As the year draws to a close and many of our schools retire for a well-earned break, I wanted to thank our staff, schools and partners and reflect on the year that is coming to a close.
In 2019 we saw a huge number of changes across the group. We welcomed hundreds of new schools to the Compass family across Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Canada, and opened new offices in Dublin, Sydney, Wagga Wagga and Brisbane, with the announcement of our new offices in Melbourne and Perth due early next year.
We undertook comprehensive privacy and security assessments, and achieved the highest level of compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) as Level 1 service providers, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to meet and exceed data security protection standards for our schools and end users.
Within the company we have made significant investments, with a focus on analytics, improved parent communication and experiences, the mobile app and an updated brand and logo. We have welcomed over 40 new members of staff and are rolling out a new scrum-based customer-focused approach for our projects and future modules and enhancements.
I am very proud of the work our team and management has undertaken and am excited for what 2020 holds, especially because I believe we are very fortunate to work in such a fantastic industry, supporting an incredibly important sector — education.
In my experience, the education sector is dominated less by individuals motivated by money, ladder climbing or corporate growth than by those whose primary focus is helping others. In my role, I have been very fortunate to meet many people who demonstrate this humbling characteristic. Last month, I attended the funeral of my friend and principal of Richmond High School, Colin Simpson. The town hall was packed with those mourning Colin, and as I listened to the amazing stories about the impact one education leader had had on the lives of so many, my belief was only further solidified.
Education is truly unique.
It is made up of leaders, teachers and support staff who believe in the benefits of excellent and accessible learning. It provides us with knowledge of the world around us and enables us to create something better. It offers us a perspective on life. It helps us to form our own opinions as unique individuals, to facilitate change in our communities, and to help others. In short, it is what makes progress possible, both for individuals and more generally as a society.
As a company we are not only very fortunate to operate at the intersection of the IT and education sectors, we are uniquely positioned to be strong advocates for benefits of the larger start-up/scale-up information technology space.
More than that, we can be proud of our ethics. We do not sell data to third parties or support marketing agencies in mining personal information for profit. We don’t make money through exploiting addictions like gambling, drinking, smoking or manufacturing unhealthy food. Further, unlike many highly profitable export businesses in Australia, we don’t engage in short term, non-sustainable opportunities, for example mining or natural resource exploitation.
We are part of a number of successful, sustainable Australian export businesses. We design and develop software that is used to support education in school communities around our country and the world. Software that brings parents and carers, students, teachers and schools closer together and seeks to improve day-to-day operations.
Accordingly, I see our role as not only developing the very best platform we can, but promoting and supporting both the education sector and the long-term economic benefits of the information technology start-up scene.
Thank you for your support and work in helping us make Compass — I look forward to continuing to receive your feedback and suggestions to guide our company and product roadmap.