​An angel in her community

by Calida Smylie18 Sep 2014
Simone RyanSimone Ryan looks to give back to families experiencing significant hardship

As the CEO of Moneybag Finance, Simone Ryan has made a career out of helping clients achieve some of their property and finance goals. Now, through her charity initiative – Moneybags Angels – she is able to extend her help to the wider community.

“The inspiration behind Moneybags Angels just comes from my desire to give back. I feel blessed to be in a wonderful position in my life to be able to give back to the community and to those people that may have experienced significant hardship in their lives. I feel it is my personal duty to do that.”

Ryan founded Moneybags Angels in 2013 and it aims to bring back some Christmas cheer to a family that may have lost theirs.

“I just wanted to instil some Christmas spirit into at least one family every year that has been going through a tough time – whether it be a significant loss or a serious medical condition or just going through some hardship. Christmas is a time for family and happiness and the purpose of Moneybags Angels is to make sure their Christmas is still special.”

She is encouraging the community to become involved by nominating a family that may need her charity’s help. Last year, a community member nominated a family that Ryan will never forget.

“Last year we were able to help a family of six children who had lost both their parents in the same year. The mother passed away after a battle with cancer and the father died a couple of months later after suffering a heart attack. The oldest of the six is only 19 years old and now he is left as the carer for his five younger siblings. I just cried when I heard about their story. I rang the lady who nominated them to get to know a bit more about the children – all their names, ages and interests – so we could buy some Christmas presents that would really resonate with them.”

All the gifts are bought with money that comes out of her company, Moneybag Finance. Ryan said she hopes that Moneybags Angels challenges other businesses to do the same for their communities.

“Our mission is to get as many businesses to do this as possible. Ideally we would like to see this expand across Queensland first throughout small businesses, and then hopefully we can see it happening in small businesses across the country. If more and more businesses can give back even to just one family each year, that would make the world of difference. I think that would be wonderful to see.”

At the moment, Moneybags Angels is relying on social media and their clients at Moneybag Finance to spread the word. However, this year Ryan said she has plans to create more awareness and get the word out in the local media.

Moneybags Angels was not the first thing Simone has done to give back to her community, it is just the latest of her community-based charity initiatives. Since 2011, Ryan has run a voluntary community internship program through Moneybag Finance where she trains both adults and students in office-based skills – computer, administration and communications skills.

“In this current climate, nobody is giving people an opportunity unless they have experience, and there are a lot of people out there that don’t have this experience or the opportunity to gain this experience. It isn’t due to personal fault, it is because of other personal and family reasons – for example, a woman might have to take time out of the workforce due to having a new family and will find it hard to get back in because she doesn’t have the recent experience. How is she meant to gain this experience if someone doesn’t give her a go?”

She also runs a business networking group called GEM, which stands for “Great Entrepreneurial Minds” for small-to-medium business owners in her community.

“It started because I felt small- to-medium business owners in the community were struggling to get out there and make real connections. I felt it would be great to give business owners a platform where they can really learn from and network with each other and make these real connections, as opposed to just a ‘meet and greet’ and then that’s the end of it. Making long-term connections is going to benefit them, and their business.”

Ryan says her secret to finding time to run a business as well as various community-based programs is down to her exceptional organisation skills. Her drive also comes from the feedback she receives from the people involved. When she receives a heartfelt thank-you letter from someone she has been able to help, it makes it all worthwhile.

This article is from Australian Broker issue #11.15. Download the issue to read more.