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If David Tensen were a coffee blend, you’d say he was of nutty European origin with strong tones of curiosity and creativity. After a few minutes together, you’d notice a surprising aroma of empathy, openness and professionalism.
Years in Business
Years on Earth
David Tensen is passionate about helping individuals, families and organisations thrive.
He brings together a unique fusion of experience across business, leadership, creativity, emotional health and spiritual development. David and wife Natalie have three children and live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.
David is a PhD Candidate, specialising in Organisational Management and Change and has over 25 years experience in the workplace, specialising in non-for-profit organisations. Read more and resume
Today, when he’s researching or working as an Aged Care Chaplain, David spends his time writing, volunteering, playing boardgames, collecting typewriters and spending time with family and friends.
David’s Working Timeline
Over the Years
Retail and the real marketplace
At 14, I started working with my dad on the weekend markets in Victoria selling car parts and hardware.
Hustle and humble beginnings
I left school at 16 to establish and cleaning supply business with my father. I cut my teeth on the hard grind of founding a SME. I built the first online store in the Australian Cleaning Industry. Today, my sister runs Tensens Cleaning Supplies, a multi-million dollar industry supplier.
Y2K and the Tech Boom
My love for tech and the allure of the tech boom brought to work at several IT wholesale firms. I worked in sales and was ranked the #1 Jnr Sales person, selling over half a million dollars in custom PCs in my first year.
Satellites and Dutch Callers
I spent a couple of years working for an International Maritime Satellite service provider in Australia. Xantic was the lovechild of Australian telco Telstra and Dutch telco KPM. As a service centre operator I was able to apply my language and tech skills to help people at sea.
I had been volunteering as a Board Member and music director at my local Church in Queensland. When the church expanded into providing Government funded community services, they were looking for a business manger. I jumped at the opportunity to work with community in a faith-based environment.
For fun, flexibility, and funds needed to move overseas, I contracted to an organisation delivering workshops to high school students on the benefits of becoming an entreprenuer. I travelled all over Queensland and into NT teaching kids that carving out a path to starting your own business was an option after school.
My wife, 18-month old daughter and I moved to Tokyo to help with an International Church. With my experience in media and website development, I established their media department and were the first church in Tokyo uploading their bilingual services to the web. I was also made manager of the Business English school attached to the church, where I taught and managed a team providing lessons to companies like ING and G.E. in Tokyo.
A Humble Return Home
Although our VISA was extended and approved, we moved home to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland to have our second child. We had sold up and sold out to move to Tokyo and didn’t have much at 30 except a world of experience, deep friends and love for Asia. A friend gave me a job at his local IGA supermarket where I oversaw marketing and promotion.
In an attempt to increase profits, I suggested we make the most of supermarket shoppers waiting at checkouts by installing digital signage. The concept grew rapidly into a state-wide Start Up called LOEX – short for Local Exposure. The supermarket owner sought funds and sites, as general manager I managed the advertisers, tech, sales staff etc. Things were looking promising until the GFC hit Australia and the company was closed. (People didn’t want to spend money on advertising)
The Web Guy
As funds from the startup dwindled I returned to my craft of web design and marketing. I had run WordPress sites for years and after joining a few local business networks I was able to recover some losses and build a good clientele of new and repeating customers, specialising in real-estate agents.
I was hired as a manager for a small RTO delivering IT training to remote communities across Queensland. This role involved creating training material, overseeing course delivery, establishing remote classrooms, marketing and delivering block training. The RTO has since ceased business.
The traumatic birth of our 3rd child in 2010 and some serious questions around my faith had led me to search for answers and relief. I had enrolled in an Elijah House prayer ministry course and found myself fascinated by the modality and community of volunteers running the programs. Within a year, I found myself as General Manager of the non-profit, overseeing several staff and around 200 volunteers across Australia. It’s hard to put into words what a life changing and difficult experience this was.
A Heart for Leaders
My years at managing Elijah House while also working as an Advanced Pastoral Care worker at my local church, opened numerous opportunities to help church workers, particularly pastors. I gained a reputation for getting results and before long was being flown across Australia and Asia Pacific teaching teams, preaching to congregations and providing personal trauma-informed therapy and help to leaders, pastors and their families. Natalie and I founded my own non-profit charity, LeaderHeart, to serve those in need. We created material, courses and I was even commissioned to write a book for fathers in China.
Mastery and Mystery
The years of pouring out and travelling took its toll. I was suffering with compassion fatigue and nearing burnout. I decided to cease travel and move LeaderHeart’s offering online. My exposure to so many organisations also sparked my interest in leadership and management theory so I enrolled University of New England and completed a Bachelor in Organisational Leadership, gaining high grades. I also began contracting part-time as a chaplain and Leadership Development and Training lead at a global faith-based tech organisation, CV Global. It was during these years I much of what I had learned and experience over the past 20 years consolidated. I describe this as a dance between mastery and mystery.
A Side of Poetry
iDuring my recovery and discovery, I came across a podcast featuring poet and philosopher David Whyte. I was struck by the power of his words and within days found myself filling pages of my journal with poems. Poetry became a wonderful way for me to consolidate all that I’d experienced. I began sharing my poems on social media and before long they found their way in front of best selling authors who begged me to put them into a book. I went on to write and publish The Wrestle which sold very well across the world, and short after So I Wrote You a Poem. Combining my business, therapy and poetry experience, I founded Poetry Chapel which shows aspiring poets how to write and publsh their own collection. This 5 -month immersive experience will have published 3 anthologies by 2022 and is now hosted by well-known poets.
For the Love of Research
After completing my Under Grad, I wanted to keep studying and researching. I found a supervisor and started a HDR pathway towards a PhD, gaining a Class 1 Honours Degree for my research thesis titled: “Exploring the impact of an organisational restructure in a regional Queensland hospital”. My grading was awarded 2022 – I am currently considering PhD or Mphil study options.
Like a Swiss Army Knife
I spent much of this season moving between many spaces including book publishing, mentoring, pastoral care, charity work, marketing work and assisting start-ups.
To Study and Support
I gained a 3-year PhD scholarship at UniSC researching in their business school, focusing on organisational management and change.
I also gained work serving as a part-time Chaplain at an Aged Care facility.
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