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CEO of We First, Brand Futurist & Best-Selling Author


Simon Mainwaring is the founder and CEO of We First, a creative consultancy that builds purpose-driven brands. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Business Alliance for the Future and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. He contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, and Huffington Post on purposeful branding and storytelling.

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, and strategy + business named it the Best Business Marketing Book of the Year and Sustainable Brands listed We First as one of their Top Sustainability Books. It has been translated into Russian, Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean.

Current Work:

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, Sustainable Brands, Social Good Summit, National Speakers Association, 1440 Multiversity and National Press Club, as well as brands such as Google, Coca-Cola, General Motors, VF, Samsung, VSP Global, Toyota, SAP, Gucci, VW Group, NHL, and Patagonia. He was voted a Top 5 Marketing Speaker by, featured on the cover of the National Speaker’s Magazine, and was a finalist for Global Australian of the Year. Simon received the MAKE CHANGE, ‘Conscious Leadership’ Award for 2016 and was a finalist for the Conscious Company Leadership Awards in 2017.

Previous Experience:

Advertising: Prior to starting We First Simon spent 15 years as an award-winning writer, Creative Director, and Worldwide Creative Director at many of the world’s top creative advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Wieden & Kennedy, and Ogilvy working on brands such a Nike, Coca-Cola, Toyota, and Motorola, as well as consulting on dozens of F500 brands for leading advertising, production, and digital companies. He was the writer on the U.S. launch of the first three generations of the Toyota Prius, the largest national service campaign for the Entertainment Industry Foundation that brought together all four major TV networks for the first time in U.S. television history, and award-winning campaigns for Nike. He has received over 60 awards at major advertising festivals including the Cannes Advertising Festival (Europe), the One Show (U.S.), the Clio’s (U.S.), the Kelly Awards (U.S), British Design & Art Direction Awards (U.K.), and AWARD (Australia), among others.

Awards & Recognition:: Simon was included in Top 30 Global Brand Guru’s for 2018 and Forbes/LinkedIn’s list of Social Influencers impacting The World’s Most Influential CMOs, Richtopia’s ‘Top 200 Philanthropists and Social Entrepreneurs 2017,’ the 2016 United Nations Foundation's 'Global Influencers to Follow', Statsocial's 2015 Top 100 Social Media Power Influencers, YPO's Real Leaders '100 Visionary Leaders' for 2015, Global CEO's Top CSR Leaders for 2014, #15 on SustMeme's CSR Top 500 Influencers for 2013, #4 on The Guardian's, 'Twitter List: The 30 Most Influential Sustainability Voices in America for 2013' and Trust Across America's, 'Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior for 2012'. In addition, he has been featured in BBC World News, The Guardian, Advertising Age, Inc., AMA, Fast Company, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post.

Education Simon studied Law and Fine Arts (1st Class Honors) at St. Paul’s College, Sydney University.

Talking Points

Leading The Future: How To Stay Ahead In Today’s Disruptive Marketplace

The S&P 500 list is turning over faster than ever, inspiring fear in the hearts and minds of executives trying to build their company’s future. To address this, brands must attract and retain top talent while maximizing their productivity. They must foster cultures of purpose, ingenuity and innovation. They must empower their organization to match the marketplace's mobility and, better yet, outpace it. In short, to triumph over disruption, brands cannot merely participate in the future; they must create it.

Tomorrow’s Cmo: Building A Growth Brand For The Future

Marketing leaders face more pressure than ever to drive company growth in a fractured, real-time, and competitive marketplace. So how do you balance strategy and flexibility to capture attention? How do you, as an incumbent brand, reinvent yourself to establish relevance, engagement, and participation? As a start-up or high-growth company, how do you reimagine your marketplace to reach scale and build a competitive advantage rapidly? To achieve this, marketing leaders must leverage humanity and technology in new ways both inside and outside their company.

Growth Leadership: Connecting The Dots Between Your Personal & Brand Growth

Today’s marketplace is increasingly being shaped by charismatic leaders that demonstrate both personal and corporate leadership. They have mastered the critical connection between work they do on themselves and its effect on their company, culture, and community. They find personal fulfillment in their work and inspire organizations to become more connected, productive, and effective in driving growth. As such, this opportunity represents a critical but overlooked challenge to everyone.

Winning Over Today’s Consumer: Capturing The Attention, Loyalty

Reaching today’s consumers is more complex than ever. Their expectations, behaviors, and technologies are constantly changing. This makes it challenging to capture their attention and earn their loyalty over the long term. However, what if there was a way to make your target audience feel like part of your organization instead of a customer? To motivate them to want to build your business and reputation? To use their own social media channels to share your purpose, products, and impact?

From Crisis To Growth: Restoring Relevance, Growth & Impact

The greatest obstacle to any brand is internal - old mindsets and behaviors that drove success in the past but that no longer serve future growth. In fact, brands must back out of the future in ways they want to own rather than build on the past if they want to position themselves for market leadership. So, what are the key questions companies must ask themselves to overcome self-limiting thinking or behaviors? What new actions must they take to build a constantly evolving and innovative culture?

Movement Making: Turning Your Company Into A Brand Everyone Wants To Build

We live in an era of social movements built around issues ranging from women’s rights, gun control, and social justice. To succeed, brands must be very clear about what they stand for so that stakeholders can align with them, either as employees or customers. So, how do you position your company to become a movement? How do you share your brand story?

