Trina and Kevin Fullard – Life and Leadership Lessons Learned from the Coaches in our Lives


“My high school basketball coach invited a college coach to see me play.  When I asked him why he didn’t tell me that she was going to be there he replied – I didn’t want you to be worried about what’s around the corner.  I wanted you to stay in the moment.” -Trina Fullard

[00:00:03] Trina Fullard: I never intended to go to college to play basketball. It was not a plan for me. Academics was my focus. The day that the coach from college came to watch me play, I didn’t even know she was there because he never told me until the game was over.

And he said, I want you to meet someone, and that’s when he introduced me to Vicki Staten, who was my college coach. And I just asked him, I said, why didn’t you tell me that somebody was going to be here watching me play, he said, because I didn’t want you to be worried about what’s around the corner, I wanted you to stay in the moment.

[00:00:41] Tommy Thomas: Our guests tonight are Trina and Kevin Fullard. Kevin took his B.A. in Psychology from Washington Jefferson College. He took his Master’s of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from West Virginia University.

[00:00:56] Tommy Thomas: He’s the founder and principal at Unique Consulting and Professional Services, and we’ll get him to tell us a little bit about that as we get in. Trina also took her B.A. in psychology from Washington and Jefferson. She took her Master’s of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Maryland.

[00:01:14] Tommy Thomas: Trina is the CEO, and President-elect at Charlotte Rescue Mission, but on June the 1st, they’re going to remove the elect piece of that title, and she will become the President and CEO of Charlotte Rescue Mission. In full disclosure, I must say that I met Trina, our firm, JobFitMatters Executive Search, did the CEO search there.

[00:01:39] Tommy Thomas: And as a part of our process we like to interview as many board members and staff members as we can to learn about the organization. And Trina was in my group of people to interview. As we got into the conversation, I just felt like I was talking to somebody that I had known forever and I just could see leadership written all over this lady.

[00:02:00] Tommy Thomas: During the conversation, she shared a little bit about her basketball career and that her husband also played football. And I thought, now this would be a good podcast to get the two of y’all on together. So Trina and Kevin, welcome to NextGen Nonprofit Leadership.

[00:02:16] Trina Fullard: Thank you. Thank you, Tommy.

[00:02:19] Tommy Thomas: We’ve had a little sub-theme going here about the coaches in my life. We’re going to talk a little bit about life and leadership lessons that people who’ve done well and intercollegiate athletics have learned from the coaches in their life. And this could go back to the coaches in grammar school on through college.

[00:02:36] Tommy Thomas: If you haven’t heard one of these kind of conversations before, that’s our format. Before I dive too deep into that, maybe each of you tell me a little bit about your childhood and somewhere along the way, tell me how you met each other.

[00:02:55] Trina Fullard: Okay. I’ll start. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and, essentially learned as a young child how to be a strong independent young woman. I’m the oldest of two siblings. I have a younger sister who I grew up in the home with, and so I was always a caretaker and looking out for her.

[00:03:17] Trina Fullard: I had a really strong will to be the best at everything wanted to be. A straight-A student, wanted to excel in whatever I was doing and continued that along the way, all the way up through high school, and then my first experience, probably where I had a coach was probably cheerleading in Little League Mighty Might says, you would mighty might football players needed the little cheerleaders.

Being a mighty mite cheerleader was my first experience at being part of a team and having to work with other folks for us to be good at something.

[00:03:46] Trina Fullard: To root them on, but that was my first experience at being a part of a team and having to work with other folks for us to be good at something. So I’ll let Kev talk a little bit about his childhood before we talk about how we met.

[00:04:03] Kevin Fullard: I also grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, but I was closer to the inner city.

[00:04:10] Kevin Fullard: Okay. So my experience was a little different. Because with the inner city of Pittsburgh, education originally wasn’t the main focus. We had a lot of focus on sports because I knew there was a bigger place outside of that area. And just trying to figure out the path to be able to excel, to get out. So education became a piece of the puzzle as well as the athletics to be able to move forward and really just try to do better in life and be able to use that to go back and help the people that show them this is a pattern and a path to be able to exceed.

