A chat with David Solomon

September 26, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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David Solomon has recently been appointed the CEO of the Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University.

David Solomon

Clive Donner, Federal Chairman of AFTAU said: “As AFTAU positions itself for an exciting future, we were looking for an enthusiastic and proactive fundraising professional with a commercial approach, who can think strategically, build relationships and deliver results. David fit that bill perfectly.”

J-Wire asked David Solomon about the appointment.

J-Wire: What is your business background that led you to this role?

David Solomon: I have a pretty broad range of experience in industry, the not-for-profit sector and communal organisations. This includes 15 years inside and consulting to/coaching entrepreneurs and corporates. I have personally launched a number of successful start-ups, and have spent a further 15 years in international executive search, executive recruitment and running a human resource outsourcing business.

However, in the last four years, I shifted my focus into the not-for-profit sector with an emphasis on philanthropy. This is because of my strong drive to contribute to making the world a better place (Tikkun Olam). I can do this best in a purpose-driven organisation with which I resonate. Prior to this role, I spent three years as National Philanthropy Executive for Australian Red Cross.

J-Wire: Why the Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University?

David Solomon: I am very excited to be working with AFTAU. I feel a tremendous alignment with the Tel Aviv University objectives of pursuing the next big idea, the next challenge, the next mystery that will advance human knowledge and improve all of our lives.

Coupling that with 13 years on the Board of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, it means I have an inherent understanding of the role of AFTAU to serve as a dynamic bridge between two inspired communities — Australian and Israeli.

And the fact that Tel Aviv University is such an exceptional multi-disciplinary university dovetails beautifully into my holistic approach to life.

J-Wire: What will be the biggest challenge in this role?

David Solomon: The current challenges with all travel due to Covid restrictions – local, domestic and international – make things a bit interesting, however, I don’t see that as a long-term issue.

I know it sounds a bit trite, but I always endeavour to reposition “challenges” as “opportunities” and to ask many questions such as; What is really behind this? What can we learn from this scenario? How can we go around/under/over the blockage? Is this a signal to try another approach? And so on.

J-Wire: Your name is very familiar? Why is that?

David Solomon: There is no doubt there are a good number of people with the same name in our community, indeed, around the world! However, many people will know me from my days with the AICC, other communal organisations and in my “second life” as a singer and actor. (I played the role of Tevye in Moriah College’s productions of Fiddler on the Roof in 1994 and 2018.)

J-Wire: What do you do in your spare time?

David Solomon: Family is my primary driver and I have been married for nearly 38 years. My wife and I have 3 adult children living here and overseas and 1 grandchild. Also, a dog, who is another child of course!

I also love all manner of sports, science fiction, personal development, current affairs and when I have the time, gardening and cooking.

Australian AFTAU is the Federal representative entity for AFTAU in Australia. Its role is to lead the promotion of Tel Aviv University in Australia generating support, funds and opportunities that will advance the University. It is strongly supported by state-based committees of active volunteers.

AFTAU provides scholarships for financially underprivileged Israeli students, direct support of research within TAU, collaborative research between TAU and Australian Universities and Corporations.

Founded in 1956, Tel Aviv University (TAU) is Israel’s largest and most comprehensive institution of higher learning and research. It offers 125 schools and departments across the spectrum of sciences, humanities and arts; Israel’s biggest biomedical research and teaching complex; and 128 research centres.  The university leads the nation in the number and impact of research publications and was ranked eighth in the world and first outside the USA in terms in an international index of entrepreneurs in 2020.

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