In honor of International Women’s Day, I took the opportunity to learn more about the President of Genius Avenue, Trina Thompson. Since I’ve started at this company, she’s been someone that I look up to for her quick wit, work ethic, and fierceness.
Facts about Trina:
- Born and raised in Montana with one younger brother
- Started out wanting to become a professional musician but changed directions pretty quick and never looked back
- Met her husband of 19 years in high school
- Has 3 children, an oldest daughter and two younger sons
- Has been influential in upper management at large brands like American Express in customer experience and customer engagement capacities.
Tell me a little bit about influential women in your life:
“My mom. She has this zest and love of life regardless of whether you’re in charge of taking out the trash or planning a birthday or going to work. She also has such a diverse knowledge of so many topics. She reads all the time, like 40 books a week. She is just one of those kind, warm, and fair people. My brother is disabled and my mom is a nurse so she takes responsibility as a mom and a nurse so well.”
“But other than that, I get inspiration from everyone I meet even if I’m not fond of the whole person. I look at people male or female and learn from them. I seek that. Yesterday I learned from a cashier who didn’t have two hands.”
At this point in the interview, Trina told me what she found inspirational from me and a few other employees. That’s the type of leader that she is. It was pretty powerful on the international day of women to have the president of my company tell me what she finds inspirational about me.
What is it like being the president of a company?
“It’s weird but it’s great. You get to look at yourself and know what you can do and the value that you bring. I’m not big into titles although some people are. [Being a president] is all about how you can disrupt an industry, touch all aspects of the business and influence all the people involved in the business. People build it up [meaning the title, president] but its more about being passionate and connected in the industry. It requires both strategic and tactical skills.”
What are some books you turn to for inspiration?
“I like a lot of weird genres. The first one that comes to mind is “Seat of the soul” by Gary Zukav. It was all about being connected to your whole person and I found it very influential to my life. I also find inspiration from other different books like Shel Silverstein’s books. These types of books shape who you are…
Although I love to read, I don’t have much time to do so. So, I’m really into movies with my children. I’m seeing a lot more of them as a mom. We just recently saw Lion which I highly recommend. It was all about the perseverance of people, the importance of focus, and the strength of the human spirit. It’s been a long time since a movie has touched me like that. Highly recommend.”
What are some pieces of advice you have for other women leaders or aspiring women leaders?
“Find yourself. Be yourself and that’s cool. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or someone that someone else wants you to be. Find what makes you, you. Differentiate yourself with those qualities that make you stand out. Be empowered, inspired, and connected to what differentiates you. If you can’t find it, find people who can help you discover them.
"Work hard. Don’t do half-ass work. Your work ethic sets you a part as a brand and as a person."
"Learn. Read something you’d never be interested in and learn something from it.”
Doing anything special to celebrate International Women’s Day?
“Well, I’ve already talked to my daughter about how it’s registered dietitian nutritionist day today. (That’s her dream job). But I want to ask her similar questions like you’ve asked me and start an interesting dialogue. I’m a feisty with a core confidence in myself that I want to instill in her. She’s 17 so I want her to be confident in herself and proud to be a female. This evening while we’re at her brother’s basketball practice, I want to continue this conversation with her.”