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After All the Changes That Have Happened in His Life, Trevor Reynolds '87 is Happier Now Than Ever Before

By Kenneth Stratton '19 THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2019 - 12:00 PM WNE100
  • Trevor Reynolds '87 (right) at the "Life’s a Drag… Let’s Do Brunch" Event

In 1983, his father told him that he would attend Post College in Waterbury, Connecticut to study accounting. Everything sounded like it was planned out for him. But, for perhaps the first time and certainly not the last, Trevor Reynolds ’87 took control over the direction of his life and made a different decision.

Today, Reynolds is a 28-year veteran at Cigna, and he is preparing to marry his partner of 18 plus years, Michael Morgan. He says that his career is slowing down, but he is happier now than ever before, as he is looking forward to spending more time with their one-year-old granddaughter and family.

To get to this point was a long, interesting journey, which began with that decision in 1983 to convince his father that he should attend Western New England College instead.

“I remember pulling into the campus and it hit me: this is the place,” Reynolds recalled thinking during his first visit to Western New England. He hadn’t planned on visiting the College, but skipped school for the day to tag along with a friend who was touring. “It felt so much like home, like I belonged there,” Reynolds said.

For the next few years, Reynolds found himself challenged in the classroom, and on the stage, where he was involved with Stageless Players. Lucky enough to be cast in four productions, Reynolds remembers it as one of the most rewarding experiences of his college career.

“It really helped me come out of my shell and become a performer,” Reynolds said. “We were a wonderfully diverse family, with so many different backgrounds and talents, I learned so much,” he added.

After graduation, Reynolds started work as an accountant at The Hartford, and thanked the Career Development Center at Western New England for helping him land the job.

“If it wasn’t for their help and coaching, I wouldn’t have gotten my first job and probably not the next either,” Reynolds said of Career Development. That next job would be at Cigna, but before he even bothered applying, he reached out to those resources on campus for tweaks to his resume.

The accounting major explains the career he’s had at Cigna as happening in three phases. He first started in Finance, working on what was meant to be a 2-3 year job, but turned into an 11 year opportunity allowing him to pivot from accounting to IT. As his work on automation and mainframe programming progressed, Reynolds tried to stay on top of technology’s rapid pace of change. But after 11 years, his job disappeared.

“I always said if you automate yourself out of a job, you did a good job,” Reynolds said, thinking back on the change positively. And so his second phase at Cigna began, where he went into Underwriting to work in the Process Improvement area of the company.

“I could take data from pretty much anywhere in any format, put it together and create something my customers could use,” Reynolds said. “It was a very rewarding time, but after 8 years, there was a change in management and direction of the area, and I could see it was time to move on,” he explained. So for the last nine years, Reynolds has been in the third phase of his career at Cigna, back in Finance with another Process Improvement team.

“I am very fortunate that for the most part I have had a job I enjoy walking into every day and have a group of people I love working with,” said Reynolds. “I have been blessed with a great time here at Cigna,” he added.

Outside of his professional work, Reynolds spends a lot of time active in the LGBTQ community. His coming out was, as he describes it, “interesting;” being a father to an adopted child, and a husband twice, all the while struggling with his sexuality before coming out around twenty years ago.

“There weren’t GSAs in my day,” Reynolds said, referring to the Gender and Sexuality Alliance that exists on campus today. “We just had to work through it. Maybe if there were, things would have been different, but then again I wouldn’t be who I am now,” he added.

In 2001, Reynolds joined the Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut, where he and Morgan have helped raise over $35,000 for local nonprofits. In 2013, he and Morgan were chosen as Emperor and Empress, leading fundraising for the year. During their reign, they broke every attendance and fundraising record in the organization’s history. For the past 12 years, they’ve hosted the annual “Life’s a Drag… Let’s Do Brunch” event, which this year is benefiting The Connecticut Breast Health Initiative.

“Through the Imperial Court I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people,” Reynolds said. These have included a witness to the Stonewall riots 50 years ago, and Jose Saria, the first openly gay man to run for public office, among others. “I’ve learned so much from these people and so many more. If I am able to take what I’ve learned and share that with other people and they walk away knowing more, I know I’ve done good,” he concluded.

Reynolds has certainly gone through a number of changes throughout the course of his life, but in full control of its direction, he maintains that he is happier now than ever before.

“I’m very grateful for everything I have,” Reynolds concluded.