With a career working across a number of major ASX listed companies, Daniel Brandon is as experienced as they come. We sat down with Daniel to find out how he gives back.
After close to 20 years working in Finance, the last 10 of which were in senior roles where success is measured by financial results, describe what achievement feels like in your role as Chairman of the Colour Ball?
As Chairman of the Colour Ball achievement is all about increasing the brand awareness for Redkite in the 25-45 age range, and making our guests feel like they are a part of making a difference.
Not everyone has heard about Redkite or what they do, so selling tickets to the event, getting new people into the room to hear a Redkite speaker tell their personal story on the night is at its core what Colour Ball is all about. As Chairman I want our guests to connect with the Redkite story and just get a little bit of perspective on their own lives, to reflect on how lucky most of us really are. Kids get cancer and I have never really been able to comprehend that, especially as a father of 2 young children. We normally have around 400 people in the room and as soon as the Redkite speaker starts talking – you can hear a pin drop. A mum might get up and say “my child was diagnosed with cancer when he/she was three, I had to quit my job for 4 years, 3 of which were spent in hospital” – that’s when you know there are people out there that have real problems and our guests understand why they are there.
It is an absolute privilege to be Chairman of the Colour Ball and the volunteer group of people that bring Colour Ball together. Everyone on the Committee gives up their time as their way of supporting Redkite and the amazing support they provide families going through the cancer journey. Collectively we relish trying to get 400 guests to Colour Ball to hear the Redkite message, knowing that everyone will take something away from it. Our hope is our guests reflect on their Colour Ball experience with a positive connection to the work that Redkite does.
What provides the fuel for the passion you have for supporting something beyond your day to day role?
Look I’ve just always felt lucky in life I guess: where I was born – Sydney; I grew up and now live in a good home; I have had the opportunity to work overseas; great family; and great friends – what more can I ask for? Ten years ago as I was approaching 30 all of the hard work I was putting in professionally started to lack personal fulfillment, and I recall waking up one day wondering “there must be more to life than working hard for someone else”.. don’t get me wrong work is obviously important – but I just had this feeling I had to do something else for someone that was less fortunate than I was. At this exact point in my life I went to Colour Ball by chance almost 10 years ago, and it just resonated, this is it, this is me.
It’s not hard to get energy when you meet a family that’s been through for example a cancer journey that hasn’t ended well. It’s a very humbling experience, and if you think you’re busy at work and your stressed and your kids might be sick for a day, and you both have to scramble your schedule to keep little Johnny out of daycare for 6 hours, you realize that you don’t know anything about how hard some people are doing it out there. I just dived right into it, wanting to do something for people that needed help.
Families can drive people to their goals.
What part does your professional experience play in getting involved in the NFP space?
With my experience I am in a position of privilege in the finance organisation chart – I can meet a recruiter like yourself and start talking about Colour Ball, as long as I’m myself, give a good account of myself, Colour ball is a big part of who I am. You just connect with your service providers a lot deeper, and you work out who you want to deal with, share a bit about yourself around the edge, the interesting bit not the business bit, because the business will always be there and will always get taken care of.
Take for example last years Colour Ball. We had Westpac come in as a Gold Sponsor because I had built up a relationship to the point I was able to ask Westpac to sponsor Colour Ball, simply through drawing down on the personal goodwill I had established with the Bank. Building relationships take time, but when you can connect on your core beliefs and values it makes working together a lot easier, and extending a professional relationship into something more meaningful all the more rewarding.
For others who may be out there, thinking about getting involved in something that connect them to their heart, what advice can you provide to help them take the plunge?
I don’t think this mindset or effort is something I can sell to people. If you can get up in the morning and look at yourself in the mirror and you’re happy with your lot in life, and you’re doing stuff your enjoying, that genuinely gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling and 100% or your week is full of that sort of feeling then there is no advice to give.
What I can say is if you’ve got that 5% internal discussion happening where you are not sure what your purpose is, or what you all about / what you’ve done / what you’ve achieved – just open your mind up to that 5% and the multiple number of different ways you could fill that gap. The best thing about the journey is that make sure whatever you do that YOU get satisfaction from it – because YOU will be helping make a difference.
I heard on the radio on the weekend, they were talking about a fundraising walk called “Push for Bobby” and it was this poor child called Bobby, 7 months old, was abused by his uncle to the extent he is a quadriplegic. Bobby’s family / support network walked from the Children’s hospital to Penrith and raised $50,000 for special Medical Equipment for Bobby. I was listening to this story deflated by what had happened to this poor child – but inspired by the people around him who wanted to do something to make a difference.
When you find the answer to your own 5% I promise you will get something out of it yourself and you’ll become a better person. You will find you will build much stronger trust with everyone around you, and you will start having much more interesting conversations with your family and friends when you tell them about the 5%.
I filled my 5% with Redkite and Colour Ball – how will you fill yours?
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