Date Posted... Feb 18th 2020



Tracey Pemberton CO96

From swapping university degrees and careers to challenging herself


Tracey’s very first day at Truro School was on her 13th birthday in 1991 – I was very nervous walking into Mr Hunt’s form room! She joined alongside her two brothers: Billy Chan CO97 and Phillip Chan CO02. Tracey told us that by the time she had reached Sixth Form, she was fortunate to have had several holidays in the Far East and around Europe. I had fallen in love with travelling and I thought it would be great to explore the world full-time and get paid for it. Tracey attended the School until 1996 before going on to study Travel and Tourism at the University of Herfordshire. However, during her second year there she realised she was no longer passionate about being the in industry (it was not as glamorous as I had thought) and made the decision to switch to Marketing with French.

It was this degree which led Tracey to find a job creating, developing and buying promotional merchandise and toys from the Far East. I loved it – it was so fun and I still got to travel frequently. But with the development of digital marketing and social media, I realised that it would become a very tough industry to stay in. So I sat down to analyse my strengths, passions and transferrable skills to see which direction I should look for a new career.

That is when she took the decision to change roles. Tracey is now works for 3M – a global innovation company, based in Bracknell. She explained her role to us: I am a Category Lead of Human Resources for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). It means that I support the HR function in the sourcing, procurement and delivery of their HR strategies. Projects range from how 3M ensures we find the right calibre of candidates to join our workforce, or perhaps we have roles which we need to fill temporarily, so I would look at the agencies we use and measure if they have the right fit for our needs. I would also help HR to find the right external training companies to help us grow and develop our own talent. A recent project I have just finalised is the deployment of a single payroll provider across the 51 countries of EMEA.

Outside work, Tracey is married to Andrew, who she met at university. They have three children: Kingsley (11), Poppy-Irys (9) and Liberty (4) and a hectic but happy family life. Most weekends she says, they enjoy doing something different such as visiting the Natural History Museum, cycling or some other activity. We were also impressed to learn that Tracey has set herself a challenge to walk a million metres in twelve months on top of her daily step-count.

In September 2019, I completed the 50KM Thames Path Challenge, I have also done a few more 30KM walks since then and in 2020 I’ve signed up to a few Ultra Marathons to keep me on track. When it’s horrible weather though, I do love to stay indoors and make jewellery or sew clothes.

Now that Tracey has moved away from Cornwall, she told us how much she missed the county. She even took her whole family to Cornwall two summers ago and showed them all the stunning places she frequented as a child. They loved my hometown of Falmouth, they didn’t want to leave the beach, and enjoyed exploring Pendennis Castle. I showed them Truro School as we were driving through and they were in awe at how big the place was on top of the hill! With her own son having recently started secondary school, she shared how it reminded her of what a beautiful place Truro School was – not only in its beautiful building, setting and views but also the culture at the heart of the School. Importantly also, Tracey feels that her time at School helped her to progress in later life because:

It set me on the right path to become independent and reliable – to do things for myself, discipline to hit deadlines, confidence to explore and question, ability to network and speak to people of all ages, race, cultures and backgrounds.

Finally, we asked Tracey if she was still in touch with anyone? Yes – Facebook is brilliant for that. I also meet up with Ben Martin CO96 and his family every few months or so. I also met with Zak Prior CO96 and Mike Reed CO96 at Truro School Connected – London, in October 2019. After completing the Thames Path Challenge.