A Notable Young Professional: Trang Trinh

Trang Trinh is a notable woman.

Growing up as a first generation Canadian, the eldest of six siblings and daughter of refugee parents gave Trang the foundation for her work ethic. At 31, Trang is the Senior Manager of M&A Integration and Separation Advisory for Deloitte. Trang has worked on over 10 mergers, acquisitions and divestitures through various M&A stages, ranging from $1 million to $14 billion in total consideration. Trang is the National Chair for Deloitte’s women’s employee resource group (canWIN), which helps to increase female employment and leadership at Deloitte, and contributes to the Financial Advisory’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy.

In her spare time (we don’t see how she has any) Trang sat down with Notable Life to talk about her journey to where she is now, how she defines success and she answers one of life’s most debated questions.

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How did you get to where you are in your career at such a young age?

I would attribute where I am in my career to these 3 elements:

Hard work. My parents are refugees from Vietnam. Their work ethic – as tradespeople – and how they reinvented their lives continues to motivate me each day to work hard. Especially when considering the opportunities that they never had.

Build relationships. Along the way, I’ve focused on developing and nurturing relationships with people that help me grow personally and professionally. I’ve had many mentors and sponsors who go out of their way and take a chance on me. I did not get to where I am alone. It definitely took and continues to take a village!

Resilience. I had to grow up quickly. I helped my parents take care of 5 kids while balancing life and focusing on school. The ability to bounce back quickly and remain focused has really helped me continue to press forward.

What advice would you give young women starting out in their own careers? 

Work hard and be nice to people, but prioritize your health (physical, mental and emotional). I was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease last year which made me realize how I took my health for granted. Auto-immune could be triggered from stress, which is hard to avoid in today’s fast paced environment. I now put more emphasis on not just my physical health, but also my mental and emotional health. A colleague told me this recently, “Your health is everything, without it, you will have nothing.”

The other piece of advice would be to be your own advocate. You are the CEO of your career and you need to advocate for yourself like a CEO would advocate for his/her company. I’ve had to face a few naysayers and haters where it took a whole lot of courage to speak up and say exactly how I feel. Never be a doormat, and remember that you can’t please everyone.

You are the Chair for Deloitte’s canWIN program which focuses on gender equality and diversity and inclusion in the workplace, where you lead a team of 25 women. What is the most rewarding thing about being involved in this program?

The most rewarding thing is being surrounded by such smart and inspiring women and men who are working together to drive and solution the gender equality agenda. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t even be a topic of conversation, but in reality, it is and I am very grateful to work for a firm that is moving the dial to close the gender parity gap.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment? 

Learning to be comfortable with who I am in order to be my authentic self at work and in my personal life. Growing up, being the eldest of 6 kids in a humble and dysfunctional home life, I learned from a young age to mask my true feelings in order to trick myself, my siblings and others into thinking that ‘everything is ok’. Fast forward into my early adult life, this translated into trying to achieve perfection at all times and struggling to express my vulnerabilities. Through individual therapy and reflection – which was tough work – I have become more aware of who I am and my values. I’m not perfect and sometimes catch myself ‘acting’, but I am proud to say I’ve come a long way from always ‘acting.’

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If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 

I feel like I’m constantly changing every day. I’m “that person” with a shelf of self-help books. I enjoy reading and learning new ways to improve in areas that are important to me including my health, relationships, and career.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself becoming that inspiring woman that so many women in my life are and continuing to do what I love. I could see myself as a Partner at Deloitte, and using that as a launch pad to help girls in Toronto who face barriers that hinder them from achieving their own potential.

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time? How do you unwind?

I love being active. My go-to’s are Ride Cycle, Barry’s Bootcamp or Moksha Yoga. I find the endorphins reduce stress and also help me sleep. Lately, instead of doing business development over drinks, I’ve been trying to convince clients and colleagues to meet for a workout and a smoothie instead. (Author’s Note: I can attest that this is the case, having met Trang for the first time at Barry’s Boot Camp where I almost died a number of times.)

True or False: All is fair in love and war. 

False. Being fair and honest is the path to success in any situation.