ADVISORY SPOTLIGHT: 10 Qs with Human Skills Superhero … Dan Robins


Welcome Dan, and thanks for stepping into the Maxme Spotlight!
You’re an invaluable member of the Maxme Advisory – a true human skills superhero – but you’re also a Director, PwC’s CMO Advisory. In 1 sentence, what does role this entail?

Day to day I’m a management consultant, working predominantly with marketers helping solve their challenges around marketing strategy, how they structure and run teams, and how they spend their marketing investment effectively. I also work with media businesses in Australia on their approach to working with marketers.

And Head of Automation & Data for Spotify prior to this. WOW. In 3 words, how was that career chapter for you?

Challenging, Enlightening, Travelling

Tell us a little about your personal education pathway/s – what led you to where you are now? How closely do your formal qualifications match your current career?

There’s a link there, but it’s certainly not direct. I studied Economics and German and University and chose that degree as it was a match between subjects I liked and was good at at school, but would be broadly useful later on. Nowadays I’m no Economist by trade, but I do work with data a lot and the grounding economics gives you into markets’, businesses’ and human behaviour is hugely useful. That being said, my job is very different to that and all the roles I’ve had are as much about people – leading teams, working with clients, communicating relatively complex ideas which doesn’t come from studying economic theory, not least given my specialism in digital media wasn’t really even “a thing” back when I was at Uni!

Maximising human potential through the power of human skills is the reason Maxme exists. What inspires / excites you most about this mission you’re helping to bring to life?

In recent years there’s been a great movement to support students, particularly girls, into studying STEM subjects which will undoubtedly lead to fabulous careers and the creation of the technologies of tomorrow. While this is super important, I also believe it’s key our students are able to articulate that technical learning into the workplace. That Maxme will help get students ready for the challenges of the workplace from day 1 rather than having to go through years of trial and error is great for the students and great for business

Self Awareness sets the critical foundation for all Maxme learning experiences. With that said … what’s your strongest trait / personal super power?

I’d actually say self awareness – while i don’t always catch myself in the moment, I’m very self reflective and drive to know my areas for improvement.

Reflecting on Australia’s current education frameworks, curriculums and workforce pathways, what do you believe needs to be changed, fixed or solved?

Access for all. Education shouldn’t be only for those who can afford it, and should be open for all forms of education, be it science or arts. Students at 18 shouldn’t be put off from continued education in something they’re passionate about because it’s either not deemed as economically important, or they’re priced out.

We know you’re a human skills superhero … but if you had to pick just one to truly master, which would it be and why?

My mentor, Megan Brownlow – her 1:1 coaching is masterful in that she coaxes things out of you with open questions and a supportive, non-judgemental manner, while clients and audiences love her for her unmatched depth of expertise and engaging way of presenting.

If you could share one piece of career advice with Upper Secondary &/or Uni students, what would it be?

Keep an eye on a “plan”… but know there’s no “plan” – do what seems exciting, interesting, enjoyable and will help you keep building.

You’ve been granted approval to add one University graduate to your team, but have 100 applicants, all with outstanding academic results. How do you find your perfect candidate – what are you looking for?

Diversity of thought – that person who is not afraid to ask why we do things the way we do and work out the better way.

In the words of John Dewey, “education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.”
What’s next on your #learning agenda?

While I’ve long since considered an Executive MBA, my learning is currently focussed threefold: learn to be a better, more rounded consultant; learn the financial investing tools that were not taught at school but are long overdue when you hit your mid-30s; and the continuous on-the-job learning to be a better father to my daughter.