THIS week’s High Flyer is David Allister, head of digital partnerships and alliances at Danske Bank.
What was your first job?
My first job was as an 11-year-old working in a menswear shop in Lisburn and I continued to work in menswear part-time until I completed my degree. I often reflect on the skills and business acumen it taught me, and the ability to communicate with people. This is important in my current role managing the Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a business studies degree, a postgraduate in marketing, financial planning qualifications and recently finished a postgraduate certificate in digital leadership with Ulster University. I believe in continuous education.
What do you attribute your success to?
A positive mental attitude. I am also a huge advocate of Northern Ireland and believe that what we’re doing working with start-up entrepreneurs at Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub can make a difference in creating the jobs of tomorrow. We have a huge opportunity to make Northern Ireland a centre of tech excellence on the worldwide stage.
How would you describe yourself?
Direct, genuine, trustworthy, typically looking for the best in all situations.
Who do you look up to in Business?
Bill Gates, philanthropist.
How do you get the best out of your people?
Empowerment, and completely trusting them to reach their goals.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland what would it be??
I think we occasionally set our sights too low. But that is changing, and many of the start-ups we work with at Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub have global aspirations.
What website or app could you not do without?
The new Danske Bank mobile app. I also spend a lot of time on thehub.io – our free online platform to help connect startups with talent, investors and useful tools and resources that will help them overcome some of the challenges of scaling up.
What was the last book you read?
Michael Caine’s biography ‘Don’t Blow the Bloody Doors Off’ and ‘Good or God’ by John Bevere.
What car do you drive?
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I married my childhood sweetheart, Karen. Our daughter, Hope, who will be 21 this year, is a young lady born with special needs and the boss of the family home. We spent a lot of time in Great Ormond St Hospital for the first few years of her life so it’s a charity close to our hearts. Our son, Sam is 13 and typically needs Dad’s taxi service for various sporting pursuits at the weekends.
I’m passionate about ensuring people from all backgrounds and of abilities get opportunities in business.
What’s your greatest passion outside of work and family?
I enjoy playing golf at the best two courses in Ireland, Belvoir Park Golf Club and Royal Portrush. I also play the drums, a pastime from my student days when I was in a band ‘The Men from Nowhere’ and today as part of the Lisburn Cathedral Worship team.