Education and athletics showed me that there was a bigger place outside of the inner city and I could go there.

[00:05:06] Tommy Thomas: Wow. And how did y’all get together?

[00:05:09] Trina Fullard: We like to tell the story that there was a bet that I didn’t know about. And Kevin is a year ahead of me. He graduated a year ahead. And when I got to Washington and Jefferson as a freshman, he was a sophomore. And there were not many black students on the campus of Washington and Jefferson at the time, about 1200 students and there were about 17 of us.

[00:05:36] Trina Fullard: Oh, my, right? And Kevin inquired from some friends of his about, who’s that young girl? I think with the incoming freshman class.

[00:05:50] Kevin Fullard: Because I played football. We were there during the summer before the freshman students came in. So as the freshman class came in, we would look out of the window and see, oh that person over there.

[00:06:06] Kevin Fullard: She looks cute. And we would try to find their names and pictures in the little freshman book to say, I need to get a little more information on her.

[00:06:15] Trina Fullard: My book, my picture wasn’t in the book, Tommy. I didn’t send it in. And I’m not quite sure why. I think maybe our senior pictures weren’t ready at the time.

[00:06:26] Trina Fullard: So he had to ask around a little bit and what I learned later after we started dating was that one of the upper-class girls had said to him, even though you’re asking about her, she’s out of your league. She won’t date you and they bet him that he couldn’t get me to go out with him.

[00:06:51] Trina Fullard: And so our first date during my freshman year was during the winter basketball season. He was at home on break from his football. The football season had ended. We had just ended it. So he called me and he asked me, what was I doing? And I said, oh, I just finished practice.

[00:07:09] Trina Fullard: And he lived about 40 minutes from the college. He drove all the way back to the college. Knocked on my door, I opened the door, not realizing I had just spoken to him on the phone and I knew he was at home and I’m like, what are you doing here? And he said, put on a sweatshirt. We’re going to go for a ride and I’m like, I just finished practice.

[00:07:36] Trina Fullard: I’m not in the mood for going out anywhere and he was not going to take no for an answer. So we jump in the car and he takes me to an outdoor ice skating rink. Now I really think he’s crazy because I’m like, it’s the middle of basketball season. I’ve never been ice skating before. And you think I’m going to get on some ice skates so I can fall?

[00:08:01] Kevin Fullard: This was the opportunity for me to see if she was really an athlete. Ha. Oh me.

[00:08:09] Trina Fullard: So I think we sat in the car for about 20 minutes. Yes. Uhhuh. And he promised that he would not let me fall. And we got out, we had a great time and I probably fell more than she did. Yeah. But then, after that, it was a really good time for us to bond as two people, two young college students.

[00:08:33] Trina Fullard: Trying to navigate through an experience that really turned out, I think, pretty well. 32 years going and we’re still going strong.

[00:08:44] Tommy Thomas: I think that’s pretty good. I think that’s real good. Yeah. So both of you then were on your respective athletic teams there.

[00:08:52] Tommy Thomas: Were you both on a scholarship or did they have scholarships back then for your division or how did that go?

[00:08:59] Kevin Fullard: For our division, we didn’t have full scholarships, so they gave us partial scholarships. I think we both had some athletic scholarships, but also education scholarship monies that they were able to give us.

[00:09:17] Kevin Fullard: And so that was the avenue we took to be able to pay for our time at W&J.

[00:09:27] Trina Fullard: They were very creative because we needed academic money, then there also was a little bit of need-based as well. I’m a first generation college student, but Kevin’s older brother was the first generation college student and he went to W&J and Kevin essentially followed him and he played football as well.

[00:09:50] Trina Fullard: So his brother had started the path for college for his family.

[00:09:55] Tommy Thomas: What do you remember about about your first coach at athletics?

[00:10:00] Kevin Fullard: My first coach was during little league baseball. And I think he really just taught a lot about understanding the game of baseball and trying to figure out how to work together as a team.

[00:10:17] Kevin Fullard: Because growing up, I had the friends in the neighborhood that we would play with and those were friends, but I realized becoming a part of a team was slightly different because now I’m working with and relying on people that really aren’t my friends, but we have to work together in order to achieve a common goal.

