What do I want to do with my life? Who do I want to be? Do the SATs matter? What about dating? These are all questions in the minds of middle schoolers at any given time. How they make sense of them or even answer them is difficult to say. Eric Taylor ’04, our Hilly Chase speaker on March 30, came in and shared some of his thoughts about life, career, and even love with our students.
While he was at Eaglebrook he was a Water Polo player, a swimmer, and wrote for the Hearth
. After Eaglebrook he continued to Exeter and then Harvard. After working in finance for large firms, Eric went into business for himself. He is now the founder, CEO, and CIO of Trident
, a private equity firm focused on buying and selling small businesses. One of Trident’s mottos is “Doing well while doing good,” and the firm is committed to finding investment opportunities by removing inherent bias.
Taylor is also the son of Eric Taylor ’77, and as he said to the students, “Eaglebrook was an almost mythical place for me because my dad went here,” and yet he knew almost nothing about it before he came as a student in the eighth grade.
One of the first hurdles Taylor encountered at Eaglebrook was in athletics. Coming from southern Texas, Eric considered himself a great soccer player. However, the competition among his classmates was real, and Eric quickly realized that he was not going to make the number one team. He also made a big decision to transition from basketball, his father’s legacy sport, to swimming. More importantly, he had to call his father to tell him that he would not be playing basketball. “The transition from basketball to swimming was the first time I made a decision on my own. When I talk to parents, faculty, or students about Eaglebrook, I think one of the real magical pieces of this school is that it gives you the opportunity, maybe for one of the first time in your lives, to make really critical decisions that will help inspire and guide you for the rest of your life.”
The format for Taylor’s talk was interactive, he gave the students an introduction of himself and what he is doing now, but then invited them to ask questions – about anything. He even had a list of questions to prompt the students. The kids took him up on his invitation and asked away. Some questions were about finance, some were about how he got from his major in Social Studies at Harvard to doing what he does now, and yes, the dating question came up. The night could have gone on for a long time with students picking Eric’s brain.
So maybe some kids had their “big” questions answered that night, and maybe listening to Eric Taylor’s talk sparked even more questions for them. One thought he left the students with was, “You are in a position today to build an agenda for yourself to start setting the culture of what you want to do and who you want to be.”