Trina Roach has kindly accpeted to satisfy our couriousity by accepting answering few questions about her business achievements and involment in Black Women advancement in Europe.
Trina Roach – a Pennsylvania native based in Germany – supports the professional development of businesses and business people on both sides of the Atlantic. A former advertising executive with Germany’s second largest agency network, Trina has a solid track record of success as a passion for supporting people on their journey towards professional excellence.
As a coach and trainer, Trina works with people compelled to better align their professional lives with their overall life’s purpose. As human resources development and diversity consultant, she also works with organizations that are growing their business by better recognizing and more effectively applying the unique talents of all their people while supporting them in continuously developing their skills.
Trina’s professional development mission has taken her all over Europe – from Tallinn to Sofia and from Amsterdam to Moscow – where she has enthused audiences with her intuitive knowledge, broad experience, infectious vibrancy and authentic sense of commitment. Most of all, she continues to energize people in her quest to facilitate anyone looking to bring out the best in themselves through a lifelong commitment to professional development and growth.
Since leaving the hectic advertising arena, Trina has move from the faster pace of downtown Düsseldorf, to live in a picturesque village in the Sauerland region of Germany. From there she divides her time between her family (including her Dutch partner, a 26-year-old daughter and new grand- daughter, a 25-year-old son, as well as two dachshunds) and her work throughout Europe, and nurturing a growing client portfolio centered in the Greater Philadelphia area, where much of her extended family still lives.
Sandrine Joseph (SJ) : Could you tell us more about your concept / community « Uncaged BirdsTM »?
Trina Roach (TR) : I have worked in Training & Development on and off since the early 80’s. Along the way I noticed exactly where I felt additional professional support and resources were missing for people like me – women of African descent living and working in Europe. Because – with the exception of maybe the UK and France – we don’t have a « critical mass » to speak of, we are faced with additional challenges with no place to really turn to discuss or work through them. Instead of just musing or complaining about that vacuum, my background and qualifications encouraged me to start a program of my own.
Uncaged BirdsTM was conceived as a platform that goes beyond simple networking, sisterhood and info exchange – though all of that can (and should!) be a part of the program. As the site and concept become more and more established and credible for women of African descent, I look forward to offering professional development and empowerment resources (coaching, training, retreats, etc.) that fill the gap in a field that is already active in other areas; both for the mainstream, as well as for women.
SJ : What are the keys of your success in business?
TR : I think being in it « for the long run » makes all the difference! I realize it will take time to establish trust and credibility, as well as to pinpoint the topics that are most urgent. Not only urgent for women my age, but also for the younger generation. Those younger women are growing up with a different consciousness and sense of self, but there is still a lot we more mature sisters can pass on to them, so they remain firmly rooted in their history while striving to break through any barriers that may inadvertently be placed in their way. And, of course, there is a lot we can learn from them as we reinvent ourselves in the later stage of our lives.
SJ : What is your advice to develop a business in networking on-line, in person? (the ‘dos’ and ‘donts’)
TR : I think being aware of your personal brand is essential. Who exactly are you and what exactly do you stand for? Doing what I do now – i.e. being both the face and the brand as opposed to simply representing some major organization – makes me look at everything I do from a different perspective. I have to be mindful of what people who search my name will find online about me! I have to be mindful of what characteristics and values I communicate about myself, my company and the quality of the work I do. Otherwise, I believe it’s really important to understand that success is not a « quick fix » for most people. It doesn’t happen overnight. You have to show up – each and every day – and do what it takes to move forward. That not only means due diligence when it come to initial
preparedness (business plan, marketing plan, etc.), it also means embodying your mission, and bringing it to life in a way that is relevant and assessible for your target group. It’s also essential that you find the right personal balance between the discipline it takes to follow through on your strategies and the flexibility you need to adapt those plans to the knowledge you gain along the way. It was Maya Angelou who said « You do the best with what you know. When you know better, you do better. » I keep trying to « do better ».
SJ : What does leadership mean to you? What do empowerment mean to you?