[00:10:42] Kevin Fullard: So that was a great job that the coach did to get us to understand how to build a bond together and understand which or what each person was responsible for so that we could work together.

[00:11:00] Trina Fullard: So my first athletic coach was in high school. I started playing basketball only because a friend of mine wanted someone to be on the team that was a friend of hers.

[00:11:12] Trina Fullard: I think I learned how athletic I was and how skilled I was at picking things up quickly and then being able to excel at them from my coach in high school. And then I also learned from him that I could learn how not to anticipate. Just be in the moment.

[00:11:43] Trina Fullard: And enjoy the moment and don’t get all, as we would say, get all crossed up around what’s around the corner. And I say that because I never intended to go to college to play basketball. It was not a plan for me. Academics was my focus. The day that the coach from college came to watch me play, I didn’t even know she was there because he never told me until the game was over.

My high school basketball coach taught me not to anticipate, but to live in the moment.

[00:12:12] Trina Fullard: And he said, I want you to meet someone, and that’s when he introduced me to Vicki Staten, who was my college coach. And I just asked him, I said, why didn’t you tell me that somebody was going to be here watching me play, he said, because I didn’t want you to be worried about what’s around the corner, I wanted you to stay in the moment.

[00:12:33] Tommy Thomas: Good life lesson.

[00:12:35] Tommy Thomas: Yeah, absolutely. What coach has, do you think, got the most out of you?

[00:12:43] Kevin Fullard: I think from my perspective, the coach that I had as my defensive back coach in college definitely got the most out of me. And I think part of it was because I was becoming of age where I understood there is more to the game than just the game.

My college defensive back coach taught me that there is a lot more to football than the game of football.  He taught life lessons that extended far beyond football.

[00:13:05] Kevin Fullard: And he really focused a lot on how playing football would relate to outside of the game. How the skills we’re learning in football would transition into life experiences and life lessons. And that was a very important thing to learn at that time. So he’s definitely the one that got the most out of me as an athlete, but I think myself as a person as well.

[00:13:42] Trina Fullard: I would agree. My college coach pulled a lot from me. And as I said earlier, I started playing the game of basketball in high school and she believed in me enough to bring me onto a team knowing that there was a lot more growth that she could pour into and and then being a leader she pressed me into that leadership role into in my sophomore and junior year of setting an example.

[00:14:13] Trina Fullard: And even on the bus, studying on the bus for younger athletes that came to see that, yeah, we’re on the bus and we’re going to, we have a four-hour ride to the game, but it’s not about just sitting around and having a great time. There’s still time to focus at some point. She would take me on her recruiting trips to talk to other players about what the experience was like at Washington and Jefferson, being on the basketball team and a part of the team and spending time riding in a car with her, listening to her talk about life and what life was going to be like after college.

[00:14:50] Trina Fullard: She gave me a book when I graduated and said, do what you love and the money will follow. That book was instrumental for me to realize after undergrad that I had to go on to grad school and continue to education.

[00:15:08] Tommy Thomas: So I think you’ve probably answered this question, but I was going to say at what point did you realize that your coach was trying to teach you more than basketball?

[00:15:17] Tommy Thomas: And it sounds like it sounded like that was a reasonably early-on experience in your college athletic experience.

[00:15:25] Trina Fullard: I think for me, Washington and Jefferson College and being so ingrained in the athletic space there we both also worked in the athletic office, so we were connected to all of the coaches and would support all of the teams, and so I think we both benefited from interacting with the coaches and life lessons sitting in the office, talking with them in the athletic office as they were just talking about, their families and hearing them talk about things that they were dealing with, we got that as a byproduct for the entire time that we were there. I know we worked in the athletic office for all four years.

[00:16:17] Kevin Fullard: And I think for me, it may not have come until my sophomore year. And the big lesson that really stood out for me, and I use it a lot from a counseling perspective. Now I tell a lot of people, especially if I’m working with young kids I try to tell them egos are overrated.

[00:16:40] Kevin Fullard: This is one of the big lessons that I try to work with young people on because as a freshman coming in, I felt I was a great athlete coming out of high school, but I wasn’t a good teammate coming out of high school because I thought with from an ego perspective, I can do it all. Whatever the team needs, just rely on me.

