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Next on the blog we have Taylor Smith
Please get in touch if you wish to share your story ‘after Heriot’s’.
What is your current role?
I am currently a Director in the family company SwimEasy Ltd. which has now been operating in central Scotland for 25 years. I work closely with my mother, Gail, who is the Managing Director and as you can imagine this is both amazing and challenging at times. Coupled with this, I recently started an investment company and a small company in Singapore where we deliver baby swimming lessons and lessons for foreign workers and domestic helpers.
What was your journey to get there?
Believe it or not the journey all started at Heriot’s. In 1998 while I was attending the school my mum quit her job in advertising and started a small swimming lesson company which operated from the old Heriot’s “puddle”. I was heavily involved from the start and initially, from 16 years old, worked as a swimming teacher. It was an amazing opportunity for me and really ignited my love for education. I helped to build and grow the business throughout my years studying Applied Sport Science at the University of Edinburgh. SwimEasy now operates from multiple pools across Scotland, but sadly the Heriot’s swimming pool is no more!
In 2007 I embarked on a career in PE teaching (while continuing to help SwimEasy) and in 2009 I decided to test myself further afield. I took a gamble and moved to Shanghai, China (initially for 1 year) to work as a PE teacher and Swimming Coach at an International school. As fate would have it, I met my now wife, Lindsay after just a month in China. We stayed in Shanghai for 2 years, moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a short time before moving to Singapore in 2012 where we both worked at United World College SEA International School. Lindsay continues to lead the Grade 4 programme at the school, and I spent a wonderful decade as the Head Coach of the first UWC East Swim Programme. After the Covid-19 pandemic I decided it was time to reengage with SwimEasy on a full time basis and I now work between the UK and Singapore throughout the year but continue to be based in the Tropics. Not a bad trade off!
What are your achievements?
I was very proud to build one of the world’s most successful and famous international school swimming programmes. We won numerous international school swimming world championships and, in the process, developed many junior national team members for numerous countries around the world. At the same time, it is an honour to give back to the numerous global charities that are linked to the UWC movement.
I am also proud of my academic achievements, much of which can be attributed to the guidance at Heriot’s. As a non-academic I never believed I would achieve a Master’s degree but I am proud to boast two (although I am really unsure how they actually help!)
Personally, my life is all about my family. I have a wonderful wife and 2 fantastic children (Robert and Lyra). They make me proud every single day and I feel fortunate to continue to have incredible experiences travelling the world with them.
What are your favourite memories of Heriot’s?
Laughing, more laughing and a little bit of misbehaviour. I will be honest, many memories of Heriot’s I simply cannot share here. However, I continue to share them with my closest friends who I met at the school. Some of these friends I met in 1988. We are in contact daily (sometimes too much if I am perfectly honest) and nothing has really changed when we get together except, we all pretend to be more grown up.
Heriot’s in the 80’s and 90’s was a special place. It felt like the perfect mix of academic rigor, kindness, support and a down to earth environment.
Any top tips for current pupils when planning their future?
Choose your own path and follow passion. Life is not all about university and academics as there are many other options. Finally, the advice I would give is what I say to my own children and students. Be kind, respectful, brave and a bit tough when needed.