Old Andreans at SACS - Richard Hansen (OA2003)
Friday, 3 March 2023

As part of the series where we profile Old Andreans we caught up with Richard Hansen (OA2003) who is the SACS Alumni Relations Manager.  

What is your role at SACS? 

I am the Alumni Relations Manager here. I work in the Community Engagement team and look after the Alumni programme in partnership with the OAA (Old Andreans Association). Running social media, tracking down Old Andreans, organising reunions and other events – getting people generally excited about coming back to SACS. I also support plenty of other Community initiatives – welcome events, gala dinners, giving days, trivia nights etc. No two days are the same, its great!  

What motivated you to come back to SACS?  

Well until last year I was living in the UK, after ten years working as a freelance opera singer, I decided to change career so I could spend more time with my family. At one point I think I was away from home roughly 300 nights a year which isn’t ideal. I retrained as journalist, worked as a local news reporter and taught journalism for a while in the UK. My wife and I then decided to move back to Australia once the border reopened post-COVID and I saw SACS were hiring someone who was an Alumni with experience in media and communications – I hoped I would fit the bill, and it seems that I have! 

Oh wow, a career change – that must have been an interesting journey. 

Yeah, it was! I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the opera industry, and I can absolutely credit my time at SACS as a big steppingstone – particularly my time in the Cathedral Choir. The decision to change direction was also partially due to COVID, in March 2020 I lost about 90% of my year’s performing work in one week! It was a fairly difficult time.  

Thankfully I’ve managed to find something which I find equally fulfilling and I can spend more time with my family while I do it.  

What was it like for you going to SACS?  

I absolutely enjoyed it. Especially the provision of music and performance opportunities along with the caring nature of the place. The fact Mr Heath knew every one of us by name blew my mind! I moved here from New Zealand when I was 15 so did Year 10-12 when we had girls in the Senior College and found SACS a much better fit than my boys only school in Wellington which was hugely into rugby and not a lot else!  

So what was the naughtiest thing you did at school?  

Well, I would be lying if I didn’t say there weren’t a few “unexplained absences” in Year 12 but probably the naughtiest thing I did was the way I managed to sort myself free parking in St Andrew’s House for the good part of a year.  

I was in the Cathedral Choir and whenever we had a wedding or a special event or something you would be given a little voucher to exit the carpark for free. You’d just fill in the date and time and hand it to the person at the barrier who would let you out. I photocopied a bunch of these tickets and managed to drive to School a LOT and not pay a cent!  

How has being an Old Andrean affected your role here?  

Well working in Alumni Engagement, it’s not essential that you went to the School where you work but it absolutely helps! I’m able to bring a lot of institutional memory to the role and it made it easier to understand the culture of the place before I began. A lot of my job is building relationships and there are still people here who were around 20 years ago when I left – a few teachers, some fellow Alumni who are now on staff along with a few other stakeholders. It is very useful to not have to build these relationships up from nothing.    

What else do you do when you’re not working?  

Well, I still keep my toe in the choral world and sing in a few different Sydney ensembles, but most of my time is focused on my family. My evenings and weekends are more often than not spent with my wife Anna and my two children – Matthew who is 5 and Lucy who is 2. Who knows, maybe they’ll become Old Andreans one day!