Unicorn in profile: Lee Simpson - Queensland Practice Lead

14 April, 2017 by Danielle Glover

Lee is a familiar face at Mexia and with our customers - he is everywhere! As he works on multiple projects across our client base, Lee applies that prized Unicorn talent which combines an eagle-eye for technical detail with exceptional communication skills. He is always seeking out ways to support our Queensland and Victoria team to achieve more and for our clients to do things better.



Getting his hands dirty across the business in roles as varied as marketing, sales, architecture, solution design, coding and process optimisation, Lee’s problem-solving abilities are second to none. For anyone that talks to him, it’s clear that problem solving is a passion for him, it’s in his DNA – a snippet we learned recently is that as part of his personal interest in studying machine learning, Lee heard from a client about the problem of large numbers of cassowaries ending up as road-kill. There was a problem to be solved, and as we touch on later, Lee decided to turn his mind to it as a side project.

The simple reality for Mexia as a business is that, alongside Julia Collins, Lee’s passion for organisational design and efficient teamwork has had a huge and transformational effect on how we deliver agile projects. Thanks to these two unicorns, we’re confident in now saying that Mexia’s Agile delivery is absolute world-class.

Here’s some more about Lee’s background, his role and a peek into Lee behind the scenes.



Background: Freedom to fly and make a difference at Mexia!

Lee originally hails from South Africa and came to Australia in 2010. After 4 years at SunSuper where he built their Integration Competency Centre, he joined Mexia in 2011.

“I really enjoyed my work at SunSuper” says Lee. “But as with any larger organisation, sometimes you see your future options narrowing as you become more and more type-cast – you can feel like one cog in a big machine, but the problem is that so much of what the other cogs do was interesting to me as well!”.”

“I was excited to join Mexia as I could see an opportunity to be more closely involved in a wide range of areas to help grow the company while spreading my own wings – and I haven’t been disappointed.”

With the freedom to pursue different type of projects across various disciplines, Lee is enjoying the Mexia journey and feels more connected to the company’s purpose and values.

“Companies are ultimately about people banding together with a shared purpose – the more you can inspire people and help drive towards a common goal, the more effective the business.”



At Mexia, Lee is our Queensland practice lead with a focus on large scale software projects and solution architecture

With such varied projects and skills under his belt, Lee is always keeping his ear to the ground, looking for opportunities where he can help people. As anyone will know who has worked with him, he’s passionate about understanding problems - getting to the core of what people are trying to achieve, and how their skills can be combined with Mexia’s to reach an outcome that will delight the customer.

“I like to look at all the different aspects of a problem,” says Lee. “Say there’s a customer who wants something to go faster, I’ll work with our team to not just look at the technical details, but also at the way the customer’s team is run, how they’re deploying technology, and how this fits with their broader goals and business lifecycle. More often than not, the solutions aren’t exclusively technical.”

He also enjoys taking a deep dive into our clients’ processes, understanding how they can be improved across the business value chain to better delight their customers. Lee’s work on developing new customer engagement models, to make sure Mexia is engaging efficiently and profitably, also appeals to his broader interest in the business.

“I see integration as being at the very centre of the modern, digitally transformed, business – part of a continual process of improvement and efficiency gains.”

Lee is a natural people person and is well known at Mexia for his ability to empower fellow team members. His attitude to leadership provides a good insight into his character and abilities.

“I believe that good leaders can almost disappear into the background and enjoy the success of people around them,” says Lee. “There’s been a few proud moments where people in my team did amazing work.”

“Projects and circumstances are more fluid these days so the ‘command and control’ type of leadership doesn’t work anymore. I think it’s now about empowering individuals within teams to

make better decisions using the knowledge they have. One of my favourite quotes is: ‘the purpose of leaders is to make more leaders’.”

At Mexia, we know that the best way for people like Lee to reach their potential is to let them take ownership of the role and it is in that context that accommodating Lee’s skill set has actually had a big influence over the very structure of the Mexia team. Both Lee and Julia support the Queensland and Victoria team but there’s no hard line about how this is done. they’re there to be a resource for the rest of the team – mentoring, training and developing individuals to achieve their best.



Beyond Mexia: A little more about Lee

As with anyone who has a young family, Lee’s personal time is gobbled up with his children! But aside from dad duties, impressively he has delved into the intricacies of matrix maths and calculus to teach himself machine learning.

But it’s not just an intellectual pursuit – as we mentioned earlier, as a bit of fun Lee has applied these new skills to the problem of Cassowary roadkill. “Cassowaries get run over too much!”, says Lee, “so there’s a problem to be solved!”. His idea was to see if he could train a neural net to recognise cassowaries from hundreds of images of them and, combined with a road-side camera, construct a cassowary detector that would warn drivers that one of our feather friends was nearby and in mortal peril unless they slowed down! Genius!

Aligned with his interest in machine learning, Lee enjoys non-fiction reading in areas such as artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology. He also enjoys computer games, horror and Sci-fi movies and, as a few of us know already, used to be a long-haired guitar player!

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