Sarah Turvill

Sarah Turvill

Sarah Turvill is the Chair of the University’s Governing Body, Council. Having graduated with a law degree from Exeter, she took her Barrister’s exams at the College of Law and joined global insurance broker Willis as an in-house lawyer in 1978.

She was instrumental in building Willis' European network as well as the Group's operations in China, Latin America, India and other high-growth markets, before rising to become Chief Executive of its international operations in 2001, and Chairman in 2006.

Sarah said that her stellar career path ranks as her proudest achievement, saying: “I think being appointed as Chief Executive of Willis's international operations, and also the first woman member of the Group Executive, are among my proudest moments. Of course, being appointed as Chair of Exeter's governing body was also something I was delighted and honoured to accept.”

Sarah has a long-standing involvement with Exeter as a member of its Alumni Network Group, with responsibility for advising the University on strengthening its ties with its international alumni and its fundraising strategy.

She said: “My advice to anyone, whatever their age or standing, is always to grab the opportunities that come your way, and don't worry that you may be stepping outside your comfort zone.

Sarah said she believed that everyone has a role to play to inspire change, which is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. She said: “To me, inspiring change means painting a compelling vision of what change will result in, and also leading by example. The people who have inspired me have been role models whom I have aspired to follow because they have done exactly that.”

Away from work, Sarah said that she finds most joy in spending time with her family, and in particular her two daughters.