When love is your personal and professional driving force, only incredible things can happen. A perfect example of this is Tricia Benn, a Senior Executive Leader, Executive Speaker and Moderator, and trusted Advisor to CEO, Founders, Investors, and other C-Level Executives.
Tricia embodies empowerment not only for her own good but for her many clients and associates. Discovering her unique story and sharing it here with you is my privilege. I truly believe you'll feel uplifted by the time you reach my last question! Enjoy getting to know Tricia and all of the work she is doing.
Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Influence
Where were you born?
I was born in Guelph, Canada
Where did you spend the majority of your childhood? How did this place make you who you are?
I spent the majority of my childhood on a hobby farm, which is a farm used for enjoyment and subsistence – it’s not a production farm. I grew up in a country with/around farmers, horse people, and that taught me the value of hard work, perseverance; basically, all of the values I hold dear to this day.
I grew up in a place where your word is your bond and where responsibilities go beyond anything. You can’t shy away from those responsibilities. It was a completely organic upbringing. I was driving a tractor by the time I was 5 and also drove a ¾ ton pickup at a pretty young age. I always thought of myself as capable and gender was never a factor for me growing up. There weren’t ‘girl chores’ and ‘boy chores,’ there were just chores, period. My upbringing gave me greater insight on how to build successful teams and invest in the things that really matter. How passion, drive, and involvement goes beyond an insular environment.
I was also a competitive figure skater and I trained at an Olympic facility. There I learned dedication and responsibility, how to visualize long-term and short-term goals and from all the times I fell down, I knew I had to get back up again. Those are the life lessons I learned at a very young age.
Where do you live now?
Pittsburgh, PA (and everywhere else in North America. I’m always traveling)
Kids – 3 daughters
Furkids – A cat who is 19 years old
Nieces, Nephews – 8 nieces and nephews
Crazy friends – Yes, of all denominations
Husband -- Tim
Lone Wolf – ME. I have a strong introvert side that needs to be nurtured with silence every so often.
My superpower is LOVE. I love what I do and love my people. The key is appreciating and valuing people’s strengths, what brings them to their great! You can’t do that with people who don’t genuinely care about you. It’s all about creating truly diverse teams that succeed through adversity and deliver on what I call ‘the hero factor.’
What key events or memories changed the course of your life? Were there any driving factors that make you who you are today?
The relationship I was lucky enough to have with two of my grandparents, shaped my life immensely. They were my best friends early on and they taught me what love was. From the women in my family I learned resilience. I’m a third generation of women who are breakthrough leaders. My grandmother built her own business and my mom was on the world stage speaking about animal research. My father also taught me to realize how capable I was. He was an electrician and a contractor and was always working on something. I always helped him with whatever he was doing. There were no excuses allowed. That taught me peace and contentment later on in life.
Do you have or have you had a mentor? Who is/was it and what do they bring to your life?
I’m very grateful for the mentors I’ve had in my life. From the women in my life, I learned there was no reason I couldn’t do anything I wanted. From the male mentors, I learned great business skills and opportunities that I couldn’t have learned from family.
Peer mentors have also become valuable. Our Chairman, Jeffrey Hayzlett, is a peer mentor for me. To this day, I continue to meet quarterly with my mentor, the CEO of one of the biggest companies in Canada. As an executive, you develop around your strengths and once you get to a certain level, you need to have peer mentor to act as a good sounding board.
Do you consider yourself a mentor? If yes, what is the most important thing you can share with someone seeking guidance?
Yes, I consider myself a mentor. The best advice I can give anyone is to make sure that everything you do aligns with the overall strategic goals. As leaders, it’s important that we align each team, and the people within each team, with the overall goals. Make sure everyone understands where they stand in the bigger picture and as an employee, make sure your leaders communicate those goals – top down, clearly and effectively. Once everyone is on the same page, it’s that cohesiveness that will make everyone thrive. I feel honored to be a mentor for others. Anytime I can help someone reach for their great and be their best, I’m happy fulfilling that role.
