Non-Linear Career Path with Daniel Woodroof

Non-Linear Career Path with Daniel Woodroof
Higher Education Alumni careers

Daniel, a KLASS alumnus of Alice Smith School from 2001 to 2014, has exemplified his entrepreneurial spirit from his early days at Alice Smith School and as a young racer to his current roles as a co-founder of Pandan Social, a boutique digital marketing agency, Newhaven Media, and RaceList, a motorsport marketplace.

Ten years have passed since Daniel was a student at Alice Smith, and he still holds dear the memories of his time. He considers himself fortunate to have attended a school with excellent facilities and an international environment, through which he made friends from all over the world. 

At Alice Smith, Daniel remembers having teachers who went above and beyond for him. Whether it was coaching after school hours, listening and guiding him and other students through challenging exam periods, or providing support, their dedication made a significant difference. As a Sixth Form student, the atmosphere became more informal, and his teachers felt like friends. He felt supported every step of his academic journey.

Daniel describes his experience at Alice Smith as; “One where I wish I could go back to”.

Daniel has always had a passion for motorsport. His family used to bond on a Sunday evening watching Formula 1 races, and this ignited his passion for racing. Daniel first got behind the wheel of a go-kart at 11 and was racing professionally by 12.

Competing internationally in countries like the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, and Macau, Daniel found it increasingly difficult to manage both his passion and academics. Many athletes give up on their academic journey, unable to find a balance between the two. Daniel is very grateful that he did not have to make such an extreme decision at such a young age.

He is grateful to Alice Smith for offering him immense flexibility with his academics. Tutors provided study materials or extra coaching, and even emailed him homework, allowing him to keep up with his studies while pursuing his racing career. This support enabled him to achieve the grades he wanted for his GCSEs. He recalls that the school was nothing but supportive.

Daniel competed in Formula 3 until he was 18, but had to stop due to financial constraints. After graduating from Alice Smith, he took a gap year to focus on motorsport but eventually had to explore alternative paths. Since then, he has been involved in training drivers.

Today, Daniel believes that the challenges he faced during this time have shaped him for the better and contributed significantly to making him the individual he is today. 

Daniel found it challenging to find a passion outside of motorsports, but he believes in embracing challenges and seizing opportunities. He explored TV hosting, serving as a racing commentator for Fox Sports, creating travel adventure documentaries for the Discovery Channel, and managing events, among other pursuits. The last ten years have been filled with unexpected twists and turns, but Daniel persevered and ultimately founded the successful digital marketing company Pandan Social. He believes in taking risks, whether in his racing career or starting a business, and making the most of every opportunity.

Daniel acknowledges the significant progress made by Alice Smith since his time as a student. He appreciates how the school now offers students more opportunities to carve out their own paths. The Higher Education & Careers Department supports an increasing number of students who choose not to pursue a traditional university degree. Daniel remains passionate about Alice Smith and hopes his children will attend the school someday. He is happy to chat with any current students interested in following a similar path. Feel free to reach out to Daniel on LinkedIn, the Pandan Social website, or Instagram.

Listen to Daniel describe his time at Alice Smith on ‘Pod on Purpose’, available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts!