We have reconnected with Paul Jans, Class of 1986, who has recently been appointed to the role of Assistant Director: Business Services for Catholic Education Ballarat (CEB). We have asked Paul a couple of questions about his life journey, professional achievements and school memories.
Where has life taken you since leaving CRC?
After completing Year 12, I briefly worked in banking before moving into accountancy while studying Business at university. I completed study as a CPA and moved to Ballarat, where soon after I married Michelle, the love of my life. Together we have six children; two daughters and four sons, now aged between 23 and 12. During this time, my career activity has spanned both the private and public sectors, working in a number of accountancy practices and a law firm, and managing corporate services and finance for the Department of Human services, Grampians Region. I’ve previously been Business Manager for the Diocese of Ballarat, and most recently I worked as Business Manager for Damascus College for the past 13 and a half years. I enjoy and find meaning in contributing within the not-for-profit sector, and am keen to commence as Assistant Director, Business Services for Catholic Education Ballarat and do my part, along with many others, to help build on the work of 200 years of Catholic Education in Australia.
What are your fondest memories of your time at the College?
One fun memory is from art class, where a couple of us had the opportunity to head out to fix some of the stained-glass windows at St Patrick’s church, down the road from the school. We’d head down to the hardware store and spend half the time trying to convince the glazier to donate off-cuts of stained glass they could spare so that we could use them for the repairs. We would cry poor and he would tell us that the red stained glass actually had gold in it so he couldn’t just give it away. We never quite believed him, but according to a quick google search as I write this, it sounds like he was correct. We would then be up on ladders with bits of cut glass and soldering irons, trying to fix things. The last time I was at St Patrick’s some years ago, fortunately or otherwise, some of the mismatched colours in the windows were still there.
Which teacher from your time at CRC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
That would be Mr Lawrie Ragg, my accounting teacher. My decision to do accounting was last minute, in the sense that I hadn’t completed the prerequisite Year 11 study prior to wanting to pick it up in Year 12. To his credit, and to the benefit of myself and my twin brother, Lawrie supported us through a crash course over the summer holidays, where we completed the Year 11 requirements so we could undertake the Year 12 curriculum. Had he not been prepared to go the extra mile when he didn’t have to, my life would most likely have taken a different road. I owe Lawrie a debt of gratitude, and it reinforced to me the value of doing more than is expected and bringing the best of you to your work.
How has your time at CRC shaped your personal values, your career choice and your family life?
Undoubtedly, I and many others have benefited from the holistic education that CRC provides in developing all aspects of the individual. This in turn provides a solid basis for shaping good contributors to work, family and community life. This approach was also well supported by family life growing up on a dairy farm, where lessons of hard work, taking responsibility, being adaptable, having faith and being a good steward were very evident. Now seeing my own children as the recipients of the same Catholic education and watching them make their contributions, I’m appreciative of the Catholic school and system that continues its work in making people’s lives, their families’ lives, and the life of their community better today, tomorrow and into the future.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
While it certainly sounds cliché, it would be to make the most of the opportunities presented to you, noting Edison who said, “opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. At school you have staff, family and community who support you and want the best for you, and a world that needs your unique contribution. Lean into this support, and with a good education and trust in God, you have everything you need for a meaningful life.
We congratulate Paul on his new role and look forward to working with him as part of the CEB team.