100 years from now how would you like to be remembered in your professional life?
As someone that you could count and lean on that would give you a hug or the tools to get to your great. I want to be remembered as someone who truly lived, loved, and gave back.
Favorite Quote or Mantra?
I have a couple of quotes from Joseph Campbell I like: 1) A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. 2) The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
What do you consider to be some of the highlights of your career so far?
I’m proud of the fact that I was the youngest Vice President of Enterprise for my organization in all of North America. I was also the first executive in Canada in market research to take a group and turn it into a revenue generating center. I was able to build a truly diverse team that, through a recession, delivered 20 percent growth and was the only one in my division to do that. I’m proud of being disruptive – I will be nice about it, but I will disrupt. I love adopting technologies and taking different approaches to team building.
What are you looking forward to professionally? What are you excited about?
I am excited about the mission of The Hero Cub and the C-Suite Network as a solution for all things B2B. We are a trusted, vetted network for high level executives and I’m excited to be a part of that.
Who do you work with?
I work with CEOs, founders, and investors that believe in giving back to the communities they serve, and of course, look to scale their businesses at the same time.
Who do you love to work with? What kind of client?
We work with a diverse group of people from all walks of life that have a common goal – leaving behind a legacy of integrity, transparency, service, and sharing. I love working with people who are nimble, who have a clear purpose, and can adapt quickly and effectively when the situation warrants it. Also, with companies with high growth.
What makes you and your business unique compared to your competitors?
What makes us stand out is that we have a really important mission to help great leaders succeed faster and really fuel a movement to help the wider public understand how important entrepreneurial CEOs, founders, and investors are to our local communities, democracy and how many great things they do, despite the bad actors we see in the news.
Why did you write the book? What did you want to share?
To impart knowledge and insight and give everyone a behind the scenes look at what it takes to make it, and thrive, in the modern-day c-suite. It all ties back to the Conditions of Satisfaction – mine are to reach for great, get everyone in the community to reach for theirs, find joy in relationships and take on new challenges. Most, if not all, of the projects I work on have to deliver on my conditions of satisfaction because it can help others. In terms of finding joy in relationships, it’s a platform to extend real connections and create more opportunities for the executives in my communities.
Why do you do what you do?
I do it because of the purpose and meaning that great work provides. It’s fulfilling to see the many changes that businesses can accomplish within the community. It all comes back to the conditions of satisfaction. I believe in The Hero Club’s mission that great businesses support communities, democracy, etc.
What message are you sending people with your words?
That every single day we all need to elevate ourselves as leaders to be the best version of ourselves we possibly can.
Who do you think your book will help?
Anyone currently in leadership positions and those who aspire to be great leaders in their communities and organizations in the near future.
What did you learn so far in life that you share in your book?
That leaders can both be born AND made. It’s not a binary choice – not an either/or.
What is the calling for your life?
That ‘it matters.’ At the end of the day, it’s about doing things that matter, that will have a bigger impact and leave a lasting legacy.
What character traits have been most important in getting to where you are today?
Hard work isn’t gender-specific or an exclusionary factor. I am a hard worker – your words are your bond, you do what you say you’re going to do and don’t stray from that. Also, my Olympic training as a figure skater taught me plenty about short, mid, and long-term planning. All that thinking and visualization taught me about mitigating risk and controlling the circumstances as much as possible. To this day, I meditate every day as a result of that figure skating training -- meditate about the next day and the great things I will be doing. It’s positive visualization.
What is one thing you know for sure?
That everything will change.
What are you grateful for?
Everything. I’m grateful for every day above ground.
The Style behind the Success
Jeans or Khakis? -- Jeans
Watch or play sports? – Definitely playing
Coffee, beer or wine? – Coffee AND wine
Feet up on the desk or flat on the floor? – Whatever I want
Vacation close to home or across the world? -- Both
Beach or ski resort? -- Beach
Plane, train, ship or automobile? – All and sometimes in the same day
Your weekend: Plan every moment or wing it? -- Both