From Engagement To Action: Mobilizing Employees To Drive Culture, Innovation & Growth

Every employer wants their people to see work as more than a job. To bring their best selves, skills, and attitude to what they do. To actively contribute to a culture that constantly challenges the status quo and drives innovation from the inside out. So, how do you attract such people to your company? How do you inspire them to play this role? How do you reward them for creating a perpetuating culture that guarantees long-term relevance, growth, and leadership?

Return On Culture: Unlocking The Full Productivity & Power Of Your Employees

The most significant investment a company can make is in its people, yet companies rarely get high returns. In fact, Gallup says only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged at work.

Turning Employees Into Advocates: Transforming Employees Into Your Most Powerful Storytellers

Inside every organization are countless stories that can unlock untold value for your brand. However, most organizations do not empower, equip, or inspire employees to share these stories, the company or their customers.

21st Century Marketing: Combining Humanity & Technology To Accelerate Business Growth

The future of marketing is being driven by new consumer expectations, disruptive technology, and younger demographics. They are constantly emerging, morphing, and migrating in real-time through digital, social, and mobile technologies.

Purpose-Led Innovation: The Next Frontier For Business Growth & Innovation

Purpose has become essential to brands hoping to attract the attention and purchases of highly informed and connected consumers living in a challenging world.

Impact Storytelling: Transforming Meaningful Impact Into Measurable Growth

As more brands share their purpose and seek to play a positive role in the world, it gets harder for companies to get the credit they deserve and to stand out from competitors. At the same time, it is critical to get the credit you deserve for this work and to translate those efforts into bottom-line growth for your brand.
Simon is an incredible public speaker and a master at his craft. He understands the intersection between purpose, people, and profit powered by years of experience working with some of the most purpose-driven brands. His urgency for driving positive change in this world is palpable. Glassdoor

The Harvard Business School Association of Boston and We First engaged in a year-long collaboration to put together a series of panels that took a deep dive into purpose and, importantly, its specific practice around the world. We were looking for content that was dynamic, actionable and differentiated, and We First delivered. The panelists were world class, Simon was an outstanding moderator and the response has been fantastic. I highly recommend We First as an exceptional content and training provider.

Harvard Business School Association of Boston

The Accessories Council was honored to have Simon present at the 5th Anniversary of our Business Workshop. Our Business Workshop is intended to inspire, be thought provoking and encourage our members to position their businesses for success. Simon was absolutely an inspiration! He was engaging and provided our team with exceptional information. I was impressed with the amount of time he and his team spent preparing for the session. It was clear they wanted to understand our audience and tailor his presentation accordingly. Simon also volunteered to come back for another session to answer any questions our attendees had. We had 3 packed days of speakers and Simon’s presentation was memorable, very highly rated. We feel most fortunate that he was a part of our 2020 event!

Accessories Council at Business Workshop 2020

Simon led two dynamic sessions at Social Innovation Summit, providing a unique perspective that blended purpose-driven work with the power of branding. He was engaging, insightful, and an incredible thought leader in how we can drive impact through business.

Landmark Ventures at Social Innovation Summit 2020

Simon Mainwaring provided a stirring keynote for the 2nd Annual Nonprofit Board Summit sponsored by the Harvard Business School Association of Boston. His presentation on ""Building a Sustainable Movement” provided both a reality-check and a call to action for nonprofit board members and senior staff. Simon started by highlighting the competitive environment for both mindshare and resources, and the increasingly blurry lines between nonprofits and for-profit social enterprises, and then provided a roadmap for building a sustainable movement with examples of how successful organizations have executed such strategies. From defining the organization’s purpose, to infusing it into the culture, to co-creating a broader community of believers and ultimately influencing societal values, he brought a fresh vision of how to create and communicate impact, the holy grail that most nonprofits seek.

HBS Association of Boston

Simon Mainwaring's presentations to the Conscious Capitalism community are insightful and powerful. They provide not only inspirational guidance or how to get through this challenging period, but also a roadmap for how business leaders can take action to do so.

Conscious Capitalism

Simon Mainwaring is an incredibly effective speaker motivating his listeners to fully engage in examining their company's purpose and and how they share their story. Regardless of company size, his message inspires all to peel back the layers and breathe renewed life into the soul of their corporate values.


Simon Mainwaring was a valuable addition to the inaugural Sustainable Brands 2016 Sydney Conference. He brought with him a wealth of knowledge from previous Sustainable Brands events in San Diego which helped the audience to understand the ethos of the conference objectives. I would highly recommend Simon as both a Keynote presenter and Workshop facilitator.

Sustainable Brands Sydney

I can't express how thrilled we are about your work with our leadership team today. The buzz is still going... Community service IS about the bottom line... Support the mission, tell your story, empower the people... Just a few buzz phrases I am hearing. I appreciate your time and thoughtful presentation today and look forward to continuing this great work.


Patagonia has always valued story-telling, but knowing you can always teach a old dog new tricks, we invited Simon to speak to us and share his insights about the larger context of why telling stories is central to any brand's connection to its customers, as well as share his advanced knowledge of the tools in the social media box.

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