Staff Profile: Julian Hickman

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Chief Financial Officer Julian Hickman.

Natalie Kozhemiakin, Writer

Recently, The Gator sat down with new Chief Financial Officer Julian Hickman to learn more about his experience as a new staff member, as well as his work budgeting amidst a pandemic.

What was your experience as a new staff member during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Being a new staff member and adjusting to a new workplace amidst COVID-19 was very challenging at first. Since everyone was introduced as a little bubble on a screen, I found it difficult to get to know everyone and their roles without seeing them in-person and in action. As soon as I started to do more work regarding COVID, however, it was really great. I got to work with so many people such as the division heads, teachers, and both the maintenance and kitchen team—everybody that I most likely would not get the opportunity to work with over the normal course of my summer.

I was able to get a lot of exposure and a great amount of hands-on work with other staff members and built some really great relationships in the process. In some ways, among the “mad dash” to get the School reopened over the summer, it was a good experience.

What is some of the work that you have been doing at Brimmer thus far?

My entire summer was spent figuring out how to budget with COVID-19 and buying necessary equipment like hand-washing stations and individual desks. This included getting our air conditioning systems retrofitted so that students are breathing in fresh air. With these purchases, I worked on keeping the budget in line and the Board of Trustees up to date on what we were spending it on. Additionally, I built a plan for the School’s reopening and figured out ways to set up weekly COVID-19 testing. 

Once the school year started and we got comfortable with the way COVID was going, I was able to get back to the more normal, pre-COVID CFO duties. This has included a lot of working with a new bank and familiarizing myself with the Board of Trustees. Luckily, I am starting to feel that things are slightly shifting back to normal this year, and I now spend most of my time building up the budget for the next school year and figuring out what the school will be spending money on over the summer.

What has it been like to manage the weekly COVID-19 testing?

The most challenging part of the process is getting everyone to complete their test on time. It took a lot of work with the testing company to get up to speed and teach us how the testing process should be carried out. As you may imagine, it has to be carried out in a particular process: confirming names and birth dates, getting the test tubes in the right place, handing them over on time and waiting for results to come back. It involved a ton of administrative work at first, but now that we have been testing for so long, it is a pretty well-oiled machine. Now, I enjoy my drive over to Cambridge every night to drop the tests off. The whole process feels much more smooth, and I am confident knowing that it is going very well.

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

I have a little baby, Olivia, who was born in the leap year of 2020, so she is about to be one year old. My wife and I have been quarantined and locked inside with her, and it has been so much fun. Any time outside of Brimmer is spent changing diapers, feeding her, and watching her grow each day. Despite not being able to do much of anything fun outside, I have enjoyed all of the time that I have gotten to spend with her.