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Meet our Flinders Foundation Board: Q&A with James Blevin

FLINDERS FOUNDATION – Connect | Engage | Support
BOARD PROFILE: James Blevin, Flinders Foundation Board Member

What does your role involve as part of the Flinders Foundation?
As a Flinders Foundation Board member, I seek to support the rest of the Board and the College Executive in guiding the Foundation’s support of the wider College community.

What do you enjoy about being involved in the Flinders Foundation?
Being able to work with talented people who have the same passion and vision for Flinders.

In your view, why is the Foundation important to Flinders’ future growth?
As all primary and secondary education in Australia is not-for-profit, having a dedicated Flinders Foundation, through which parents and supporters can engage and share in the achievements of the Flinders community, is vital.

Aside from being on the Flinders Foundation, what is your link to the College community?
As a schoolboy, I played club rugby for Mountain Creek, many players of whom were Flinderians, so I got to know the College quite well through them. We also happen to have several family friends who are passionate members of the College community.

What is your career role, and why are you passionate about your job?
I am a chartered accountant and currently serve as a Senior Manager at BDO. Additionally, I have co-founded two businesses and a charity, which my wife manages full-time with the assistance of staff and volunteers. I set about attaining the chartered accountant qualification as it seemed unrivalled in terms of the variety of career roles it could afford, and I wasn’t wrong. Without it, I would be completely lost in a business sense.

How else are you involved in the wider community? Which projects or events do you support?
I am fortunate to Chair the Board of Diwa Zambezi, an African wildlife conservation charity and tour company based on the Sunshine Coast. I also regularly participate in events and have fundraised for Wishlist, Vinnies Sleepout and the Movember Foundation.

What are your hobbies or interests?
We are so fortunate to live on the Sunshine Coast and I spend a lot of time exploring our national parks and rivers. The beach is also a staple and we find ourselves at Peregian or Noosa often.

I’m also an enthusiastic traveller and, with my wife, spend part of each year guiding photographic and fishing tours to Africa.

What is your favourite book that you would recommend others read?
Choosing just one is difficult. However, ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ by Bill Bryson is difficult to go past.

What do you enjoy about living on the Sunshine Coast?
The balanced nature of it; both work and extracurricular interests are celebrated equally.

What are some of your favourite spots to visit on the Sunshine Coast?
Noosa National Park – for its beauty. And, it’s still possible to find quiet spots, especially in the off-season.
Mary River – I love exploring it on my kayak and eagerly anticipating what might be around the next bend.
Our beaches – one of the many reasons we live here.

What did you love about your schooling years?
I only completed three of my schooling years in Australia, but throughout my schooling years, I enjoyed the variety of what was on offer. Choosing my high school subjects, playing team sport and participating in extra-curricular clubs and societies with friends were all things I enjoyed, and which you struggle to find in earnest after leaving school.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Ours was a very literary and quote-friendly household, but ‘The Man in the Arena’ excerpt from one of Teddy Roosevelt’s speeches has always been a favourite. For me, it’s a great motto for every endeavour in life.

‘The Man in the Arena’ excerpt

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

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