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True Grit. An innovation and disruption story. Character and Culture key ingredients to move from start-up to business valued in excess of half a billion dollars within only 7 years

This is company founder inspiration and required listening. The story so far and where to next. What keeps you up at night? Naomi describes the journey through the lonely moments, of being brave and backing yourself and your team plus what it takes to go from a start-up up to a “step up” company. She describes in detail the influence of character and culture on growing a start-up.

Themes of customer outcomes, building culture, diversity, innovation, bootstrapping it and scaling a “family business” are explored. How to transform and dominate your industry through putting people first. What to do when you make mistakes. On being a role model and putting back.

Partners Life has recently received its third tranche of a $200 million investment into the business by US-based Blackstone and reported a record underlying insurance profit, increasing 76% over the past 12 months alone.

An only daughter in a family of five children with a Pacific heritage she grew up in a family environment that was not privileged and had its share of difficulties. Indeed this has been pointed to by some as the key to her intense drive to succeed. It has almost certainly shaped her view of family which is inclusive. At an early stage, while still in her teens, Naomi decided to desert university study and get a job to earn money and marry. She applied for a role in an industry that was totally foreign to her and she not only learned it from the ground up but set out to dominate innovative thinking inside the space.

She did that with spades. For her services to her chosen sector she received the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017. Having built a career inside a corporate she took her own theories to market and started and grew not only one business but two successively and successfully in the same sector. She is not simply seen as a successful woman but as a successful serial business builder and accomplished chief
executive. She is without question a role model for any man or woman who aspires to reach the top in their chosen field.

Naomi Ballantyne, managing director and founder of Partners Life Insurance has been described as “arguably the most experienced person in the New Zealand life insurance industry.” The lessons can be applied to many industries.

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