The concept of creating a safer environment and improving society in general has led Daniel Langelaan FCPA, CFO of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, down a very satisfying career path.
After the birth of his daughter nine years ago, Daniel Langelaan FCPA hit a turning point.
“I felt a responsibility to make the world a safer place and to create an environment where she could be the best she could be,” says the CFO of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
“It was the start of a lot of things.”
Since joining the foundation in 2012, Langelaan’s responsibilities have steadily grown to also encompass governance, strategy and information and communications technology. It’s a diverse job list that Langelaan says reflects the changing responsibilities of CFOs in recent years.
“In days gone by, the CFO would only have an opinion on financial implications of any strategic decision,” he says.
“Now, the CFO is being used for that independent opinion and different perspective. That strategic part … has probably evolved over the past five to 10 years.”
Langelaan says it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the end goal when working in an office. But recently he and his family were confronted with a personal situation that cemented the importance of organisations such as the Alcohol and Drug Foundation. Returning home from an outing, they walked in to find that an intruder had broken into their house.
The offender was sitting on the couch, wearing Langelaan’s clothes and claiming that he owned the property.
Looking for learning solutions tailored exactly to your team's needs? Find out more.
Thankfully, the situation was resolved without serious incident, but it made Langelaan reflect on the twists and turns that life can take.
More particularly, as a father he found himself thinking about the intruder’s family and the fact that, potentially, his own children could one day go down a similar path.
“So, how do I prevent that now?” he says. “I create safe environments for my kids and other people’s kids to be able to prevent them from having to go through that.”
His work with the foundation is a far cry from where he grew up milking cows and helping out on his family’s Victorian dairy farm with his seven siblings. He had originally aspired to be a vet and return to the land, but after narrowly missing out on a veterinary science university spot, he tapped into accounting.
By 27, he was CFO of a not-for-profit health fund with a A$30 million yearly turnover. Then he was headhunted for the role with the Alcohol and Drug Foundation. It was an appealing offer, because it aligned with Langelaan’s own personal shift.
“A for-benefit organisation that makes improvements to the community and society in general gives you a greater sense of satisfaction,” he says.
Along with his full-time executive role, the keen ultramarathon runner has a host of other commitments, including involvement in his children’s Little Athletics club and sitting on the audit and risk committee of Foundation for Young Australians. He also sits on two CPA Australia committees and was a founder of Melbourne’s Finance Leaders in For-Benefit Organisations.
One piece of advice
“In for-benefit organisations, it’s important for all staff to understand how the little bit that they do contributes to the bigger picture. When you connect with the people that your work is impacting, that’s the special part.”
Meet the newest C-Suite superhero: CFO