He has one brother who is 3 years younger. Both attended public school at primary and secondary level and then studied Electrical engineering at a technical college.
His first job was with I.T.T. (International Telegraph and Telephone), designing telephone exchanges. He progressed to a power utility company, designing electrical sub stations.
Growing up, Daniel’s mum was always supportive, strong and loving, unlike his dad, who was super critical. Daniel felt that he couldn’t live up to his expectations. He never felt good enough.
Daniel admits that he was terrible at sports and always the last one to be chosen on a team. Because he was somewhat shy, books and literature took his fancy. Black Beauty, The Hobbit, Tom Sawyer, and Huckleberry Finn were amongst his favourites. “Books take you to places outside of your mind and give flight to your imagination.”
He married Ydalina in 1974. They had a daughter Xinena, born in Buenos Aires, who is now 40 years of age. They touched down in Australia on 4th January 1978, and another child, Matilda, now 36, a ‘Sandgroper,’ was born in Perth, WA.
Daniel’s exposure to Toastmasters began in 1991, when he was working for an engineering company, Fluor Daniel, in St. Kilda Road, Melbourne.
He joined at the recommendation of Club President Fraser Johnston, with whom he worked, having never attended a meeting. He liked it, but didn’t understand what was going on. The Harkmaster asked him a question and he had no idea what to say. Embarrassed, he made up something – his first attempt at impromptu speaking. Daniel was hooked. More embarrassment followed when he presented his 4th speech. The Evaluator said that he didn’t meet the objectives. He didn’t understand what they were. “It’s OK to fail and if you learn from it, then it’s not a failure.” The objective was to improve his English.
He took on many roles until the corporate club disbanded in 1999. In 1993, he joined a second club, Whitehorse Toastmasters, in Nunawading. Daniel is currently a member of Werribee Toastmasters where he has been a past President and a past VPPR.
There are two highlights that stand out:
- Being Convention Chairperson of the 2001 Semi-Annual Convention (3-day) held in Ringwood Convention Centre.
- Achieving DTM in Brisbane North on 8th March 2004. Coincidentally, Gavin Blakey, TMI’s International President had been invited by the VPE to the club and presented Daniel with his DTM medal. A real honour for Daniel. “I was chuffed.”
He believes that attending conventions are crucial! Contests are held there, although more importantly it’s a great opportunity for meeting people, networking, and developing your skills and roles.
Advice for new Toastmasters: “Use every opportunity to do a role. As a result, you will grow and learn new things. Expand. If you don’t grow, you die inside.”
Favourite quote: “As you go through life, make this your goal. Look upon the donut and not upon the hole” – written on the wall of the Donut Café, in Melbourne in the 1960’s.
Words Of Wisdom: “Take opportunities when they come, because they may not come again.”