Taking curiosity to the next level

RichTwitterPic11We spoke to Richard Strom, class of 2000, about his life path after St. John’s. (Read the full story in the spring 2018 issue of ROAR – at http://stjohns.be/downloads)

What do you currently do?
I’m a Strategic Sales Director. That means I’m responsible for managing the  commercial relationship with some of our largest global customers including
BBC, Burberry, Premier League, British Airways, Lego, the Olympics and Opel/Vauxhall.

Ultimately it’s my job to keep and grow our customers. Spredfast is a social media technology company that gives companies the tools to plan, manage, organize, respond to, report on, analyze and gain insights from all social media networks in one central place. We work with over 600 of the world’s largest organizations, and it’s a fun, dynamic and young environment.

How did St. John’s prepare you for adulthood?
There are so many ways that St. John’s prepared me for future life that I’ll struggle to include them all here. We take for granted growing up in international
schools that everyone is as curious and accepting of different cultures as we are. The curiosity that is instilled in us by motivated, intelligent teachers and by being forced to meet new people with interesting, different backgrounds stands us in good stead for the rest of our lives. The incredible extra-curricular activities we are exposed to from sports, to theatre to model UN, to math clubs gives us a very rounded personality and the ability to interact with lots of different people. I also think St. John’s instilled a healthy balance between competitiveness and the pursuit of continuous improvement,  with a sense that you can only do your best and that you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously. Finally, I believe the IB is probably one of the most difficult but rewarding things I have ever had to do, especially given how challenging it is, how important it is and how relatively young one still is.

What did you learn at St. John’s that has proven helpful in your career?                     As mentioned above, I think one of the best things a person can be is curious, and throughout the activities and lessons we learned at St. John’s we were encouraged to be curious. This may be because we were put in so many different situations to test ourselves and learn. I also generally realized that there is more than one way to look at any situation, especially as we were forced to understand other people who were different and came from different backgrounds than ourselves.

What advice do you have for current St. John’s students with big dreams?
Be yourself, be infinitely curious, be patient and work harder than
anyone else.