Before Cranleigh I was at Cranleigh! Both my brother and I were pupils at the Prep and Senior Schools, and following my A-levels I went on to do a Gap Year at St Edmund’s, Hindhead, followed by an English Literature degree at York University. My time at York got me interested in running events, and I was lucky enough to secure a job at Dulwich College a few months after I left university, in their newly created Conference and Banqueting department. I was at Dulwich for eight and a half years, latterly heading up both their Catering and Events departments.
If I was being completely honest, there were probably two key factors that brought me to Cranleigh. It was half because I was missing the countryside and needed a change from running events, and half the fault of the previous Headmaster, Guy Waller, who had an infectious love of Cranleigh. I had not been back to the School since I had left in 1997, and a rather random letter to him got me an invitation to come and see the many changes he had made to the place since I had left as a pupil. He reminded me what a special place Cranleigh is and re-connected me with the School; a few months later I applied for a remodelled position of Deputy Bursar here.
I returned in June 2009, so am in my eleventh year working for the School. I can’t really fathom where that time has gone, and during it I have met and married my wife, Kathryn, and we have had two children together… so exciting times for the Schools have been matched with equally exciting times for me personally.
“What do you do at work, Daddy?” is something that my two boys ask me a lot! Put simply, I’m not sure as no day has ever been the same and my role is very varied and it evolves as the needs of the Schools change. I think “anything and everything” would be a pretty good description, but the closest commercial role that would get close to what I do is an operations manager, as I am responsible for most of the day to day operational departments of the Schools that don’t involve teaching. Added in for good measure are some of the potentially less glamorous bits required to keep us going – things like insurance, compliance, health and safety, and security.
What I like most about the community is the people. They are what make working here special and they are our greatest asset bar none. I am incredibly lucky with the team of line managers I have on the support side of the School, and they all bring expertise to the table which I do not have, from which the Schools benefit immensely. No less important, and in addition to the excellent teaching staff, we have in the region of 250 people working here keeping the Schools’ bursarial support running, all of whom I care about. Managing people in an environment that is compassionate and friendly yet still professional and fair is not always straightforward, but it is the most important thing that I try and do here. My main worry is that I will never be good enough at saying thank you to the right people – those people that have a tendency to go unnoticed in the busyness of the place but who are loyal, hard-working and excellent at what they do day-in, day-out. Those are the people that you miss when they are no longer beavering away in the background!