Do you have some favourite memories of your time at CGS?
I have so many interesting and great memories from CGS. I really was into music and it was great to have so many options from Concert Band to Symphonic Orchestra. I think the best music day was when the Girls’ School was integrated and we combined the orchestras and finally got to pull together an amazingly talented group. It really changed everything and we got to play much more challenging music.
Is there a particular teacher that stands out to you from your time at School?
The teacher that influenced me the most was likely Tim Norfolk. He was my English teacher in Second Form (Year 8) when I returned to CGS after a year at Geelong Grammar School. He really pushed me to think and learn. Also, Walter Hine was fabulous as a French teacher. I remember him cooking a steak on a candle for Bastille Day. It was so funny.
What advice do you wish someone had given you when you were still at School?
To not take everything so seriously. School was really intense, and we didn’t have a whole lot of free time to actually enjoy life. I wish I’d realized that there was a world outside of Red Hill.
If you could change anything about your School experience what would it be?
Have a better integrated technology program. CGS in the 80s and 90s really didn’t embrace computers and was a laggard. I’m pleased that things are improving now, but there’s still a long way to go.
Where has life taken you since you finished School at CGS?
To the US and to Technology Startups. I’ve been very lucky to explore all different aspects of tech – from Banking Software to Mobile Email. It’s been a wild ride, with an IPO, two company sales, and another IPO on the way. My last few years at Google were really an amazing experience, and something that I think many people would love.
At the same time, I was incredibly lucky to meet my wife Yuriko who has been my fantastic companion and support. Three years ago we had twins – Luke and Leah – and I can say that being a dad trumps any success that I’ve had in my career.
You have been very successful in your career. What advice would you give to students looking to pursue a career in the technology sector?
Do what you love! Lots of pressure exists at CGS and other schools to get into university and do subjects that are ‘difficult’ or ‘prestigious’ like law or medicine. But if you don’t actually like that, don’t do it. You need to remember that you will be working for 30+ years after college, and you probably want to have some fun and joy in that. Don’t just do the hardest thing at university because it shows how “smart you are”, choose subjects that stimulate and challenge you. You will be a better student and have a better life as a result.
You fund a science and technology scholarship at the School. Why is this something that you consider important?
There’s a lot of potential for students that want to excel in technology. CGS has been great at rewarding artists, musicians and general academics, but the new economy is powered by tech. Having a scholarship that pushes students in that direction is great for them and great for the world.