Australian of the Year Simon McKeon at a breakfast fundraiser for the Buderim Foundation.
Australian of the Year Simon McKeon at a breakfast fundraiser for the Buderim Foundation. John Mccutcheon

Make time for others

ASK Simon McKeon for the secret to happiness and he will most likely tell you it is all about being altruistic.

The current Australian of the Year should know.

Mr McKeon knows what it is like at the top of the corporate ladder.

But it is his role helping others that he finds most appealing.

“Even nowadays I know that when I go through a period where it’s all a little bit self centred ... I just start to get a bit grumpy,” Mr McKeon said.

“It’s kind of nice looking after yourself for a little bit but I think that if that’s all my life was I would actually just get a bit grumpy.”

Yesterday Mr McKeon spoke at a breakfast fundraiser for the Buderim Foundation, which helps fund local projects and organisations.

Mr McKeon, an investment banker, record-breaking yachtsman and charitable man, said his core message was to encourage more people to help out in their communities.

“I don’t come in contact with that many people who I would say are difficult or mean-spirited,” Mr McKeon said.

“But I do come into contact with a lot of people who say ‘I’m just so busy ... I’ve either got a really busy career that is taking all my time or my family commitments are big’.

“And I understand all of it, I respect all of that.

“All I’m saying is ... I’ve just got to believe that for most of us some

where there is a little bit of space that we can carve out.”

It does not need to be a huge commitment, Mr McKeon said.

“I’m just trying to say, whether it’s a billionaire who’s built a great business, think about being generous because chances are you will get a sensation back that not even your great success in business can provide,” he said.

“I come into contact with some of the most extraordinary people who I’ve been able to make a little difference to.

“And when they just look at you and say ‘thank you, you didn’t have to do that but you did’ – that’s an amazing feeling, it really is.”

Buderim Foundation chairman Paul Clark said yesterday’s breakfast aimed at raising money for the foundation’s trust fund to be reinvested in local organisations and projects.

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