Featured Donor Profiles

Trevor Blake
Global MBA, 1993

In 2003 Trevor met George Rathmann, founder and CEO of Amgen and ICOS in the lobby of the Woodmark. He planned to discuss a unique business plan for the world’s first fully virtual pharmaceutical company. Rathmann’s sage-like advice was “You don’t know what business you are in until you get into the business. Just start and work it out from there.” It was the best piece of business advice Trevor ever received, and since then he has taken it to heart by starting, building and selling two unique companies, each for over $100 million.

Trevor credits his entrepreneurial spirit and success to three things he learned as a teenager in a hardscrabble life in Liverpool and North Wales. He drew inspiration from his mother’s long term battle with cancer, a story described in his New York Times bestseller, Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life. He says “That was the first time I saw what unshakeable belief looked like, and now whenever someone tells me my business ideas are crazy and impossible, I conjure up the image of her steely gaze. Then I take Rathmann’s advice and just start it anyway.”

Like Conrad Hilton's 'Be my Guest' written in 1957, Trevor's book stands out from the multitude of self-help and entrepreneurship books because he is writing from his own experience.  His intrinsic motivation took him first to Royal Naval College (where he was one of only 6 recruits from 200 who graduated) and then to Durham to complete an MBA while working as a sales manager. He credits his MBA for giving him a broader understanding of how different functions of a company have to integrate for success. “So many startups run into early cash flow issues because they hire functional leaders too soon. Having a broader understanding of functions gives the entrepreneur confidence to lead several or all functions in the early phase of growth. About a quarter of the MBA students at Durham were entrepreneurs with their own businesses. I learned a lot from talking to them and used it to develop a virtual business model for my first company which went on to become the top grossing non-employer business in the US.”  

The MBA enabled him to fulfil his ambition to move to the USA where he founded QOL Medical LLC, a company focused on solutions for rare diseases. He went on to found ANU, a joint venture with a Chinese company, which develops low side-effect cancer drugs, including the leading cancer compound AD1, named after his mother, Audrey Dawick. In 2011 he co-founded Kalvi Medical.

Trevor currently runs a companion webinar at www.physicsofsuccess.net which teaches the scientific principles behind Three Simple Steps. He has also recently signed a deal to produce a movie based on aspects of Three Simple Steps.