The biggest, most inspiring leaders in the innovation and design space, telling their stories, raw, real and unfiltered. In short, that’s what you can expect from our new podcast, Humans of Creative.
Over the next year, we’ll be digging deep into the lives of some truly great leaders – genuine visionaries in the creative space – asking them to tell it as it happened. The ups. The downs. The life-changing journeys. The paths to success. The real stories behind real people in our industry.
In our very first episode, Dillan Leslie-Rowe, Digitalent Managing Partner and Humans of Creative co-host, takes the hot seat to share his remarkable life journey. “If we're expecting these types of people to divulge their lives and their experiences to us. We want to do the same thing,” says Dillan.
Here’s a short recap of the full episode, which includes some inspiring stories about Dillan, family life and how it shaped him, his path to Digitalent, and much, much more.
Chef, mathematician, engineer…
Like many 13-year-olds, Dillan had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. “I just remember at school, going to the career advisor. And the funny thing is, they’re asking you what you want to do with your life, with no real-life experience,” he says. Dillan chopped and changed his dreams, from chef to engineer (that was before A level maths!), thinking up jobs he thought he’d like to do. With no pressure at home. Dillan went round in circles. “My parents were not pushy at all. They treated my sister and me as adults, and they trusted us to make the right decisions.” One piece of advice always stuck with him, however. That was from his grandad. At the age of 10, he’d sat a young Dillan down and told him to “go to university” because “one day, that degree will change your life.”
It turned out to be true. The degree allowed him to go to Australia and start his life there, changing it forever.
Dabbling In Property Development
Before getting the degree that would change his life. Dillan did what many people do at 20: he shot off to Australia for a year, had the time of his life, racked up a bit of debt, and had to come home.
So, he got a job as a landscape gardener and started grafting. As the years went by, Dillan saved up a little pot of money. Around this time, those questions about his future started to creep back in. “It just made me think, ‘what am I doing with my life?” Then an opportunity arose. Out of the blue, a friend would call with an idea. Buy a house, do it up, sell, make a profit. It sounded simple, but in reality, it was a big risk.
“Neither of us had a clue how to project manage a build. We just knew we had tons of mates in the trade industry.” With no property experience whatsoever, they managed to turn the project around and make a profit of £5,000 each. For the next 12 months, they did the same thing a few more times until the property market went crazy and priced them out of making the business profitable.
Finally, university beckoned.
Jump Or Get Nowhere
Dillan’s property adventure is typical of his story. He’s never been afraid to fail. Throughout his life, he’s taken chances when they arose. He’s jumped, despite not always knowing what was waiting for him at the bottom.
For him, it’s been the root of his success. And without that attitude, he reckons he’d have stalled early in his career. “You just get nowhere in life”.
Of course, Dillan isn’t immune to failure. There have been plenty along the way. But for him, dealing with failure and, more importantly, learning from it, has ultimately made him a better leader. “No one likes to fail. I mean, it's the worst thing possible, but you learn from those things.”
Dealing with illness
A few years ago, Dillan’s life was turned on its head when his mum was diagnosed with cancer. Up until that point, he’d had a relatively easy life, he says. Dillan had never lost anyone. “You see your friends go through things here and there and you appreciate the severity of it, but you don't really relate fully until something kind of really happens to yourself.”
Download the Full Episode Now
This is only a fraction of Dillan’s story. There’s so much more, from his return to Australia to his beginnings at Digitalent to the time he ran a hockey brand.
For the rest of this truly epic debut episode, head over to your favourite streaming platform, or watch it via our site, here.