Living life to the full – Dan’s on a role
From moving countries to swapping a public sector career for private consulting – all while juggling four kids, a sporty lifestyle and numerous pets – Daniel Stoner was never afraid to challenge his limits. As he begins his newest chapter, as Principal at Taylor Fry, Dan shares his career journey, passions and aspirations.
Did you always want to be an actuary? What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
It wasn’t an ambition I had when I was young, but I was good at maths. This led to a Mathematics degree and the actuarial profession seemed like a good opportunity to use my maths skills. Early on in my career, experiences at a consulting firm and a corporate bank helped me realise I’m most passionate about community-oriented work that delivers social value.
I sought work in the social sector and moved from Auckland to Wellington to join the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). Although it’s not a traditional actuarial area, our skills for forecasting and having a risk mindset have clear applications to social sector issues because these are long term in nature, and often intergenerational.
At MSD, I worked once a week at a Work and Income office, which is New Zealand’s equivalent to Centrelink. That gave me invaluable frontline perspective on who’s most impacted by the work I do. Although we’re not the ones applying interventions directly, my work informs system-level factors that can have a significant impact on people’s lives – and this is really motivating for me.
Why did you decide to join Taylor Fry?
Taylor Fry has had a long-standing partnership with the New Zealand government and specifically MSD, modelling people’s long-term social outcomes. While at MSD, I worked closely with the Taylor Fry team on how best to translate their modelling results into insights that best informed the policy and operational settings for the ministry. It was clear we shared similar values – they were so down to earth and genuine. They were also technically excellent, and I was excited by the opportunity to join them.
“The prospect of leading such a strong team is exciting … to make a worthy difference together across a variety of social issues here in New Zealand.”
What does this new role mean for you?
What’s most important for me is to be able to continue doing good work that has a positive impact and means something for others. At the same time, the prospect of leading such a strong team is exciting – supporting their professional development as social sector actuaries to make a worthy difference together across a variety of social issues here in New Zealand. We have a great opportunity, especially with the new government, to offer our unique capabilities and facilitate effective social investment.
How does your life play out away from work?
My hands are full! My wife and I have four children, and about 30 pets, including chickens, cats, dogs and fish. I enjoy supporting the kids’ interests, particularly sports – having been an avid triathlete and footballer when I was younger. I coach junior sports teams, and volunteer for sporting club committees and my kids’ school board. If I have any spare time, you’ll find me on my bike or out for a run soaking in the spectacular natural New Zealand landscape – so soothing for the soul!
Learn more about Dan’s work in the social sector
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