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Articles > School Advancement Q&A > John Groom Q&A: Director of Advancement The Hutchins School

John Groom Q&A: Director of Advancement The Hutchins School

Get to know John Groom, Director of Advancement of The Hutchins School
6 Mar 2020
School Advancement Q&A
John Groom with his wife, Anna.
John Groom with his wife, Anna.
1. What's your role at The Hutchins School? What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m the Director of Advancement at The Hutchins School.  My role involves alumni engagement and fundraising.  I love my job and feel it is a privilege to be in the role.  Every day is different and most days I’m surprised in some way…generally in a good way!  My role is mainly externally-facing so I spend a lot of time out of the office, meeting with our community.

2. I understand you have recently moved into this role from a professional services background and from running your own company. What made you make the change?
Yes, I was on the School Council and was encouraged to apply when the role came up.  I had recently exited my start-up business and the timing was right.  I’d like to say that it was all carefully planned, but the truth is that I fell into it by accident!  With 2 boys coming to the school, it was an opportunity to play a small role in shaping the future of the school.

3. What similarities/differences are there working in education vs professional services?
To be honest, I was blown away when I transitioned into the school at just how busy everyone is.  Teachers and support staff go really hard.  I have had to adjust my style a little to fit into the staff culture but I feel blessed to be surrounded by really impressive, hard-working colleagues.
4. What are your goals for the school year? What challenges do you face?
We’ve got some aspirational goals for the year.  We are aiming to engage more comprehensively than ever before, including internationally.  Key priorities for the year include really taking advantage and getting on top of our ToucanTech implementation, running our second Giving Day and also breaking the back of our capital fundraising targets. Global factors such as Covid-19 have already impacted our plans but I’m confident we will successfully navigate those challenges. 
5. Can you tell us more about the 24 Hour Giving Day? What are some other ways Hutchins School raises money?
We held our inaugural 24-Hour Giving Day in 2019.  We raised $228K for our scholarships program by involving the whole community, including the students.  We are aiming to exceed that target this year and feel strongly that embracing digital mediums to fundraise is now an essential strategy in achieving our goals.  We also undertake traditional fundraising methods and are currently in the silent phase of a major capital campaign.

6. What are the pros and cons of working for a school with a long history? Does it make alumni outreach easier? 
We will celebrate our 175th anniversary next year so we’ve got a long and rich history to draw on.  We are one of the very early schools in our nation’s history.  Our alumni association has been around for well over a century and we’ve got over 5K alumni all around the world.  It definitely assists in outreach to have such a long history.
7. Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you do when you're not working?
I’m a dad of 3 and husband to Anna.  My weekends are consumed with kid’s sport and various family and school commitments.  We also try to get up the coast (east coast of Tasmania) to our beach shack when we can.  Very occasionally I play golf!

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