President's Message

May Luncheon

One of the most exciting luncheons in recent times.

We were pleased to welcome Naomi Simson and Dr Glen Richards of Channel Ten’s ‘Shark Tank’, as our keynote speakers for the May luncheon. They both had us captivated with their individual stories. Followed by our very own Newcastle Business Club ‘Shark Tank’.

Glen shared his amazing story of how he went from one vet practice to five and from there it’s been an astonishing rise. Glen’s company now employs over 5500 employees including veterinarians, nurses, retail team members and managers.

Naomi struck a chord with her start-up business strategy known as ‘RedBalloon’ an online experience gift retailer. Naomi asked the room if we could remember our first customer. I knew this resonated with the room because for a brief moment there was some chatter and the energy levels lifted. This was the perfect segue into the real reason for Naomi’s success, with the company’s mantra ‘Give, Share, Live’, the business has now served more than 3.5 million customers.  Her business has clarity of what’s most important – the customer….. Always the customer.

Mae Laine Bath Teabags won the gong, which included an advertising package with Southern Cross Austereo valued at $15,000. Kylie Wiblen, the owner of Mae Laine, pitched her idea and then received constructive feedback from the sharks.  One suggestion by Naomi united the room with an overwhelmingly supportive crowd agreeing to buy product 12 weeks in advance of delivery to support this fledgling business as its demand will inevitably increase as a consequence of the generous marketing package the business is about to implement.

Not to steal the winners thunder, the judges of the competition felt another business was worth a special mention. The second pitch was done by the runner-up Tony Singh of CoverMe Medical. A digital platform, designed by medical specialists for the medical and health industry, set to revolutionise the nature of work in hospitals and medical practices across Australia. CoverMe Medical has the potential to solve a costly $300 million locum agency problem.

To the excitement of the crowd, Dr Glen Richards let out a few unexpected words being ‘I am in’, as he expressed his desire to invest in this company. Good luck with the due diligence Tony and it is wonderful that the club was able to facilitate the connection between Glen Richards and your start-up business.

Our next luncheon is back at the Harbourview on Tuesday, 13 June. We are delighted that Dr Kirsten Molloy, CEO of Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator is our keynote speaker.

Kirsten has a raft of awards and acknowledgements including the 2014 Innovation Ambassador for Regional Development Australia (RDA), Hunter’s Innovation Scorecard. She is also the recipient of the 2016 Hunter Business Chamber Presidents Award, 2017 New South Wales Woman in Mining Award and Chief Executive Women (CEW) 2015, and Executive Development Scholarship to Wharton (USA). Kirsten is also a non-executive director of the Hunter Medical Research Institute, Regional Development Australia Hunter and Hunter H20.

Please buy your tickets early so you do not miss out on this very informative luncheon.

See you at the lunches this year,

Dene Kilpatrick | 2017 President