ADVISORY SPOTLIGHT: 10 Qs with Human Skills Superhero … Santiago Beltran Diaz

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4 min read

Welcome Santi, 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 Graduate Systems Engineer for Planet Innovation. In 1 sentence, what does role this entail?

It involves the assessment and integration of medical products, providing technical support where required, identifying and solving issues, and carrying out a wide range of tests on products to ensure they are fit for purpose.

You’re also the Co-Founder of TuCann Medical – a MedTech startup developing a novel cannula! In 3 dot points, what do you love about this work?

  • Getting to develop a solution to a problem that is faced day-to-day by healthcare workers.
  • Getting to work with people from a wide range of backgrounds and draw on their experience.
  • Learning different aspects of medical product commercialisation by actively trying different strategies, it’s pretty unique getting to determine where you want to take your idea and what steps you want to follow.

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?

I completed my primary and some of my secondary education in Colombia, before coming to Australia and finishing off secondary school. I decided to study Biomedical Science and Materials engineering due to my passion for science and technology. Early on in my degree, I developed an interest in prosthetics and I felt it would complement both aspects of my degree, however, it was difficult for me to find ways to be actively involved in this area.

During a semester on exchange in Denmark I came across medical technology, and entrepreneurship, this sparked my interest in medtech which I decided to pursue back in Australia. This experience halfway through my degree really paved the way to where I am now, both as a startup founder and a systems engineer.

Whilst my degree has helped me to have a basic understanding of medical technology and how that may impact the human body, there has still been a lot of on-site learning in both of my jobs about things I didn’t necessarily learn or experience during my time at university. I don’t apply a lot of materials engineering knowledge on a day to day, but it helps me understand certain aspects of the ideas and problems I try to solve.

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?

Being able to assist in the development of a platform that I know will make a significant difference in the life of young professionals, seeing the positive impact Maxme can have on people is a really exciting experience.

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

I thrive in environments where I get to work with people, build on relationships, and get to help others. Over time, and with the help of Maxme, I have learnt the significance of these relationships and how I approach my life, I place a lot of care in all the things I do, making this my personal super power.

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

Having the privilege to study across three countries during my primary and secondary education, allowed me to experience very different education systems.

In Australia, we need to improve how we prepare our youth from an early age for the latter part of their academic journey, this should be a continuous journey of preparation, not something that is emphasised in the last two to three years of high school. There is a lot of value in developing healthy study habits early on, these are habits that not only help with academic life but also personal, and professional life, not enough emphasis is currently placed on these and this needs to be addressed.

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?

I would like to master communicating with impact. Communication is at the core of every activity, there are many forms in which a message can be portrayed, and it’s essential to convey clear and purposeful ideas. As much as communication involves getting ideas across, it’s just as important to be a good listener and understand the people you are interacting with, being able to master this skill would improve my experience with people significantly and allow me to assist others better.

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

To experience and try as many different interests as possible. The only way you will really learn whether you like to do something is by diving into it and getting immersed in that area, high school and the university is the best time to try as much as you can, and discover whether it really is your passion. There is a wide range of opportunities available for you to try all sorts of things during this time, so make the most of it and remember that we are all continuously learning and discovering ourselves. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

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?

The first thing I look for is their reason behind wanting to join the team, it’s essential that their values and interests align with that of the team to ensure that we all grow and work together to achieve a common goal. This will also help me get an understanding of their true passion and what drives them, as this will help to get the best out of them during their time with the team.

It’s important they are eager to learn and are capable of adapting to the different situations and challenges that will arise.

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

Neuro-linguistic programming, I want to develop a more thorough understanding of body language and communication to understand others better and be able to deliver a more impactful and clear message when I am working with others.