Where are they Now – Mark Thompson (OH ’82)

As the Class of 1982 gears up for its 40 year reunion tonight, we check in on one of its graduating class members Mark Thompson.

Mark Thompson (OH ’82), started his early secondary years at Brighton, was solid academically, a handy contributor to the tennis teams (Captain of the First VIII) and was also a House Prefect of Allen house. Interesting to note, Mark also occasionally had some encounters with the school marshall following some mischievous activities with fellow classmates.

Following graduation, Mark secured his Bachelor of Business and entered the world of stockbroking where he ended up as trader on the stock exchange floor and bumped into another ’82 graduate on the floor in Jamie Taylor. Following a stint working in business information and producing articles and listing for BRW, Mark authored and published a book on fundraising ideas and social functions for sporting and not for profits. After varying marketing and sales management related roles in large corporations, Mark now consults to companies on growing revenue and optimising their sales strategies largely through the application of data and business intelligence.

However, it’s Mark’s work and involvement away from corporate world that sparked some interest to the OHA.

Over 15 years ago, Mark helped formalise a club called The Carji Club (named after Edward Carji Greeves of Geelong FC) which had around 30 members at the time and became President for the next 10 years. The Club was a group of like minded individuals who followed the AFL and came together each year for a competition based on the Brownlow Medal culminating in a lunch at the MCG end of the year. The Club follows some basic principles in footy fellowship, frivolity and charitable outcomes. The Carji Club now boasts over 380 members (with a wait list), have had 15 Brownlow Medalists attend (Skilton, Murray, Roberts, Smith, Bedford, Judd, Riccuito,, Dipper to name a few)  and various innovations along the way with a Team of the Year, winners jacket, customised medal and trophy. Importantly, the Club has raised over $200k in the past years for various charities which are nominated by the attending medalist. One highlight was securing the CEO of the AFL to open one of the years luncheon and announce the winners. Interestingly, a few ’82 graduates are also members of the Club including Paul Jury, Darren Scammell, Dale Corrigan and Michael Scott.

In addition to establishing the Carji Club, Mark was contacted some 15 years ago by Scott Doran, courtesy of a reference by Andrew Brown, to help re-establish Old Haileybury’s participation in an annual APS Past Students Lawn Bowls Day. It had been almost 20 years since Old Haileybury had played and won in this annual event and Scott was seeking someone who had lawn bowls experience to help. Mark assisted Scott in pulling a team together to compete against all the other major APS schools in that first year. Whilst the team was filled it predominantly with past or existing students, it became apparent very quickly that the other competing teams were more experienced campaigners on the greens with Old Haileybury finishing last in its first returning year to the competition. Gradually Mark recruited more and more experienced bowlers through his network at various clubs such as Bentleigh, Cheltenham, Albert Park and each year the team progressed a position up the ladder. In the past 4 years, Old Haileybury has finished runner up and very close to taking its first trophy since 1989, maybe 2022 will be the year!

However, for Mark there was a bigger vision for the Old Haileybury Bowls Club (OHBC) than just a one off game each year. Mark had discussed with Russell Davidson and the OHA over the years the opportunity to create an Old Haileybury Bowls Club with its own identity, participating in Bowls Victoria sanctioned night or day pennant competitions, runnings its own club championships and aligning with an existing bowls club so it had a home to practice and play. The idea was also that this Club could serve as a pathway for Haileybury’s school lawn bowlers, where Mark had helped coach the school team for a number of years. Towards the end of 2021 thanks to the work of Mark, Jim & Andrew Bonwick , Russell Davidson and the OHA, the Old Haileybury Bowls Club established a formal affiliation with the Cheltenham Bowls Club and OHBC is now participating in Tuesday night pennant matches. Tuesday night pennant whilst competitive is still social with lots of fun and libation over the evening. The 12 a man side has had over 20 different OHA players participating and the team currently is sitting in 4th place and aiming to play finals in its first year in the competition. Cheltenham Bowls Club chairman has already observed that OHBC could put another team in Tuesday night next season which would crystallise the vision Mark had some years ago and the Club continues seek interest interest for players to join that team.

Outside of work, sport and Mark’s not for profit ventures, Mark is committed to his family, wife Helen along with their children son Riley (OH 2019) and 26 year old daughter Jaimee.

#stayconnected #oha #alumni

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