How One Woman Became a Unique Brand
Trina Damico is one of those bright white lights that bring a smile to anyone who knows her. We connected 5-6 years ago via social media. At the time, Trina was an organization development leader with a large employer in Portland. It became clear that she was quite passionate about helping other people grow. Quite literally, the tone of her voice and her body language went up whenever she discussed how her work impacted other people.
We met over coffee when I was in Portland to give a speech. My impression of her was that of a very bright, even brilliant woman who was a bit too big for the role she was playing. Not much later, a reorganization would change Trina’s role from one of development to remedial work, or we can call it, employee relations.
I knew that role quite well. For years, I worked with labor law firms and human resource groups in taking on high-risk employee relations challenges and spinning the circumstances into gold. That meant getting to the truth, resolving the problem and avoiding litigation. For quite some time, I enjoyed these challenges. It was a bit like becoming the Ray Donovan of human capital. But, the dynamics of working with enthused high potentials or participants filled with positive outlooks were far more nourishing for my soul.
For me, it took years to stop. On the other hand, Trina knew this wasn’t her within a much shorter time.
She flew down to Los Angeles and participated in a program that was filled with remarkable participants. Everyone in that room launched businesses for the first time or committed to new careers. Each person was gifted, motivated, and kind. When we were done, Trina asked me to help her with career marketing to find a better job. During the weekend, I had witnessed a leaning towards becoming a business owner. When I reminded her she responded, “No, I want to have one more big job before I do that.”
Now, I’m going to let everyone in on a secret. When someone realizes what they most want to do with their lives, if they put that off, the universe tends to send louder and louder messages. Fairly quickly, we found what looked on paper as a much better job, which Trina secured. But, I asked her, “Just one thing. Does the CEO lead the company culture? If not, keep your bags packed.” All too often, human resources or capital becomes the scapegoat for CEOs who don’t want to be bothered with culture and people.
Within a few short weeks after starting her new position, Trina called me and said, “I am ready to start the business.”
The next few months turned into an unfolding that moved both of us again and again. Trina had spent most of her early years at Intel, where human capital development was just as important as marketing and finances. She began her career in a technical role only to find that her success was based on her innate way of developing others. When Trina moved into organization development, she blossomed. There was one common thread with her success. She is extraordinarily gifted at taking technical professionals and turning them into leaders.
As we began the branding process, her comfort with technical leaders infused every conversation. There is usually a moment with incubating a new business owner where they have to choose to be a general brand or to define their unique purpose. There is a fear that if they get too defined, they will lose business. But, when we become crystal clear in our purpose, the people we want to become clients find us.
One day, I called her in the middle of the night and yelled, “How about Development 4 Nerds?” She started laughing and I added, “Let’s just use it as a working title.”
The initial resistance came up. She said, “Nerds feels a bit negative.”
“It was when you were a teenager. It came up in your branding process. But today, nerds own the world.”
All of a sudden, she interrupted me with, “I love it. I am a nerd and I love working with them.” That moment of becoming unique became a turning point because it also indicated deep self-acceptance.
I brought up that it is unusual to find executive coaches with a technical background. I asked, “How many executive development projects didn’t work out because the coach tried to remake the nerd personality?” It happens all the time.
Trina has become a walking and talking example of someone who learns how to honor every aspect of their career DNA. She has blossomed as a business owner. She enthusiastically engaged in consultative sales and social networking skill development. She learned how to write killer proposals and close deals. We helped her develop an amazing digital platform. As she developed these skills I’ve watched someone who used to be afraid of doing anything like this to a woman filled with confidence, joy, and pride in what she offers to the world.
People like Trina go through life with a commitment to innocence. These are the individuals who walk into a room to meet a new client without bias and a truly clean slate. That mindset requires courage.
In the 80s and early 90s, I was deeply involved in civil rights for the LGBTQ community. I worked with an organization that helped thousands of gays and lesbians come out of the closet as an act of love for the people around them. Someone would later ask me, “How did that experience impact your work today?”
I said that “Virtually everyone who comes to the Inspired Work Program is in the closet about something. As they define what they most want to do with their lives, as they learn how to succeed with that role, it is the same as coming out. The doubtful questions become part of the journey, “Will I be accepted? Will I survive? What will people think?”
And, after they get through that, what happens?
See for yourself. Take a look at Trina D’Amico’s site and you will find the new business owner that walks into her client’s offices with a beaming smile, who shows people how to lead and remain fully themselves.
How does she do it?
She is extremely well-educated and skilled. Perhaps the most important gift to her clients is that she is an extremely effective role model. To say she has become herself would be an understatement. To be well paid for that is the target of finding what she most wanted to do and bolstering the journey with an ever-growing willingness to change.
More about Trina at www.development4nerds.com
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