Anne Marie Simon prefers to be backstage. There, from behind the scenes, she’s fearlessly dedicated to helping others shine. In her role as Office Manager for Sound Bioventures, for example, Simon is essential in optimizing the firm’s processes and supporting the investment team.
From an early age, Simon knew she had a knack for working out the underlying structure of something, seeing the ins and outs of a system and how it might be improved. The talent was invaluable in her first career as a hairdresser and stylist, which included styling famous actors and musicians for large-scale musicals and other performances. It was an environment in which Simon thrived, organizing details and ensuring everything went as smoothly as possible offstage.
“That’s what I like to do, prepare people to go on stage and get ready to perform,” she explains.
After more than a decade, Simon — who had long since completed business school — felt ready to leave the world of salons and concert venues for a more traditional office setting. But she still wanted to stay behind the curtain, so to speak, supporting a team’s operations without necessarily taking center stage.
It was long before she landed in capital investments.
Learning what drives a company
Simon’s current journey in the investment industry began when she heard about an opening at one of northern Europe’s leading private equity firms. The position was as a partner’s assistant, supporting a team establishing a new branch in Denmark. She was confident that she was a strong fit for the job. And although her CV might not have seemed as relevant as those of the other candidates, Simon fought for the role. After nailing seven interviews, she was hired.
“They told me they chose me because the necessary skills were in my DNA: I’m a team player, I’m structured, and I love service,” Simon recalls.
She hit the ground running, going from barely knowing how to turn on a computer to answering emails on nearly her first day. Simon covered practical tasks like piecing together scheduling and booking travel, but she also attended IPO seminars, coordinated boards for the firm’s portfolio companies, and even pitched the partners on a couple of companies to invest in.
“What I learned in those six years was how to run a company. Not that I could do it on my own, but I learned a lot about how the biggest companies in Denmark are run and what’s going on behind the scenes,” she says.
“I love when things can be done in a smarter way,” says Anne Marie Simon, Office Manager, Sound Bioventures.
Simon built on that foundation from her first job in the financial sector with other administrative roles, including at a family investment office, becoming an expert at organizing legal and financial details. And as she gained experience at firms of different sizes, she came to appreciate the straightforward effectiveness and versatility of a leaner operation.
“At a really big company, it might take three months to pay a simple hotel bill because of all the systems and procedures,” explains Simon. “You can’t really change or reorganize those systems and say, ‘Here’s a better approach,’ or ‘Let’s do it this way instead.’”
That organizational flexibility is part of what drew her to Sound Bioventures. The firm’s small cohesive team works at a fast pace and is always eager to find more streamlined ways of doing things. It’s an ideal setup for someone like Simon. “I love when things can be done in a smarter way,” she says.
A good example of something for which Simon tries to find the most optimal approach? Internal and external communications. Efficient collaboration is absolutely crucial to support the firm’s portfolio companies and deliver results for investors. So Simon puts her talents to work in reducing meeting times and devising systems for stakeholders to smoothly share information with one another.
Looking for unmet needs amongst the team
According to Simon, her goal is to build the right structures to support the agile, mission-driven team of Sound Bioventures as they fuel the advancement of new therapeutics. And she also connects with the firm’s values of focusing on the human element.
It’s a philosophy that allows Simon to practice the people-first approach she sees as a core aspect of her role, alongside the required technical skills and industry knowledge. She looks for any unmet needs of those on the team, like if someone runs into any stress and could use extra assistance or encouragement.
“Something I really like about Sound Bioventures is that it’s unstuffy,” says Simon. As she explains, it’s reflected in everything from the relaxed dress code to the firm’s core value of being humble.
“We’re a good team, and everybody’s helping each other,” she says.
Meet more of the unique people on the Sound Bioventures team!
We’d suggest to put a hyperlink to the Team’s page here.