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Simon O Shaughnessy

Simon O’Shaughnessy

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TEC Chair: Small Business Program

I am a creative, business entrepreneur with over 35 years experience in multiple disciples and markets. Born in London, I studied at the University of Bristol to complete a dental degree with distinction in biochemistry. This led to a partnership in a private dental practice for 7 years.

I sold my partnership in 1983 having identified a passion to develop new business ideas. My first venture was into external catering with its largest function being a conference for 6000 people. At the same time, I initiated a small leisure company which began with home sunbed hire. This grew into a unique (at the time), high-end solarium centre. retail sales and commercial work were added, with a number of awards for the top salesperson in the UK for JK Ergoline and Solana AB.

Career highlights would include designing the largest wet spa area in the UK for DeVere hotels (approx £1 million) and running out multiple sites for the David Lloyd’s Next Generation group (one in Adelaide, Australia), Virgin Active, Holmes Place (UK and Belgium) and Total Fitness. The company became the largest private company of its type in Europe and while overseeing and developing the team I continued my passion for innovation and developed new brands including beauty products and an art gallery.

In 2001 after a successful sale of the business, I emigrated to NZ and became a temporary CEO and board member for a charitable trust. My role included managing and rebuilding a TV station, animation studio, new building works and educational ventures. I was successful in restructuring many of the trust elements, which included developing international sales for the animation products.

After leaving the trust in 2003 the US partners for the animation products asked me to continue as their consultant and I worked to restructure the related companies to enable the product to be brought to market. Recent success has been a landmark license deal involving US, NZ and Chinese partners.

While continuing IP sales work in other areas, I now consult and coach a wide range of people with special interest at ‘moments of rapid change and growth’. My company Carista Ltd. develops game-changing inceptions in thinking for clients. This can be in personal or company branding.

My motto is simply ‘making people great’.

I hold four diplomas in coaching and have taught at AUT and other institutions.


  • Entrepreneurial ventures
  • International sales
  • Branding and conceptual thinking for people and business