Interview with Dani Townsend (Director)

Dani Townsend, Director, grew up in Tasmania, eventually making Brisbane her forever home after a stint in England and a few fun travelling adventures. Driven by passion, purpose and a well-caffeinated oat flat white Dani gave us a peek into life as she knows it.

Question 1: Why did you join commonkind?

I joined commonkind because the mission really resonated with me. I want my children to grow up with values in compassion and kindness, but also with conviction in their ability to affect positive change. I saw the potential to create a ‘village’ and a sense of community for both kids and those who might be isolated or disadvantaged. In this sense, having kids engaging in community service activities is not just for the benefit of the recipient, but a rich two-way learning experience. It’s about fostering a culture where kids can grow up feeling connected and committed to helping and learning from those less fortunate, and doing so in a scalable way.

Question 2: What were you like as a child?

I was very outdoorsy, and loved spending time helping out on my grandparents’ farm, working with the animals and building things in my grandad’s workshop. He was one of a kind – a self-taught inventor and serial entrepreneur with an enormous heart for the disadvantaged.

He was a big inspiration to me from a young age and I am sure influenced my early dream of traveling to Africa to help children living in poverty, as well as my entrepreneurial instincts, famously being caught around the age of 7 selling some of my mums floristry baskets on the footpath outside our home having spotted a new market opportunity.

Question 3: What was your first volunteering experience?

My first regular volunteering experience was as a weekly activities assistant with Autism Tasmania in early high school. A few years later, I became a befriender at Time Out Youth Suicide Prevention House, run by Lifeline in Tasmania. These were both formative experiences that showed me the power of simple acts of kindness in making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

Question 4: What has been your most memorable volunteering experience?

One of my most memorable experiences was in my role as project coordinator for a social impact program at the University of Queensland. We developed an indigenous leadership program in collaboration with Yalari, an organisation providing education scholarships to indigenous children. Seeing firsthand how the children were inspired by indigenous role models highlighted the importance of diversity in representation and the role we all play in inspiring the next generation to become confident leaders. Seeing the impact we had over that week and the joy on the kids faces is a memory I look back on as one of the best experiences in my career to date.

Question 5: What’s the very first job you had (that’s not on your LinkedIn profile) and what did you learn from the experience?

My first paid job was as a waitress at a local café. It taught me the value of hard work in a fast-paced environment… but also that I probably wasn’t made out for a career in hospitality. I struggled with carrying lots of trays and remembering everyone’s orders!

Dani (age 2.5) at home in Perth.

Question 6: What do you do for fun?

I enjoy spending time with my two young kids and husband. We especially love trips to the beach. Watching the world through their eyes is a constant reminder that there is joy to be had in the simplest of things, and in being present with the ones you love.

Question 7: What motivates you?

I’m motivated by raising my kids to be good humans who care for others and by working towards making the world a more inclusive place for everyone.

Question 8: How do you practice self-compassion?

While I don’t have a lot of time to myself these days, I make it a point to take moments for a walk or find some quiet time to read a book or do something creative. It’s when I do these things that I feel most recharged and able to maintain a sense of balance. It is when I also feel my most able to give to others. Some of the best advice I have ever received is that in order to give to others, we must fill our own cup first.

Question 9: If you could give children and young people one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Don’t underestimate your ability to make an impact. It doesn’t matter how old you are – the future is yours to shape. Speak up for what you care about, share your ideas, but also stay curious about what you don’t know and the opinions you might not agree with. Even the smallest act of kindness can have a ripple effect that shapes the world.

Question 10: What is your most used emoji?

What can I say?

There’s lots I love in life!

Learn even more about Dani and other members of the commonkind team here.

About commonkind

We provide benevolent relief to people and communities suffering from poverty, disadvantage and distress by facilitating age-appropriate community service activities for children, families and other interested parties.

Get in touch!

Whether you are a charity with a task that might be suitable or you are interested in helping us create a kinder and more connected community, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us here.

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