Aussie expat brand futurist, ex creative director Simon Mainwaring set to return from LA to Sydney; latest book ‘Lead with We’ launches today

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Aussie expat brand futurist, ex creative director Simon Mainwaring set to return from LA to Sydney; latest book ‘Lead with We’ launches today

Aussie expat brand futurist, global keynote speaker, best selling author and former agency creative director Simon Mainwaring is set to return to Australia later this month for a six week visit after more than 25 years overseas. His latest book ‘Lead With We’ is launching today.


LEAD WITH WE is a radical re-imagining and re-engineering of business based on the idea of collectivized purpose, showing how we live, work, and grow together in new ways that restore and protect the social and living systems on which all of our futures depend.

For the first time in human history, we have together created a confluence of crises – environmental, economic, and sociopolitical – that threaten our own survival. But during the recent pandemic, we all learned firsthand that when those of us in influential positions, e.g., business leaders and consumers, exert a massive, shared effort, there is little we can’t achieve. We must now extend the urgent and necessary COVID-19 response we undertook, to solve our other, equally imperative challenges, starting with the climate emergency and economic inequality.

Yes, this movement is well underway. But what we’re currently doing – simply shifting business from profit to purpose – isn’t nearly enough, fast enough. We must now embrace a revolutionary new mindset, narrative, and practice of capitalism I call LEAD WITH WE. It turns on the power of collectivized purpose, in which all stakeholders work together to protect the integrity of the whole – social, economic, and natural ecosystems – so that all constituents may thrive. LEAD WITH WE serves at once as a new point of departure for all stakeholders in our future; a process prescription and decision-making engine that redefines the role of consumers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs; and a higher order aspiration that reconnects people with each other and the Earth on which we all depend. LEAD WITH WE reveals in measurable and meaningful ways, how we can work with each other to avoid imminent catastrophe and deliver on the promise of humanity to co-create a regenerative and abundant future.

Using extensive case studies and proprietary data collated from over a decade of work with top brands, global and local, LEAD WITH WE examines this new leadership paradigm, and outlines a prescription based on a “Virtuous” Spiral of Collectivized Purpose in Action. The Spiral takes us through each of five stages, widening collaborative action and impact in each. This starts with re-imagining leadership; and proceeds through re-engineering our company’s culture; building community architecture through effective movements; and leading societal conversations–all aiming for transcendent alliances that create meaningful and measurable changes.

This is the most significant and thrilling shift in economics and business since the Industrial Revolution. A universally applicable prescription with immense compressed complexity that makes the future we want for ourselves, and the generations that follow, not only possible but inevitable.



Simon Mainwaring is the founder and CEO of We First, a strategic consultancy that accelerates growth and impact for purpose-driven brands. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Conscious Capitalism LA, the Advisory Board of Sustainable Brands, The Forbes Business Council, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London.

Simon was a finalist for Global Australian of the Year in 2015 and interim CMO at TOMS, received the MAKE CHANGE, ‘Conscious Leadership’ Award for 2016, a finalist for the Conscious Company Leadership Awards in 2017, and a Real Leaders Top 100 Visionary Leader in 2018. His company We First was included in Real Leaders list for the Top 100 Impact Companies in the US for 2018 and We First was a B Corps ‘Best for The World’ Honoree in 2019. He is a Jury Member of PRWeek’s ‘Purpose Awards’ in 2020 and a Jury Member at the Cannes Lions Festival for the Sustainable Development Goals in 2021.

Simon’s book, We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World, is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon bestseller. It was named an Amazon Top Ten Business Book, 800CEORead Top Five Marketing Book, strategy+business named it the Best Business Marketing Book of the Year, and Simon authors of the ‘Purpose At Work’ blog in Forbes.

Simon is a sought after international speaker with engagements including the Cannes International Advertising Festival, Royal Society of Arts, SXSW, TEDxSF, NAB, Promaxbda, Conscious Capitalism, Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson, Aspen Institute, Sustainable Brands, SOCAP, 3BL, Social Good Summit, National Speakers Association, 1440 Multiversity, National Press Club, Harvard, USC, UCLA and the United Nations Foundation. He has delivered keynotes at Google, Coca-Cola, General Motors, VF, Samsung, VSP Global, Toyota, SAP, Gucci, JP Morgan Chase, Timberland, VW Group, the NHL, and Patagonia. He has presented at the Harvard Business School Association, UCLA, USC, University of Oregon and University of Chicago. He was voted a Top 5 Marketing Speaker by for 5 years in a row and featured on the cover of the National Speaker’s Magazine.

Prior to starting We First Simon spent 15 years as an writer, Creative Director and Worldwide Creative Director at the world’s top creative advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Wieden & Kennedy, and Ogilvy working on brands such a Nike, Toyota, and Motorola, receiving over 60 awards at major advertising festivals including the Cannes Advertising Festival, The One Show, the British Design & Art Direction Awards. He started his advertising career in Sydney, first at Mojo and later DDB.