Chair since: 2015
Group: TEC 58
“I truly hold the view that the growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. I enjoy having a positive influence on leaders and knowing I made a difference – TEC allows me to develop but also lead leaders and having that effect on them and ultimately who they lead is the most rewarding endeavour I have undertaken.”
Trent’s leadership experience took shape after years of ongoing work in Australia’s retail industry. He worked in the some of the country’s largest retail organisations, such as Target Australia and other divisions of the Coles Myer brand. Retail isn’t Trent’s only area of expertise, however. In recent years he has acted as non-executive director across a variety of organisations, such as not-for-profits, publicly listed companies, industry associations and public organisations.
Seven of the 15 years Trent spent with Coles Myer were at that General Manager level where he was responsible for divisional turnovers in excess of $250 million. Trent’s time with Coles Myer saw him relocate to Perth, which eventually lead him taking the position of General Manager for Buying and Marketing at Aherns Department Stores when it was taken over by David Jones in 1999. In a 10-year period, Trent also achieved significant financial results during his time as the CEO for the Capricorn Society, growing turnover across three countries and 14,000 members from $250 million to $1 billion. According to Trent, this role gave him the opportunity to learn and discover growth opportunities at an international level.
Trent has constantly sought out non-executive director opportunities across a range of 12 different industry sectors, and he claims each one is a highlight, especially those that link him to iconic businesses in the WA region. Currently, Trent sits on 5 Boards, chairing 2 of those which are Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association and Good Samaritan Industries. One of his most significant positions outside of his role as TEC Chair is on the board of Co-operative Bulk Handling, Australia’s biggest co-operative which boasts sales of around $5 billion each year.
Trent is also a non-executive director of Beyond Bank Australia (certified B-Corp) and the Australian Packaging Covenant – a co-regulator of sustainable packaging and an accredited Facilitator for the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Decades as a leader has gifted Trent with a passion for mentoring his peers and sharing the knowledge he’s developed across a varied career. Along with being a Chair for TEC, Trent is also a facilitator and faculty member for the Australian Institute of Company Directors, which he has been involved with since 2003.
TEC 58 has a great blend of people with a strong nucleus that has been there since forming in 2010. The businesses represented range across ASX listed, Large Private Companies, Successful SME’s, large and small SME’s and some of whom were almost start ups when joining. They are a very friendly, supportive group and challenge with confrontation.
Best piece of business advice received:
Be firm, fair and consistent. That way, your people will come to know what you will and will not accept.
- Leading around blind corners
- Leading for cause not applause
- Leading to serve, it’s not about you
- You can’t be a great leader without being a great listener
- Your organisation has a purpose – Do you?
- Leadership isn’t about the glory
- The challenge of becoming an ‘inadequate’ leader
- What are the key questions that leaders ask be about collaborative leadership?
- How do you define leadership?
- Leaders can’t be half accountable