Trina is a well-respected business owner of the L & M Group of Companies and an experienced, qualified non-executive director with a background in training, education, sport, employment, retail and governance (BHMS, GMQ, FAICD JP (Qual)).
Trina’s business interests are located on the both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and Wollongong. Highly sought after for both her business and governance acumen, she is on the board of TAFE Qld, is the past Chair and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Gold Coast committee. She is also Chair of Arcadia College, Ohana for Youth and the Spot Academy, Trina sits on the board of The Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame and Sports Gold Coast. Trina co- founded Women in Power to mentor other women and is a member of the Qld Government’s Mentoring for Growth.
Trina’s volunteering has seen accolades as an Outstanding Volunteer to the Indigenous Community and has received a 20 year Leadership Award from the City of Gold Coast. She is an avid advocate for youth education and development and Gold Coast sport and business.
What boards do you currently sit on?
TAFE Qld, Ohana for Youth, Arcadia College, The Spot Academy, Sports Gold Coast, Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame, OZ Esport
When and why did you decide to become a director?
I was part of a member organisation that had a vacancy for a director, I was 38 and was the youngest and first female to be appointed. It was part of the industry I was involved with so wanted to contribute to the direction of the organisation with a specific focus on succession planning and youth development.
What are your short and medium-term board aspirations?
I am very pleased with my current portfolio, it is diverse in turnover, complexity and industry. I am looking for one more position in a medium to large private or Government organisation.
Outline your career background.
I have had a diverse career background which I believe assists in sitting on boards where you have to adapt to and learn new industries. My career has taken me from tourism in North Qld, to primary industry supply in country WA, retail, wholesale and rental industries. I have owned and operated my own businesses for over 25 years. Unlike many board members I have not taken the corporate route to the boardroom, however the skills in operating your own business are invaluable in the boardroom. I am also a firm believer in lifelong learning which has involved university, post graduate studies, governance training and most recently my Justice of the Peace qualification.
Touch on the challenges and hurdles that have presented themselves, either being on or getting onto a board, and how you overcame them?
Getting on the first board is probably the most challenging. I undertook my AICD qualifications to ensure I had the knowledge to undertake the position. My first board was an all-male, older, established board that did not take too kindly to having a young female invade their ranks and they made their opinions known from day 1. My first chairman introduced himself and then proceeded to ask me to make him a cup of tea! It didn’t happen. Since then I have Chaired all male boards, been on diverse boards and can honestly say that times have definitely started to change. It is still a challenge to obtain that first board position, persevere, educate and network.
Are there any directors/leaders you look up to? Why?
I think Andrea Staines does a great job, she went after the positions she wanted in a very strategic manner and has been rewarded with great positions and recent accolades, she is also a fellow Gold Coaster and we do have our own challenges with perception issues. Adrienne Ward from Gladstone is also a standout, she currently chairs Gladstone Airports and is on the Gladstone Port Authority, Adrienne has a very distinct understated style and I had the pleasure of sitting on a board with her for some years- she taught me many valuable lessons, particularly when dealing with Government.
Have you had mentors and sponsors and how have they helped you in your career?
My father was a great influence, he also ran his own company and sat on a variety of boards. He taught me the value of contributing outside of your own industry and to embrace diversity of thought. His biggest lesson was in treating everyone equally, I have a great memory of him paying me to go and talk to a Federal MP who was sitting at an adjoining table at a function- I would have been about 19 - I was mortified! He said that he is just a person as are we, as are the cleaners and waiters, go and talk to him and tell him how you feel about his recent decision that has affected you. I did, he listened, and it taught me such a wonderful lesson that I hope I have passed on successfully to my 3 sons.
What is the diversity (gender & other) like on your boards? If you sit on a mix of diverse and non-diverse boards, what differences have you noticed?
Most of my current boards have a great diversity, not just of gender but of thought. There is nothing better than being intellectually challenged at a board meeting where you respect the opinions of your peers. Of course, there are still those that still need work and that takes time and influence both internally and externally.
How did WOB help you in your journey to the boardroom?
I met with WOB many, many years ago when I started this journey. They opened my eyes to the possibilities that my skills could be used in different industries. They assisted with my initial CV and have stayed in contact over the years – sending through possible board matches and offering continued education. I have always been proud to be an early adopter of WOB and recommend them to prospective board members.
Any tips for women starting out in their career?
Get educated, I can’t stress enough the need to have the right governance skills. Network- tell people you are actively looking for board positions. Don’t shy away from NFP Boards, there are many large and complex NFP entities with great boards. Smaller NFPs are a great start to your board career. It won’t come quickly or easily, but it is worth the determination and perseverance.