Old Boy Dr James Fielding ’04 today used his Foundation Day address to encourage students to practise gratitude and respect as they transition from the classroom to a career.
Dr Fielding, the founder and CEO of ASX-listed hearing health company Audeara, was the guest speaker at BGS Foundation Day, an annual event held each February since the establishment of the School, in 1868.
He spoke directly to the boys about his own experience at school assemblies, confessing he never felt overawed by guest speakers.
The confidence instilled in him by being at Brisbane Grammar School, Dr Fielding explained, allowed him to listen to their advice and think, I could do that.
“There are very few things in life that are worth doing that you, sitting here, cannot do,” he said.
“The two things that I’ve learned over my journey – from leaving this wonderful school to trying to take on the world in my own way – are gratitude and respect.”
During his time at BGS, Dr Fielding served as a School Prefect and played for the Rugby First XV, before being awarded the AJ Mason Scholarship to study at The University of Queensland.
One of the main lessons he took from BGS was to value the input of colleagues and peers.
Through gratitude and respect, Dr Fielding told the boys, “you’ll see that it takes more than just your own hard work; you need to understand the value of the people around you”.
As the CEO of a global company, Dr Fielding described how working in other countries helped him understand and value cultural differences.
“Here [at BGS], you have the chance to live that every single day, because there are people from all around the world; people from amazing cultures; people with different skills who excel in different ways,” he said.
“Once you graduate and you’re out in the wider world, you’ll notice the privilege and the opportunity that living in this kind of world gives you to communicate with other people.”
To that end, Dr Fielding reminded the boys of the enduring value of understanding people – even in the age of artificial intelligence.
“The robots will win, and it will be amazing. But it is people that are going to be making the decisions, and it is people that are going to be choosing what we do.
“So you need to have gratitude for the opportunity that you have, and you need to have respect for the people around you, so that you can work with them to do all of the amazing things that you’re more than capable of doing.”
BGS Foundation Day was attended by members of the Board of Trustees, parents, staff, students and Old Boys including 2022 School Captain Hamish Moss.