Sarah Tarrant (1987 – 1990)

Alumna, Sarah Tarrant

Sarah admits that she didn’t do wonderfully at school. However, she has a valuable story to tell…

“It’s easy to get distracted at school, especially when you reach the age when you start to notice others! When I was young, in my future I wanted to be a police woman or I dreamt of having my own catering company, you name it. I didn’t realise my potential at this stage unfortunately so I guess I didn’t see what was in it for me when I was in high school.

“I moved to Southampton at the ripe old age of 19, and I thought I knew it all. A black bin liner full of clothes and £60 to last me until I got a job. I used to bike to college twice a week to do my secretarial qualifications as I knew I needed to start somewhere.

“I think if you have the right personality and you are accountable, you go a long way.

“I first started working for the Marine Safety Agency and then went on to work for Siemans as a secretary; big companies and a great learning platform for me. I joined Yellow Pages as a receptionist, and at around the age of 21 I was promoted to Personnel Assistant. There I was working in a large corporate advertisingcompany where my development was taken seriously. It was there that the lightbulb went on. People, I like people, I’m good with people, I want to work with people in this organisation, not numbers or adverts. At the age of 25 I was a Personnel Officer and was earning good money, as well as making the most of the benefits. There were not many 25 year olds driving around in a brand new sports car. I was on a roll, I was building credibility and I went back to university to do an HR (Human Resources) degree in my own time.

“By the time I was 28 I was an HR Manager, a trained Life and Executive Coach with the Henley Management College and was particularly driven to make a difference. No one made me do this, I just wanted to better myself and have additional skills which made me more employable.

“Today I am a Leadership Development Manager for a large oil and gas company – I look after the high potentials and facilitate their development… a great job, and I feel very privileged to do this for such an amazing company.

“Had I have listened to my French teacher who, at the time, gave me a bad school report when I was 14 years old, I would have been held back, so instead I wanted to prove people wrong. There is a dangerous perception of ones self if you hold yourself back from stepping out of your comfort zone and as they say, everyone, of whatever age and circumstance, is capable of self-transformation. You may not see it at school, but unlocked and untapped, you also have the potential.

“Anyone can change their intelligence, personality, thoughts, and behaviours. The real question is “will you?” A great book called “Mindset” by Dweck points out that “people often like the things that work against their growth… there is tremendous risk in leaving what one does well to attempt to master something new.” Everyone loves the magic that lies within them; their strengths and talents that effortlessly yield amazing results.

“To combat this natural tendency to favour the magic over the art one must:

  1. Believe in human development and constantly try to improve.
  2. Surround yourself with people that challenge you to grow.
  3. Look squarely at your mistakes and deficiencies.
  4. Proceed with confidence, grounded in facts, not fantasies, about your talents.

“Success does not have an expiration date either. I am still learning and I coach others to be more self aware, grow in confidence and change their behaviours to be more successful in their businesses. It can happen at any age, but you only get out what you put in. Think big, be accountable and when it feels uncomfortable, keep moving.”

Our congratulations go to Sarah on her success, and we wish her every good wish for the future.

May 2015

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