Where are they now - John Sutherland (SPC 1985-88)
author: Lorrie Liston
The College recently reconnected with John Sutherland (SPC 1985-88) who thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to renew old friendships at his Class of 1988 30-Year Reunion earlier this year.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
After boarding for four years, I have been able to live in a few countries and then resettle in Melbourne about 15 years ago. I worked for a couple of years after leaving school simply for an income before studying travel and tourism. After a year and a half working in the wholesale side of travel, I was posted to Los Angeles with Jetset Holidays where I initially set up a reservations department and then worked on developing product for the North American market. This involved a lot of travel through Asia and the South Pacific negotiating with hotels and tour operators etc, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I then lived in Vietnam tour guiding through South East Asia for 2.5 years, which was incredible before moving to Tokyo where I worked in financial recruitment for three years. This was a great time as well. I then moved back to Melbourne in 2004 where I married my now wife of 14 years. We have two boys who are aged 12 and 10 and are very happily settled in Melbourne. We purchased a supermarket on our return to Melbourne, which we ran for nine years before selling it. I recently set up a document destruction company called The Onsite Shredding Company, which I am now very busy introducing to the Australian market.
What are your career aspirations?
Now, my aspirations are to get my newest company up and running in Victoria before hopefully being able to introduce it across Australia.
What are your favourite memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
Boarding for four years genuinely provided hundreds of memories, many of them we tell time and time again over a beer. I can’t categorise a favourite, but I think looking back, it is the amount of laughing we did in the boarding house and in the schoolyard. We had good guys in the years above and below us and our year was a great a year. The day boys, helping us get out on weekends, to various pubs and parties are good memories too.
If I had to sum it all up in to a memory it would be the camaraderie of St Pat’s. You felt like you were part of something you were proud of and that led to strong bonds.
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
I remember the teachers very fondly for the most part. Jane Arundel who taught me accounting has had a huge impact in my life. She was a great teacher, I never enjoyed maths and she taught me how to use the numbers in front of you and not worry about outcomes etc until you have followed simple processes. I’ve used it in business ever since. Br Tom Kearney also had a big impact on me. He took a lot of time with a lot of students and gave sage advice. He was a great conversationalist in a very unassuming way and was very happy to discuss a wide range of topics.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
I don’t really know, I always had to cram homework and assignments and now I have everything done long before it has to be done, so maybe it shaped me to learn the value of preparation and completion?
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
I’ve enjoyed travelling professionally and privately however I’ve always said going to St Patrick’s was the best thing I’ve ever done. I was at St Kevin’s beforehand and living in Melbourne so going to boarding school and meeting mates from all over the State and beyond was great. Long weekends and holidays on farms and getting to understand country Victoria was mind blowing for me and I still get to the country or the coast as often as possible. So the values of country life and towns run strong in my boys now.
I would tell the boys of St Patrick’s that never again will everyone in your life be dedicated to your education and development, so milk it. Enjoy the fact you can be involved in all facets of the College and work hard enough to be able to enjoy yourself.