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Welcome to Andy Smith: Our New Director of Comms and Project Excellence!

We are thrilled to announce the promotion of Andy Smith to the role of Director of Communications and Project Excellence. Andy's appointment brings a fresh wave of enthusiasm and expertise to our team.

Andy's journey with GDI began as a dedicated volunteer on the Rape Prevention Education Trust and Good Karma Effect projects. After which, we welcomed Andy as a GDI fellow, where he led projects with Progressive Shopper, Pathways Foundation, and Brother 2 Another.

In 2021, Andy took on the role of Melbourne Branch Lead while continuing his other commitments. As the branch lead, he coordinated and curated numerous events for the GDI family in Melbourne, from small dinners, to our largest event GDI event in a single city.

We are especially excited for Andy's appointment to further strengthen GDI's commitment to communication and marketing. Andy's excited to share the incredible stories behind our work, and he is eager to amplify their impact.

Additionally, Andy has a deep understanding of what makes GDI tick and where we can enhance our organisational practices. His experience as a volunteer, fellow and branch lead will help elevate how we source, manage, and deliver projects.

Please join us in congratulating Andy on this well-deserved promotion. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories and innovative initiatives from our incredible team!

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 grew up in Auckland and moved to Melbourne after finishing my Undergrad, wanting to experience living in a bigger city. I don’t necessarily recall one thing in particular that I wanted to be, but when I was much younger I think I saw a chef was on the cards. Then as I hit school it moved more to an engineer building bridges. Safe to say I am happy to have ended up where I am, and who knows, maybe my chef aspirations can be fulfilled a little later.

2. Andy, tell us a bit about what you studied, your background and how did you get into data science?

At university I studied a Bachelor of Engineering specialising in Operations Research, which is a branch of mathematics focused on optimisation. This gave me a pretty good taste of data science and led me on to study a Masters of Business Analytics at Melbourne Business School in 2017. Since then I have been working within the Data & Analytics space, and currently I am enjoying my time at L’Oreal Australia as a Data & Analytics Manager.

3. 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 have had a really rewarding experience with GDI, having worked across a number of roles from volunteer through to Melbourne Branch Lead. I have been involved in projects ranging from building data strategies, creating operational dashboard, all the way through to more advanced text analytics. Regardless of the project, the most rewarding aspect of these projects is being able to work beside the talented and passionate people at our NFP partners. And being able to add just a little bit of value to the amazing work they are doing is super satisfying!

4. What in your experience is the biggest thing that data can do to step-change a NFPs impact?

In my experience, the easiest thing that data can do for NFPs is optimise operations and enable more efficient resource allocation, ultimately leading to a greater positive impact on the communities they serve. For example, I have worked on a project where we have built a solution that helps automate scheduling of teachers to classes. The harder, but potentially more impactful area is when NFPs start to use data to understand the impact they are having and then use it to drive more targeted and deliberate decisions.

5. You have recently started this amazing new role as “Director of Comms and Project Excellence” What are you most excited about for this new opportunity and what are you looking to bring to GDI?

On the communications side of the role, I am most excited about being able to share the stories about the amazing NFPs we work with and the incredible work our GDI community is doing. The more we spread the word, the more great charities we can work with and talented volunteers we will attract.

On the Project Excellence side of the role, I want to ensure that whenever we engage with an organisation we deliver outputs that add value and can last the test of time. I will be working closely with our volunteers to ensure they have everything they need to deliver high quality projects with our partners.

6. Lastly, what are your favourite hobbies? What’s your favourite way to spend a day off?

In my spare time I like to keep active and be outdoors - I will often be found going for a run or on the tennis court. Although with the weather getting much colder in Melbourne, I do enjoy catching up with friends for a bit of Pub Trivia (albeit I am not quite as good as I would like to be).

About GDI:

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.

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