Five minutes with Andrea Marani

Spend five minutes with Andrea Marani, COO, and find out why he’d like to live with the lions; what it means to lead from behind, and why he’s not scared of his iPhone.

What do you love about going to work?

I love the diversity of what we’re doing. No day is the same and we have such a wide range of clients, from planners to fintechs to brokers, which makes it interesting. Keeping ahead of technology change and the regulation is very challenging and I enjoy that.

What is the best career advice you’ve been given?

Someone who said to me lead from the back and let others understand that they’re in front. Being more consensus focused than dictatorial in approach, making people feel they’re part of the team, and you’re there to support them.

What advice would you offer others?

It’s would probably be to never give up. I believe you only know if someone is successful by how many times they’ve failed. Don’t fear making mistakes, have a crack. “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up,” right?

What keeps you busy outside of work?

My kids. I have three boys close together – twins 14 and my eldest 16 and they’re all heavily into sport. We (normally) shuttle from basketball to footy on the weekends. I cycle as well; I meet my little group on Saturdays or Sundays and go for a ride. I like riding because your body takes over and your mind is free to wander – the trick is remembering those great ideas till you get home and can write them down! 

What emerging technology are you excited about?

Artificial intelligence I think, purely because of the convenience it brings. I’m not too worried about who’s watching you and what they’ll do with your data, I’m pragmatic about that as “they” have so much of our data already. I really enjoy ease and convenience and sure maybe it’s a little bit scary that your phone knows your routine and suggests who you should meet up with and which way to go, but it adds a lot of convenience. We take it for granted, and sure we all used to drive and run around the cities without Google Maps, but if it all went away tomorrow most of us would not like that at all.

What book should everyone read?

A book I really like is “Outliers.” It’s a fascinating book about how you can change a few things in your child’s life that will have significant impact later on.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I love living here obviously and I loved living in my native South Africa, but it has its challenges which make things considerably tougher. Living in the bush in Kruger National Park would be amazing – my kids love it there; we always go for a week when we go back to visit family and escape all the nonsense in the cities. Ideally a split between both, say 3-4 months in Melbourne for the nice weather in summer – festivals, tennis, and the F1; three months in Kruger, and three months in northern Italy in Bologna near the rest of the family, maybe on the border with Tuscany. In these COVID times that really does sound like an impossible dream doesn’t it!

What was the best holiday you’ve ever taken?

A great holiday was a couple of years ago to Disney in Orlando. My wife’s cousins all live there, her family all came up and everyone did Disney together, then did some canoeing and spent some time in Orlando, and then I tagged on New York and LA for work. Disney is just so much fun and seeing your kids go wild is a real treat.

If you could wake up one day magically able to play any sport perfectly which would you choose and why?

I’m a big F1 and rugby fan but it would have to be soccer. It’s such a world game. When the World Cup comes around, you look at the impact of people like Ronaldo and Messi on millions of kids, it’s just amazing. Being of Italian background I’ve always supported the Azzuri and obviously also the Aussies and South Africans! For club soccer, it must be AC Milan because that’s where my Mum was born and when Bologna occasionally make it into Serie A I back them as well, because that’s the city where my Dad was born.