40. Daniel

After meeting as five year olds, Daniel and I shared seven years of school camps, games of rounders and Monday morning national anthem singalongs at Croydon Hills Primary School. Despite attending different high schools, our paths continued to cross as we frequented the same parties thanks to a handful of mutual friends. Social media even enabled us to remain in each other’s periphery after our school years. But, it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that Daniel and I reconnected properly over lunch. Hearing about Daniel’s bold new venture into the world of consulting, I was struck by the fact that our divergent life paths have led to us sharing very similar values. I was also struck by Daniel’s generosity, energy and commitment to prioritising impact above all else. I look forward to staying in touch and I’m excited to see the footprint that Daniel and his team at Impacto leave on the third sector for years to come!

dbi

“I left school in Year 11 and just kept taking the next logical step in my career without giving it much thought. By the time I was 22, I was working for a large corporate, managing teams across multiple locations. It was fun, but there was something missing. 

I wanted to make an impact. So, after a lot of research, I wound up on the board of Partners in Aid who support community development projects with local NGOs in India, Bangladesh and the Philippines. It gave me some fulfillment, but that feeling wasn’t an every day one. Something was still missing.  

When my Mum passed away six years ago, it got me thinking about what I’d be proud of on my deathbed. I knew that increasing the sales of an insurance company by 10% wasn’t on the list, but I wasn’t sure what was. In order to find out, I realised I needed to quit my insurance job and force myself to take action. 

I spent eighteen months traveling which was a real eye opener. I went from Argentina, that has one set of problems, to Bolivia that has another set of problems to Brazil that has another set of problems altogether. I volunteered in a really remote community in the Peruvian Amazon, and travelled through some of India, the middle east and then Sweden. I continued my work with Partners in Aid from abroad.

Travel gave me the space to think and a reality check on what the world is like outside of my bubble. I started to get a sense of where I could make a true difference and Impacto Consulting was born.

Impacto helps purpose driven organisations, those that are doing good in the world, to accelerate their social impact. We work to ensure organisations get closer to the people they support, understand their needs and then co-create products or services that drive impact.

The idea came to me at the end of my trip when I was living in Sweden with my girlfriend. I wasn’t able to work there, so had a lot of time to myself and reached out to organisations aligned to my values, offering to volunteer. 

An animal welfare organisation ended up accepting my offer of help. While I was happy to do anything and everything, the more time I spent packing t-shirts into boxes, the more I started to see that I could have a far greater impact if I applied my skills. So, one day I took my resume to the CEO. 

The CEO admitted that my offer to volunteer was rare for them, so they didn’t know what to do with me. But soon, I was doing some human centered design work, building a strategy for attracting volunteers and another to enable efficiency in the fundraising team. Somehow, I had found myself doing voluntary consultancy and I loved it! 

I moved back to Australia and set out to make this a business. My ex-colleague, Tracey was looking for her next opportunity so we became a partnership. We had already worked together for six years, so we understood one another’s strengths and weaknesses and what buttons shouldn’t be pushed before a morning coffee. We were able to hit the ground running. 

My skill set is in human centered design, service design and strategy and Tracey’s is more focused on culture, working with front line leaders and training.   

We’re working with a diverse range of organisations on a vast array of projects.  We’re partnering with disabilty service providers who need help understanding how to attract and retain customers in the new world of the NDIS. We’ve been working with aged care providers to co-design new service offerings for those who speak english as a second language and we’ve proposed new legisliation to create greater community inclusion for people with dementia, enabling them to live the life they want.

One of the key challenges we’re seeing in the third sector is the ability to get a group of people to move forward. At the end of the day, whether you’re a corporate, a not for profit or government organisation, you’re a group of people trying to move towards a common goal and that can be bloody hard. 

You’ve often got people who’ve been around for a while, doing things a certain way alongside new people with new ideas. At Impacto Consulting, we use human centered design to reach group consensus. Through research, observation and agreement on key issues we can facilitate an outcome that leaves everybody feeling like they’ve been heard.

We work with organisations who want to change. If an organisation is frustrated but unwilling to budge, there’s not a lot that we can do to help. We are always looking at whether or not we can make an impact.

And there is so much potential for impact.

One of the best things about working with purpose driven organisations is being in a room with a group of people so passionate about the same thing. When I was working in insurance, people were there for different reasons- some because it paid well, others because they’d worked their way up and some who genuinely loved the sector. But, in a purpose driven organisation, you’ve got diverse characters and diverse skill sets, rallying around a common cause. If you can harness the passion and energy for the cause and get those unique skill sets and personalities moving in the right direction- that’s powerful! 

In future, I hope we  can expand the Impacto team and work with growing numbers of important organisations to make an impact on their cause. 

I think more and more people are seeking to make an impact. More and more people are getting to a point where they ask themselves “is this it?” It certainly happened to me. 

Moving from the comfortable world of insurance to consulting for purpose driven organisations didn’t just occur to me one day. It was a micro-progression. And while it may appear like a risky  move- the risk of not doing anything far outweighed the risk of trying.” 

 

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