Updated: May 29
We recently sat down with Tom Niven, GDI volunteer in the Melbourne branch.
Tom studied for a Bachelor of Commerce and Software Engineering at Monash University and has recently commenced a Masters of Applied Economics at UNSW. He is currently a consultant at KPMG's Technology Advisory team. He helps clients evaluate and assess the best way to leverage or enhance their technological capabilities better to serve their customers, staff, and business needs.
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’m a Melbournian, born and raised, though I did live in Cincinnati for a few years when I was very young – I still say some words with a tinge of an American accent. What I wanted to be changed a lot as I got older. My parents tell me I wanted to be a fireman when I was a toddler, then I got really into dinosaurs and wanted to be a palaeontologist for quite some time. I still like dinosaurs, but my geology is sadly lacking!
2. Where do you currently work and what does your role involve on a day to day basis?
I’m a consultant at KPMG in our Technology Advisory team. I provide strategic and operational advice to companies and governments on how to best improve, create or leverage their IT landscape to perform their business functions. What that means is I spend a lot of time in meetings or on PowerPoint, though I’ve also had a number of projects that let me flex my data analysis muscles on PowerBi or Excel.
3. How did you hear about the Good Data Institute and what made you interested in getting involved?
Somewhat randomly to be honest – a LinkedIn connection liked one of the GDI posts looking for applicants to the Data for Good program. I thought it’d be a great chance to use my data skills for good while connecting with and learning from data professionals.
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?
I’ve been working with GDI for about seven months now. The first component of that was the Data for Good program which involved both learning and application to provide data analysis for Hui-E!. I’ve since started leading a project with HeartKids, helping them analyse their donor profiles. I’d say the most rewarding thing so far has been the people, both clients and within GDI, it’s great to meet people who are trying to help build a better world.
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 think there’s a lot of creativity in the fellow role – you get to frame the problem with the client as well as solve it with the team. Broadly speaking I find human development projects the most exciting – improving health, educational, or economic outcomes is something that is truly close to my heart. It’s all about finding how your skillset can best serve the causes you care about.
6. Lastly, what are your favourite hobbies? What’s your favourite way to spend a day off?
It depends how I’m feeling largely. If I’m in a relaxed mood I’ll probably play video games, hang out with friends, or read a fiction novel. If I feel energised or want to challenge myself I’ll probably read some non-fiction or work on some of my side projects.
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 soon with the program running over Oct, Nov and Dec 2022. 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.