The grass is not always greener: why staying with one employer can be a smart move

The grass is not always greener: why staying with one employer can be a smart move

Having worked for one of the UK’s best-known companies for 18 years, Neil Trinnaman is quick to extol the advantages of staying with one employer.

A former School Captain under Eamonn Harris, he cherishes happy memories of his days at QE and highlights the impact his Headmaster had on the School and on him – including giving him a lifelong love of drinking tea!

Neil (OE 1991–1997) is a Senior Pharmacy Manager in Boots’ Digital Healthcare Programme and lives in Nottingham, where the health, beauty and pharmacy chain’s headquarters is based. He has worked for the company throughout his entire career to date.

“So why Boots for 18 years? Whilst it is popular to move companies frequently, with many believing that ‘the grass is greener’, working for a large company like Boots has given me great opportunity, with a great variation of roles, without the need to do this. I have been able to move to several different areas of the business, gaining experience of all its aspects, and along the way I have visited all corners of the UK, meeting with many great suppliers and discussing ways to partner with the NHS.

“What gets me out of bed every day and keeps me working for Boots is that whilst it is a commercial organisation, there is a real purpose beyond profit that unites the team, helping people feel better each day.”

Eamonn Harris was Neil’s Headmaster throughout his time at QE, while Mr Harris’s successor as Head, Dr John Marincowitz, was his Head of Sixth Form.

“I was part of Broughton and took part in all the activities that School had to offer, including music (trumpet – unfortunately I don’t play anymore!) and sport, where I loved athletics and playing rugby; I have enjoyed the game ever since. Two sports teachers stand out: Mr [Robert] Relton (who co-incidentally was the Headteacher two years ago for a school my sister taught at in Abu Dhabi!) and Mr [David] Maughan. They were both great teachers in their inimitable way. I always remember the warm-ups – having to do 20 press ups and sit-ups at each corner of the pitch, and if you were too slow running around the pitch, Mr Maughan often repeating: ‘What are you waiting for – a stab in the back?’. That, and of course the infamous cross-country runs and the classic elephant dip that every QE boy will remember!”

He also remembers Mr Chandler – “a great inspiration for Design, and I remember taking part in a national competition with his support, coming in the top ten in the country”. He also recalls Mr [Colin] Price, praising his “great calmness and simple way of explaining maths which I benefitted from”.

Then, he says, there was Mr Harris: “Undoubtedly a great headteacher. The one thing that really sticks in my mind was his presence around the School. He didn’t have to say a lot for pupils to know he was there and for them to behave, as he was clear about what was expected of them – impeccable behaviour and demonstrating clear and adult responsibility as being part of the School.

“One of his trademarks was in assembly each morning. With the usual buzz of everyone talking, the prefects would try to hush the crowd, usually unsuccessfully. Mr Harris would never have to come in and shout or usher silence. Instead, he would walk in and sit at the table at the front and then wait and watch. Inevitably, it never took long for silence to follow, as no one dared to continue with their conversation knowing that he was watching.

“I don’t think I have ever since seen anyone hold an audience in the way that he did. And when he did speak, he spoke with real passion about the ethics of how a school should be run, which was jointly admired by parents – certainly one of the clinching reasons for my parents choosing to send me to QE.”

A particularly strong personal memory is of the day he was invited by Eamonn Harris to be the 1996 School Captain. “I remember it for a few reasons. I was nervous, having been summoned to his office unaware of the appointment, and then of course being immensely proud when he asked me to take up the position. But I also remember that he asked me what I wanted to drink when I entered the office, the choice being ‘tea or coffee’. I didn’t drink either, but being too nervous to refuse, or to ask for anything different, I went for what I thought was the lesser of the two dislikes and had tea. From that day, I have drunk it and it has continued to be a favourite ever since! “

Following QE, Neil went to Bath University for four years, successfully obtaining a Business Management degree. He undertook two work placements during the course. One of them was for Boots in Nottingham, where he was offered a permanent role. It was also there that he met his wife-to-be, Toni. “Two good reasons to return to Nottingham!”

He spent the first part of his time with Boots within the company’s extensive supply chain, working in a number of different roles in warehouse management, category management and in “significant supply-chain change programmes.

“During the second half, I have worked within Pharmacy, from store operations, to leading the running of our hospital pharmacies, to leading our electronic prescriptions growth agenda and now, as a senior business lead for Boots, leading our digital transformation at a really exciting and pivotal time for Pharmacy. Last year the programme that I am leading won Cross Functional Team of the Year, which was a really proud moment.

“In an industry that has seen relatively small changes in the last few decades and with the NHS consistently under pressure from an ageing population, Boots are perfectly placed to shape and create a new healthcare model, particularly with digital developments. This should fundamentally mean that customers and patients will receive better care in the future, whether this is preventative or curative, in a more cost-effective and convenient way.

“Outside of work, I have lived in Nottingham since I left university and have been married to Toni, my amazing wife, for nearly 15 years and have two incredible kids, Ralf, 11, and Lois who is nearly nine. We are a tight-knit and loving family and have spent many happy years together, recently extending our house to create a lovely family home. We all love music and holidays, travelling to as many different places as possible. Our favourite has been Italy, although fortunately we haven’t booked a holiday this year, given all that is going on.

“I still love sport and this has always been a big part in my life. I played rugby and football for many years, until recently where my knee has decided enough is enough! Recently, it has largely been watching and following the kids, getting involved in their activities. However I do still like to keep fit and have continued to run (not because of the cross-country at school!) and have run two London marathons in the last few years and a number of half-marathons, as well as completing a London-to-Paris bike ride.”

Neil also manages to keep up with a group of School friends a couple of times a year: “As Alex Gilbert has suggested, this is the group named the ‘QE exiles’ and has been going for many years! It is great to catch up over a drink when I am down in London and to see the variety of jobs that everyone is doing. It’s good that we live close enough to be able to do this on a regular basis, although not as regular as I would like.”