[00:17:06] Kevin Fullard: I’ll get it done. And it took the coach through the freshman year to make me realize – No, we all have to be a team. And that came with, I think a lot more maturity.

[00:17:24] Tommy Thomas: No matter how hard and dedicated you are to something failure is always an option. What did you learn from team sports about failure that’s helped you in life?

[00:17:37] Kevin Fullard: I think that the big lesson that I’ve learned with failure, and this goes back to, I think my little league experience playing baseball. I used to be a pitcher in little league and our team made it to the championship game. My grandmother was very influential in my life and I pitched what I thought was a great game until the last inning and I threw a pitch and gave up a home run.

[00:18:11] Kevin Fullard: So we lost the game in the championship game two to one and I came home and I was crying and crying. Laid across my grandmother’s lap and as a grandmother would do, she said, what happened in the game? And I explained to her, we lost. I gave up a home run in the last inning and I felt like I cost us the game.

[00:18:37] Kevin Fullard: And my grandmother said to me, did you do your best? And I went in to explain to her I threw my best pitch. My best pitch was a curveball. I threw it. I thought it was perfect and he hit it out of the stadium. And my grandmother said, you threw your best pitch. That’s all I’ve ever asked of you. Give it your best.

[00:19:03] Kevin Fullard: And let the outcome be the outcome. Just hearing her say she was proud. I carry that through life.

[00:19:14] Trina Fullard: Yeah. Failure for me resonates from one high school basketball game where we were playing this team that was considered to be like the powerhouse and at the end of the first half of the game, we had only scored 5 points and this is high school.

[00:19:45] Trina Fullard: And I remember, I think it was something like 60 to five or something, and they didn’t have a mercy rule back then. And so we went in the locker room and, the whole team, we’re just like, we can’t believe this, this is just ridiculous. And our coach said to us, listen, this is not about winning and losing.

[00:20:09] Trina Fullard: It’s about your effort. You may not score 20 points. But you, the team in here, you all have to set a goal and as a team together and you work together, you hold your head up and you go out there and you do the best you can. We just felt so defeated.

[00:20:32] Trina Fullard: It took us a minute, we thought about what he said. And we set a goal, we said, we’re going to go out there and we’re going to score at least 10. So we’re going to end up with at least 15. And we lost that game 103 to 35, but we had met our goal. And so the lesson for us at that time was together, even if we don’t conquer, we’re never going to give up and we’re not going to hang our heads.

[00:21:05] Trina Fullard: Because again, as Kevin said, we did the best we could. We were clearly outmatched, but we didn’t stop playing. We didn’t just pack up our little bag and just go home.

[00:21:18] Tommy Thomas: It’s often said that we learn the most when we fail in something, if that’s the case, why are we so afraid to fail?

[00:21:30] Kevin Fullard: I think people become afraid to fail, not necessarily because of what’s in them, but I think they’re afraid of the judgment that comes along with failure. And, I try to get people to understand we can’t compete or do anything in life with fear and worry about how people will judge us.

I think people become afraid to fail, not necessarily because of what’s in them, but I think they’re afraid of the judgment that comes along with failure.

[00:22:01] Trina Fullard: Yeah, I think the same thing, even if I look at the failures in my life what was I worried about, what was what the story would be, if you will. And so that’s where I think a lot of times looking inside and saying, okay. What do I want to come out of this?

[00:22:26] Trina Fullard: What lesson can I learn? That’s what I’ve always come back to is, okay, it didn’t go the way I wanted. Okay, Lord, what’s the lesson in it for me so that I continue to move forward?

[00:22:42] Tommy Thomas: I’ve got two things on the legendary coach, Dean Smith from Chapel Hill. And one of his quotes was, what do you do with the mistake? Recognize it, learn from it, admit it, and forget it.

[00:22:56] Kevin Fullard: There you go. Exactly. I would agree a hundred percent.

[00:23:03] Trina Fullard: Don’t forget the learn from it part though.

