We recently sat down with the talented Nic Dai who has been promoted to the role of GDI Fellow (Project Leader) at the Good Data Institute to hear about his background and experience with GDI.
Nic has a Bachelor of Project Management, a Bachelor of Engineering and a JD in Law from the University of Sydney! Moreover, he is currently undertaking a PhD in Climate-Economic modelling, which involves developing quantitative models of how technological and behavioural changes impact the climate and economic systems!
Nic was a highly valued member of the 2nd Data For Good Program (March 2022) and we are thrilled to see him progress to the GDI Fellow role, which involves leading not-for-profit projects for GDI's NFP partners. Congratulations Nic!
1. Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up and what did you want to do when you grew up?
I spent the first few years of my life in Ivory Coast in west Africa before moving back to Shanghai for primary school. I then moved to New Zealand and later naturalised as a Kiwi. I then moved to Sydney just before high school and have lived here ever since. Before I realized I how much I enjoyed mathematics, I wanted to be a detective or an architect.
2. Where do you currently work and what does your role involve on a day-to-day basis?
I am part of the product team at KPMG Origins, a venture focused on sharing data to create trust and value in supply chains. My focus is often around how we could promote sustainability in industrial supply chains by allowing incentives to flow through to the right people. Outside of my day job I work on my PhD in climate-economic modelling with a focus on degrowth.
3. How did you hear about the Good Data Institute and what made you interested in getting involved?
I volunteered for a local food bank with colleagues this one time and spent a day chatting and packing potatoes. I really enjoyed myself, but I thought surely, I could provide much more value if I was volunteering with my professional skills. A few years later I saw a GDI post on LinkedIn, and it just made so much sense.
4. Tell us a little bit about your experiences at GDI so far! What types of projects have you worked on and what have you found most rewarding about them?
During my cohort (cohort #2) we participated in the Hui E hackathon where our team analyzed NFP survey data for insights. I was then given the opportunity to lead a project with AFRA (Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance) on impact measurement of New Zealand’s foodbanks.
5. What are you most excited about as you move into the Fellow role going forward? What types of NFPs and causes interest you most?
I am excited at the prospect of helping guide NFPs to maximise their potential through the proficient use of data. Being a Fellow also provides me with more opportunity to improve my engagement management skills which is very helpful at this transitional stage in my career. NFPs that excites me the most are those that seek to minimize or reverse human impact on the planet. AFRA members, for example, make a huge impact in the reduction of food waste through their operation as foodbanks. Everybody will need to play our part over the coming decade to avoid the impending climate disaster, I have a lot of respect for the NFPs that are playing an outsized role.
6. Lastly, what are your favourite hobbies? What’s your favourite way to spend a day off?
Snowboarding; camping and hunting (invasive species); video games (strategy or FPS); spending time with my dog, Mala.
If you are a data & analytics professional looking to make an impact and become part of a global community of people like you, applications for our next GDI Data For Good cohort will open in early 2023 with the program running over the first half of 2023. This program serves as the gateway into the Good Data Institute community and consists of learning and development (L&D) events and a team-based hackathon with a NFP partner. Sign up for our newsletter here to stay in the loop.
The Good Data Institute (established 2019) is a registered not-for-profit organisation (ABN: 6664087941) that aims to give not-for-profits access to data analytics (D&A) support & tools. Our mission is to be the bridge between the not-for-profit world and the world of data analytics practitioners wishing to do social good. Using D&A, we identify, share, and help implement the most effective means for growing NFP people, organisations, and their impact.