Trevor Saving (Class of 1974)

Tell us what you do for a living?
I recently retired from the Chief Operations and People Officer role at Arsenal Football Club and now act as an Executive Advisor for them, with specific focus on the Women’s Team.
Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing after you left school?
I had no idea what I wanted to do. It was a flip of the coin between university and the army. The army got lucky.
What’s been your inspiration – what’s pulled you forwards and into your current role?
I am pretty self-motivated and clear on what I want in a  job. I chose jobs based on whether I could learn every day and be able to make a difference. Money was secondary.
What would you say is your biggest achievement to date, the thing you’re most proud of? Professionally or personally!
On the professional front, hiring and mentoring young people who went on to have successful careers. I have always believed that young people are capable of doing more than we think. My daughters are always confirming that.
Was there a particular teacher, or a moment at school that particularly inspired you?
Jim Robertson gave me my love of history and Graham Collis pushed me to be my best on the sports fields. George Embleton saw the best in everyone.
How important do you think your school days were in shaping who you are today?
School was very important. Looking back, it was a home from home. I learnt to win and lose in the right way, when to be an individual and when to be part of a team and that having fun in life is really important. I also had the opportunity to lead teams which I have always subsequently enjoyed doing.
What’s your work:life balance like? How important is that to you?
Today my work-life balance is great! Working in professional sport and US companies demands 24-7 commitment. I put family and work ahead of myself and felt burnt out occasionally, but if you want to lead you need to be prepared to make some personal sacrifices.
What advice would you give to today’s students who may be struggling to choose which path to take beyond school?
If you are not sure what you want to do, don’t worry – just try stuff until you find something you love doing. It may take a few false starts, but people who work at what they love have more fun in life.
Finally, do you have a favourite quote, expression or mantra which inspires you to keep going?
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or the gazelle-when the sun comes up you’d better be running.” (Christopher McDougall, Born to Run)

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