[00:23:05] Tommy Thomas: In his book, it’s how you play the game. The 12 leadership lessons of Dean Smith. David Chadwick, a local pastor there in Charlotte who played on one of coach Smith’s final four teams writes the concept of team may be coach Smith’s greatest contribution to basketball leadership and society. Both of you work with a lot of teams. How has the concept of a team impacted your life?

[00:23:30] Trina Fullard: Oh, man, I would say it developed me into becoming what I would say is a collaborative leader, understanding that I need to set the playing field. And establish the rules for the team and, as long as those are clear everyone understands what their role is, and we can accomplish great things. I think it also requires me sometimes to, if I look at a football field, to sometimes be on the sideline with the team, but then sometimes I need to go up into the booth. And I need to see from a different angle. But just collaboratively being engaged and being in it when I need to be in it and reflecting back and allowing the team to work.

[00:24:22] Kevin Fullard: Yeah, and I think for me, from the team perspective, being able to look at the different players that make up the team, because I always believe we’re as strong as the weakest link. And sometimes being able to identify people’s strengths as well as their weaknesses is important in leadership and teamwork.

[00:24:52] Kevin Fullard: Because if I know one person has a particular weakness, but we can rally around them to make that weakness not something that’s going to make the chain break, then that’s a great focus for us to be on.

[00:25:16] Tommy Thomas: Another quote on team, a group is a bunch of people in an elevator. A team is a bunch of people in an elevator, but the elevator is broken.

[00:25:27] Trina Fullard: I like that.

[00:25:35] Tommy Thomas: Yeah, you have to you have to think on that. To let that one sink in. Let me go to risk for a minute. We all have taken risks. Some more than others.

[00:25:45] Tommy Thomas: What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in life and how did it turn out?

[00:25:55] Kevin Fullard: I would think the biggest risk that I’ve taken in life was the relocation to Charlotte from Pittsburgh, being able to move away from a support system, a network, because we didn’t know anyone in Charlotte when we came down. I’ve never been to Charlotte, but I have family who live down towards the Wilmington area.

The biggest risk that I’ve taken in life. was the relocation to Charlotte from Pittsburgh – moving away from our support system because we didn’t know anyone in Charlotte when we came down.

 

[00:26:27] Kevin Fullard: So I knew I enjoyed the weather of Charlotte and I wanted to get away from the snow of Pittsburgh. Yes. And that was the biggest risk because I didn’t have a job I came to find out one of my cousins whom I knew as a child, but we hadn’t seen each other in 15 years, had moved to Charlotte, so just coming down and having faith that we’re going to make this work, and I think it was good for us as a couple because we became the new team, the team that we had in Pittsburgh.

[00:27:08] Kevin Fullard: Her team that she grew up with and my team that I grew up with was no longer. That team, they were that group in the elevator. We were now the team that was in the elevator.

[00:27:25] Tommy Thomas: Yeah. You both have mentioned the faith in your life. As people of faith, how do you deal with your competitive streak?

[00:27:38] Trina Fullard: I think this kind of might be one of the areas where we might be a little bit, a little different. For me, it is just relying on God to help me to keep it about serving him in a way that I can feel comfortable. Being competitive is not necessarily against the other person, but competing against myself.

[00:28:07] Trina Fullard: When we go bowling, where we’re a family of athletes bowling now has become like the thing we compete at. Our son is an avid bowler as well. But at the end of the day, it’s about the ability to still be in God’s grace and in a space and being.

[00:28:29] Trina Fullard: Okay. I’m not maybe as much of a competitor as Kevin has been.

[00:28:36] Kevin Fullard: Yeah, and I think that is where we there for some because my faith, whenever I’m competing, I’ve always remembered praying that everyone in the game would be healthy. I never wanted to get into a football game where we cause major injury to anyone.

[00:29:02] Kevin Fullard: But in the game, it was truly competition of I’m out to win. There was no gray area. In my mind, and that was always the place I think I struggle from the faith standpoint because it wasn’t just me competing, just enjoying my walk, it was me competing because I wanted to achieve this goal.

[00:29:36] Kevin Fullard: And this was my goal that I thought the other team was keeping me from.

[00:29:43] Tommy Thomas: It can be a struggle. Yes, it can be a struggle. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from a mentor?

