From bricklaying in the US and bus driving in Australia to teaching in England, and now working as a Trust professional in Guernsey, my career journey has been riddled with unexpected turns and endless lessons. 

With a love for science, I headed to university at 18 excited to study biology and chemistry. I joined just three other students on the course, and one by one they each fell away, leaving me as the last man standing. Seemingly, a course with just one student didn’t feature heavily in scheduling decisions and subsequent timetable clashes and endless administrative complications marred my university experience. 

As disillusionment in my own studies loomed large, I found solace in sharing knowledge with others. In chatting with my flatmates and friends about interesting things I had learned, a hidden passion for teaching surfaced. For me, teaching is not about throwing facts at people, it is about sparking curiosity and finding engaging ways to present information. 

My own disappointing educational experience propelled me toward a career dedicated to ensuring others wouldn’t endure the same trials. Teaching was a culmination of technical expertise, planning, being adaptable to changing circumstances and finding solutions when challenges arise – a skillset which I have come to find aligns closely with private client service. 

I thrived as a teacher, becoming Deputy Head of Year and then a mentor. However, in the thick of it, I would stew over lessons, reflecting on what I could have done better and not believing that I was making a difference. So, when an opportunity arose for my then girlfriend, now wife, to spend time travelling in Australia in a modified 4x4 I felt ready for a new adventure. 

Although my label at the time was “Teacher”, I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself. So, with no mechanical experience, and the help of tutorial online videos, I upgraded the suspension, fitted a water tank with an operating pump, wired up a fridge and installed a snorkel for driving through deep water. 

Our seven-month trip was a testament to “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. For example, when driving down a remote road in the Outback, we took exceptional care over the rocky terrain only to puncture a tyre on what must have been the only rusty nail for miles around. 

It was this experience that taught me that, despite all the best will in the world, it is the situation you don’t plan for that will often be the one you end up facing. It’s a lesson I have carried with me into the trust industry, where we are poised to look for challenges that the client may not have foreseen and taking steps to mitigate risks. 

We were in Australia when the Covid-19 Pandemic took hold – another unforeseen circumstance. My wife, who is a psychiatrist, was granted a special visa to support the ongoing demand for services, however it meant moving every six-weeks, so a teaching role became an impossibility for me. Instead, I worked remotely for a London-based start-up. 

We knew we wanted to return to Guernsey upon the expiry of her visa, so I also took time to undertake the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment certificate, with the expectation that I would likely take up a role in finance on returning to the island. 

The qualification had a section on Trusts, which felt – and has proven to be – incredibly varied and interesting. Upon starting at Saffery Trust, I quickly learned that the role encompassed what I loved about teaching, while giving me opportunities to learn and progress, and to create my own career path. 

I also found myself aligned with the firm’s core values, and that my ethos was similar to the firm’s attitude towards client service. Over the course of my – somewhat unusual – route into trust and company services, I have been unwavering my belief that none of us should limit ourselves with labels. 

You may see your primary role as a doctor or lawyer or mother or father, but we all wear multiple hats.  I have found the same is true of our clients, who may be labelled by their career or their family heritage but have broad ranges of interest and an appetite to explore new opportunities. 

Time and time again, I have seen the benefits of tailoring services to meet client needs. If my journey to Saffery Trust is proof of anything, it’s that adaptability is not only a strength, it’s a necessity and I am grateful to see it in action daily.