TR: Leadership embodies the courage to own – and share – a vision! It’s more than being able to plan or being disciplined, though they are certainly helpful attributes when it comes to execution. A leader is someone who « sees » things as they can be, as opposed to only seeing how things are. A real leader doesn’t just see the next logical step; s/he sees the quantum leap that will be a game changer! And in seeing that possibility, a leader is willing to put in the work to give that possibility shape and form. A leader also has the gift of getting other people excited about that possibility, wanting that possibility for themselves, too, and willing to put in their share of the work to make it a reality. Black women have traditionally taken on a de facto leadership rôle in our communities and in our homes. We’ve stood shoulder-to-shoulder beside our men and picked up the slack when they couldn’t be there. Sometimes our leadership qualities are recognized and respected, at other times they’re either ignored or viewed with suspicion. As the rôles of women in general – and black women in particular – continue to evolve, it’s important that women of African descent understand the power in their own leadership tradition, as well as how to best apply that power today to improve our lives, our communities and society as a whole.
Empowerment to me means facilitating people in re-discovering their own potential. Most of us have ingested negative or limiting messages about who we are and what we can do. Sometimes those messages are personal ones from family members or teachers or the people we otherwise associate with. Sometimes we’re flooded with more general messages, for example from the media. Those diverse messages often have nothing at all to do with our innate abilities and talents or the dreams we are capable of having for ourselves. Especially as black women we are subjected to a myriad of conflicting messages about who we are, what we stand for and what we are capable of achieving in life. It seems everyone has been telling their version of our story, but no one is listening to what we have to day! Unfortunately, too, instead of telling our own story, we waste time recanting someone else’s story about us. That why I believe it’s time we raise our voices and reclaim the narrative! In order to heal ourselves – both collectively and individually – we need to support one another as we brush aside the veil of those limiting messages and re-discover the stories that witness to our inner strength, eclectic beauty and collective power.
SJ : What is the most memorable moment in your life (personal / professional)?
TR : Professionally speaking, the most memorable moments are always the split second when someone I amworking with « gets it ». Whether it be in my function as a presentation trainer or a coach or a consultant. I often say I feel like a midwife at times like that. The end product doesn’t belong to me – I didn’t create it and I wasn’t really the person doing most of the work – but by adding my knowledge and intuitive skill to the mix, I’ve helped something special see that light of day!
My most memorable personal moments have to do with my family. I am proud mother of two adult children and the doting grandmother of a sassy little lady. Although I am thousands of miles from my family in the States, I am also still very much a strand in the fabric of our family’s proud tradition, as are my children and my grand-daughter.
SJ : Do you think that work life balance is important for you? Do you succeed in? You have your own business, you raise children, you’re animating on-line communities.
TR: Work/life balance is more important for me now that it used to be. When my children were growing up, I was an advertising executive. That most often meant long hours and frequent
business trips. There wasn’t enough time for my family, and there certainly wasn’t enough time for myself. If I could do anything over again, it would be to realize that my job is only a
single piece of the puzzle of my life, and not the most important piece at that! I would realize that the things I « do » are not nearly as important as the things I « am », and I would re-allot my time and energies accordingly!
SJ : If you could give advice to women, men, the youngest and the wisest reading this blog, what could they be?
TR : The most important advice I could give to anyone is to stay in touch with their own inner voice. Whether you feel that voice is from a « divine power » or your « conscience » or your « soul » speaking directly to you doesn’t really matter. What matters is the universal wisdom and personal truth that voice brings to your life. There are so many distractions in today’s world that we often ignore – or simply can’t hear – that voice. When that happens we wander off course in life. Yes, we may be outwardly successful. Yes, we may be travelling with the « in crowd ». But when we don’t heed that tiny voice, real happiness and deep satisfaction aren’t at home in our lives. Some of us meditate or practice yoga. Some of us pray. Some of us simply take time to commune with nature. Find whatever
practice fits your personality and lifestyle. Stick to it. If you get off track, come back to it. There is no worthwhile knowledge that you don’t already have inside you. Listen.
Her organizations :
Trina’s company – Creating Tomorrow: The Leadership Consultancy – provides a portfolio of executive coaching programs, HRD consulting and leadership skills training courses, as well as an experiential range of presentation skills workshops.
Under the banner 360° of Diversity Trina also offers support to private and public sector organizations in Germany eager to more successfully leverage « The Power of WE » by strengthening their commitment to diversity management and inclusion in the workplace – and beyond.
To mark the five year anniversary of her business, on June 1, 2010 Trina launched Uncaged BirdsTM, a personal and professional development platform for Afro-European women. As part of the kick-off activities, Trina created TableTalks: a series of three virtual round-table discussions featuring black women living throughout Europe as guest panelists. TableTalks was originally conceived as a twice yearly event. Because of the positive response she received, Trina added a monthly format – « On the Radio » – in September, in which she focuses on giving Afro-European women from across the continent the opportunity to telling the story of the experiences, passions and lives.
Her presence on Twitter