[00:30:02] Kevin Fullard: I think from my standpoint, the best piece of advice came from my college advisor during my junior year. We sat down and he was talking to me about what path I wanted in life. And he could tell a lot of the career choices I was picking were very conservative. And so he asked me to tell him my biggest fear.

[00:30:38] Kevin Fullard: And I told him my biggest fear was failure. And he sat down and really had a long discussion with me that holding on to a fear of failure will be the thing that would keep me from succeeding. Because I would never allow myself to push the limits. To see what other great things I could do. I would only try to achieve the simple things that I already knew I was good at.

[00:31:15] Tommy Thomas: So was going to graduate school, was that a fear? Was that outside your comfort zone or was that something that you just knew you were going to do?

[00:31:25] Kevin Fullard: Graduate school for me, wasn’t something I knew I was going to do. I had this false belief of I’m going to get my bachelor’s degree in psychology, and I was going to make 75,000 as my first job, and my advisor said to me, he said, okay, if that’s your goal, I’m not going to tell you not to go for that. He said, but do me a favor, apply for graduate school. He said, I’ll give you the whole summer to find the job that’s going to pay you what you’re looking for. And if you find it, you don’t have to go to graduate school, but if you don’t I win and you go to graduate school. So I told her I said, okay I’ll take that deal and I searched, and the job that I found probably paid me about 20,000.

[00:32:26] Kevin Fullard: So in the middle of December, I called my advisor and I told him I guess I’m going to graduate school. You win.

[00:32:35] Tommy Thomas: What about you Trina?

[00:32:37] Trina Fullard: For me I didn’t really have, I would say, a mentor, that imparted some words, some wisdom on me. For me, it was my mom, and she passed in 2015. But the one thing that she would say to me, as I was going into high school, going into college, going into graduate school, when I became a mom, she would say to me this all the time.

[00:33:05] Trina Fullard: She said, Trina, when people meet you and they get to know you, there’s going to be a lot of people that are going to be expecting that there’s another shoe that’s going to drop as though when they meet you, that’s not who you really are. She said, I know there’s not another shoe. Don’t you forget that. So I’ve carried that with me throughout a lot of all these experiences that I’ve had in the last few years because I walk into a lot of rooms.

[00:33:41] Trina Fullard: And I get stares or looks or people are wondering, oh who’s she, why is she here? And I’ve had to get to know people who are trying to wonder, is this lady for real? Is she really who she says she is? And I just remember my mom, hearing my mom’s voice saying, there’s no other shoe.

[00:34:02] Trina Fullard: Just remember that.

[00:34:07] Tommy Thomas: Hopefully we’ve come out of the pandemic. That may be debatable, but thinking back on the lessons you learned in the pandemic what’s the biggest lesson you think you’ll take forward, that you thought I learned that we can do that next year, pandemic or not?

[00:34:25] Trina Fullard: I learned resilience. Early on, right when we weren’t really sure what the pandemic really meant and how it was going to affect people. I was diagnosed with Covid and had got it from a coworker. And this house went into like fortress mode. I was, locked in the room, literally anytime I came out, I had to notify everyone I was coming out of the room.

The pandemic taught me resilience.

[00:34:52] Trina Fullard: My husband treated me like I was in jail. But that we were faced early on with, this is a health issue. It’s a health risk. Unfortunately, my coworker who I had caught it from passed away. So that put it like in our face. But we learned early on that our family was resilient and we could create our bubble and we could move from day to day and place to place.

[00:35:20] Trina Fullard: And that we were going to be okay. And then we also knew as we prayed and we were like, okay, God, you got to cover us. We are essential workers. So there was no isolating and just, being in the house, we were still going to work each and every day. And so for me, it was resilient and that we could get through.

[00:35:44] Kevin Fullard: And I think for me, going through that period of COVID was learning the fact of not being afraid of the unknown because no one at that time knew what it was going to be like. I saw on TV where they were having the trailers outside of the hospitals putting all of the dead bodies and there was that fear.

The pandemic taught me more about not being afraid of the unknown.

