1 March 2024

Lead with Compassion – David Donninger

Almost all of our firm’s partners have shared their success stories, generously revealing key career moments and pivotal personal crossroads that have shaped them into the leaders they now are.

Today, David Donninger, our firm’s HR Partner and head of our Statutory Compliance service line, provides our next partner success story. As far back as being a university student, he knew he wanted to eventually join a professional accounting firm and climb his way to the top. Much appreciated by our staff, David is the tenacious champion of our firm’s most precious resource –our people. 

“It gives me great pleasure seeing MGI Bass Gordon’s staff develop and grow, achieving everything they desire careerwise. Knowing that I’ve directly impacted their success in some small way, deepens my own sense of success.”

Further reflecting on his greatest success at MGI Bass Gordon, he added, “I like to think that I don’t have just one, but many successes.”

We asked David the following poignant questions, taking a deeper dive into the life of a man dedicated to serving others:

How do you handle setbacks or staff mistakes? 
We’re all human, prone to mistakes. I never lose my temper with staff. I first seek to understand how the mistake happened, then immediately collaborate on finding the best solution.

How does this help you ensure you get closer to your department’s overall success?
My team is not afraid to brainstorm and attempt solutions, even if this means making mistakes. They are secure in my fairness – and knowing that their mistakes will merely be viewed as powerful learning opportunities.

In terms of missing the mark with a client, if ever, how do you approach this challenge?
Transparency, honesty, and full disclosure are key. We then advise the client how we’re going to correct the mistake. Following through is the final golden step.

What is your next big goal at MGI Bass Gordon? 
Building a bigger Statutory Compliance team. There is huge potential to build our Statutory Compliance client base considering the new regulations. I’m wholly confident that our dream team has the knowledge and experience to expertly assist individuals, companies, and trusts to achieve perfect compliance. We’ll measure the success of reaching this goal with an increased headcount and increased client base.

What is the main thing you learn from your competition?
One of the main reasons that new clients choose us is because of poor service they receive from their existing professionals. This drives home how crucial service delivery is.

What advice would you give someone in the light of failure?
Just stay positive and never give up. Persevere. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to do something – the important thing is to keep on going, ready to pivot where needed.

What is the most challenging part of being an HR leader?
Hearing about the personal challenges that people are dealing with and knowing what advice to give. It is a deeply challenging undertaking emotionally, but at the end of the day hugely rewarding to be an agent of change in this way.

Probing on the more personal front, we brought our interview to a close with David openhandedly answering the following:

What is your personal definition of success?
Achieving the goals you set out to achieve.

In terms of dealing with people, what are your top three personality traits?

  • Respect – By actively seeking to understand each staff member’s individuality, I encourage them to do their best.
  • Honesty – This ensures everyone knows what is expected of them and where they stand.
  • Empathy – Everyone is going through something, and people don’t ultimately set out to fail. Keeping this in mind helps me understand why people perform at the levels they do.

How do you celebrate your successes?
Adverse to the spotlight, I celebrate my personal successes by giving myself a quiet ‘pat on the back’. When it comes to the team, I share thorough feedback with them, celebrating them for their contributions.

To explore more about MGI Bass Gordon as a firm and the vast range of services we offer our clients, please visit our website