spirit that meant she never considered anything else. Single minded in her pursuit created the legend and the legacy we now have.

25 years ago as a young graduate I did not know what I stood for: I simply worked hard and believed in what I was doing. It took years for me to learn how I could make a difference. As human beings all we really want to do is to do something worthwhile – something that does make the planet a better place for others.

I visited the Cindy Sherman exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art yesterday – here is another woman that from a young age at university in Boulder NY had already begun to explore what has become her life’s work. Her commitment to truth and discovery has been her passion and as a result her photographs are some of the most expensive ever sold.

These women remind me that true greatness is not created in a few days – it takes years of commitment, and single mindedness to really do something worthwhile. My legacy is not yet determined but I am driven to continue to create a truly great Australian business.

What will your legacy be?


Reader Interactions


  1. Hi Naomi,
    What a thought provoking blog. Thank you so much for sharing that. Have you seen the movie brought out on Coco Chanel, it’s equally as tantalising. One very strong courageous woman I identify with (and I just devoured this book from beginning to end) was the story of Madame Clicquot, née Ponsardin, the Widow Clicquot by Tilar J Mazzeo. This was truly a woman who succeeded in the face of adversity, taking over a winery and deciding that Champagne (the true Champagne) was the way of the future, and in losing her Husband at a very early age, faced this adversity on its own……I highly recommend you read it if you haven’t already.

    Well, as for my legacy, I decided back 10 years ago to leave the corporate pressured business world, and enter the world of the not-for-profit and make a difference at ground level where it would really count. I truly believe in my soul that what I do for a charity will have a ‘pay it forward’ effect on the community. Using my skill set and relationship abilities to enable a cause to help others fits perfectly with the philosophy I have for my life. Be for others.

    I also believe it is helping to make my children better people. I am a mum of 5 sons (in this are 4 stepsons, but as I tell them, I may not have physically given birth to you, but you were certainly borne of my heart) and having them see me attend functions on weekends, facilitate sausage sizzles with community groups helping our cause, and doing things because it is the right thing to do shows them that its not ‘all about you’, and they do have a debt to pay it forward to our community and society. I also make sure that I volunteer, even though I work full time with my own career as does my husband, you can always do more. Always.
    I also believe that nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and it’s always worth the effort and struggle. When someone stands before you with nothing to give except a hug and a thank you – that’s enough. It reminds me of one of my favourite sayings by Meister Eckhart –
    ‘If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.’
    Have a magical day Naomi,

  2. Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for the comment – and a great way to start the week. I must concur the power of a simple Thank you – and experiencing gratitude can really change the way we see the day…. Yes I have seen several Chanel movies -my favorite I think was CoCo – and yes I have the Widow Clicquot’s biography…. and I really must get on to finishing it too. Have a wonderful week

Leave a comment
*All fields are required

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

join the conversation
@ the huddle
Click to discover how I can help you progress to the next level through my Facebook Community The Huddle.
download the book

To learn more, enter your email for a FREE copy of Ready To Soar, Chapter One.

close x
  • enter your first name
  • enter your email