Tegan grew up at Maenporth, Falmouth, overlooking the beach – “I enjoyed watching the crashing waves during storms and was completely in awe of the power of the ocean. I always wanted to be on the beach and family life was pretty sea centred”.
Nowadays Tegan lives with her dog, Ruby, in Porkellis, having returned to Cornwall when she decided her initial uni course was not the right choice for her.
She had left Truro School in 2013 where she studied with twin sister Bethany CO13, older sister Daisy CO12 and brother, Charlie CO10.
At school Tegan discovered her competitive nature with sports day proving to be the highlight of her year. She enjoyed taking part in most school sports activities, including playing hockey and rounders with her friends. However, Tegan was most inspired by her geography teachers Mr Barnett and Mrs Wormold and one of the most memorable experiences was in 2013 when she joined the Uganda trip organised by Rev. Aubin de Gruchy. The experience had a profound impact upon Tegan which was to shape her future thinking:
“I realised that when striving to achieve our dreams and aspirations, it is important to keep in mind the best interests of society and the environment”.
Tegan also loved the art department at Truro which, although she didn’t realise it at the time, allowed her to develop mindfulness practices, something talked about a lot in recent times.
“Walking into the open room, smelling the paint and sensing the creative atmosphere, felt like a balm after the brainwork of other lessons. The art department was a place where I feel I became ‘mindful’ before I realised what mindfulness was. I think the connection I had to that creative space helped shape the work I’m doing today. As a female entrepreneur, creativity is an aspect of my life I feel I could not do without, so I’m grateful for my art lessons, where I learnt to allow my mind to imagine and design new things that weren’t part of a set structure.
But I’m most grateful for the values Truro School taught me. How to be polite and gracious (I hope) and enjoy life to the full by celebrating the successes. Truro School taught me to be true to myself, something that is summed up in the school moto: Esse Quam Videri – To be rather than seem to be – values that I hold dear and believe have helped me progress in life”.
Her love of Truro School geography lessons influenced her decision to enrol for a combined honours degree at Royal Holloway University. However, after her first year she began to doubt her choice, having by chance attended a human geography lecture on sustainable policies and initiatives. Not wishing to rush into a decision she might later regret Tegan chose to return home to Cornwall to reassess her options. Before making another decision about university, Tegan decided to broaden her experience and chose an alternative route, embarking on a sustainability consultant internship with Hilsdon Holmes Limited, a company offering advice and expertise to ensure building projects meet sustainability and low carbon requirements. She also completed a business administration diploma whilst working in a café in Falmouth.
Tegan continued working in the hospitality sector and it was this experience which highlighted what seemed to be a recurring issue in relation to waste management and sustainability practices within the industry. It was a pivotal moment for Tegan and shaped her decision to undertake a Human Geography degree at the University of Exeter, in the hope of finding a solution to the issues she had identified.
Tegan’s dissertation focused on improving waste management systems in bars and restaurants with a focus on changing human behaviour. During her research, she uncovered what appeared to be a gap in knowledge and education surrounding correct waste management procedures. It became apparent recycling waste seemed to rely largely on the personal values and beliefs of employees and highlighted a need for hospitality staff to undergo training on correct waste management procedures.
“I always had a dream that I might be able to help the world in some way, but with no clear idea of what that might entail. I only decided what I really wanted to do at 25, having experienced a little more of life and now I feel I am on the right path”.
Having graduated from her Human Geography degree, Tegan continues to work as a supervisor in a Falmouth bar which enables her to further her research by observing staff practices in relation to environmental behaviour. Her experiences and research findings have also driven her to set up her own business – Waste Warrior Solutions, providing services such as a training and an education programme to encourage positive environmental behaviours, including waste audits before and after implementation of the programme. Her end goal is to develop a digital training portal for hospitality establishments around the world. To do this she plans to film correct waste management behaviour and to deliver the full training to staff members as an online course alongside a specially designed app. Tegan hopes one day her education programme might be included in the obligatory food hygiene and safety training for all staff working in the hospitality sector.
Tegan is also working on a project developing new waste bin units to encourage and facilitate a higher rate of waste separation.
“Currently, I’m at the design stage for the prototypes and I’m hoping to have them built using recycled aluminium in time for summer”.
Advice for anyone considering a similar path:
“I’d definitely avoid a combined honours degree, if you can’t choose between two subjects, I recommend taking a year or two out before you commit, then you have time to see if a combined honours degree is what you really want or whether you should focus on one subject. For someone wanting to become an entrepreneur and develop your own business I would say the best advice I can give is to allow your thinking to remain outside the box, let your creativity override your logic. Otherwise, you may not see a gap in the market that has been overlooked by others”.
Is there anything from your time at Truro School which you have taken forward?
“Everything, the tradition, friends and the ethos, are things I will value forever. The feeling of truly being part of something that is supportive, positive and encouraging is very important and certainly shaped my personal values. The lessons I learnt at Truro School encouraged me to strive to be a more considerate, gracious person whilst also inspiring my dreams, passions and determination.
Then of course there are the friendships: I am still in contact with many of my Truro School friends including Flora Nash CO13, all the girls from the hockey team and Ed Smit CO13”.
Her love of the ocean continues, and Tegan enjoys surfing which she tried for the first time at 16. As a Geographer at heart, she also has a passion for travel and experiencing different cultures, but she is mindful to try and do this whilst also considering the environment. To this end she is learning to sail and gaining experience, in the hope of one day sailing around the world, with an all-girl crew which will include her twin sister Bethany.