[00:36:17] Kevin Fullard: But it also made me realize I was still going into hospitals, doctors’ offices, meeting with my clients because they needed me there. And I had to overcome that fear of just focusing on myself and having faith that I will be protected, that God was watching over me, and that as long as I do His will, everything will be safe.

[00:36:48] Tommy Thomas: Let me wrap it up with a couple of kind of closing questions. One, if you could go back in time and tell a younger version of yourself something, what would you say?

[00:37:10] Trina Fullard: Don’t look back.

[00:37:12] Trina Fullard: Leave your past in the past and keep your eyes focused on what’s ahead of you.

[00:37:19] Kevin Fullard: And I think for me, it would be the people in your life who are meant to be with you will always be with you. That there are some people that you just can’t bring along for the ride.

[00:37:42] Tommy Thomas: Say you’re invited to a banquet next week and this will happen to you many times in the next 15-20 years, you’re invited to a banquet and you’re sitting beside a total stranger. How do you start a meaningful conversation? Share.

[00:38:01] Trina Fullard: There are so many options with that, Tommy. It depends on the setting, the event. But if I’m sitting next to a total stranger I would just say, hey, my name’s Trina. What’s yours?

[00:38:19] Kevin Fullard: I think if I was sitting in the banquet, I would probably ask them, what’s their role, what do you do? Because that’s usually a big conversation starter. People can take that question in many different ways. And so that’s a way that I always try to figure out what’s important to that person’s life.

[00:38:47] Tommy Thomas: If you could meet any historical figure and ask them only one question, who would you want to meet and what would the question be?

[00:39:03] Trina Fullard: If I could meet one person, I would love to meet Michelle Obama. And I would ask her what motivates her. What drives you to move the way you move?

[00:39:28] Kevin Fullard: I think I would want to meet Nelson Mandela to find out how do you hold on to the thing that you believe when everything around you is trying to destroy that belief and that drive you have and to keep that passion to still deliver the message that you want to deliver.

[00:39:59] Tommy Thomas: What small act of kindness were you once shown that you’ll never forget?

[00:40:22] Kevin Fullard: The act of kindness, and it’s probably a very simple thing, but it meant the world to me was standing outside as a, probably a 10-year-old, nine-year-old. And we used to walk to the store and we grew up without a lot of money. And we were standing outside of the ice cream shop. It was a hot day and a customer who was walking in knew we didn’t have any money to buy the ice cream and something as simple as she said, can you guys come in with me and help me carry something? And so we were being nice and we went in to help her. We thought she would have something big she needed to carry. And when we went in with her, she had us pick out an ice cream cone and she said, I just want you to carry this back outside. And that just meant the world to me because that act of kindness made me want to do those things for others.

[00:41:47] Trina Fullard: For me, Tommy, right now it centers around the last few months that my mother was alive. She lived here in Charlotte and stayed with us primarily. And I have a group of friends that there are four ladies and they knew how tough that was on me. And so randomly, they would come to the hospital and just sit, it was like, they took turns, like just being that moral support.

[00:42:21] Trina Fullard: And, for me, it was Trina go downstairs and get something to eat. I’ll sit here with your mom while you go downstairs, she would be going for a test. One of them would be there and say, nope, I’ll go down and I’ll be there while she’s going through that test. So you can have a minute just so that you can breathe and I knew they were my friends, but I think I really knew how much I meant to them and how our bond got stronger. Because that time for me was very hard and they were just there and I’ll never forget them for how they just showed up at a time when I’m not really good at asking for help, but I didn’t have to ask them.

[00:43:09] Tommy Thomas: This has been a great conversation. Thank y’all for taking time from your evening to spend this time with me and the audience. And Karina I was thinking this afternoon, I want to circle back to you about six months after you’ve been in the corner office and and we want to talk about what this first six months being the CEO was like.

[00:43:29] Tommy Thomas: So I’m all for it. I appreciate that. I hope I have lots to share.

“I never intended to go to college to play basketball. It was not a plan for me. Academics were my focus.” -Trina Fullard

Links and Resources

JobfitMatters Website

Next Gen Nonprofit Leadership with Tommy Thomas

The Perfect Search – What every board needs to know about hiring their next CEO

Charlotte Rescue Mission

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