active CEO Podcast Trina Gordon (Boyden World Corporation) – Recruiting World Leaders

active CEO Podcast #7 Trina Gordon Recruiting the World’s Leaders

active CEO Episode 7 - Trina Gordon
Trina Gordon – CEO Boyden World Corporation

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns and Ben Gathercole speak with Trina Gordon delving into what it takes to be a leading global CEO, how a client-centric focus enhances Boyden, the importance of diversity in the search executive industry, what female CEO’s bring to companies, why work life integration is vital to the success of CEO’s, and we take an in-depth look at the CEO interview process.

Trina Gordon

Trina Gordon is the CEO of Boyden World Corporation, ranked by Forbes as top 10 search executive firm in 2018. She became the Search Executive Industry’s first female CEO in 2011, when she was announced as the president and CEO of Boyden World Corporation. Trina is regarded for her commitment to client service, professional quality and integrity. Running, staying fit, eating well and riding her Harley Davidson, allow her to perform at the highest level when recruiting CEO’s and C-Level Executives to some of the world’s leading businesses and organisations, including Fortune 500 companies.

Trina talks about:

  • The ability to listen, learn and understand social customs, practices and morals with a global company.
  • Connecting with their partners, providing services, resolving problems, talking through issues and opportunities on a daily basis.
  • The importance of creating a unique and intermit Boyden experience for clients.
  • Developing a learning and development team led by Chris Sweeney, Gray Hollett and Breck Armstrong.
  • Learning, drawing out and soliciting client needs through listening skills with well-timed and quality questions.
  • Being the lone women in the room and needing to be incredibly well prepared.
  • The benefits of selecting women leaders and If you are going to be relevant in the world, diversity is key.
  • Understanding what goes on in another part of the world from a business, societal, economic and cultural perspective
  • Why social media can be beneficial to a CEO.
  • The importance of CEO’s being on Boards of other companies or organisations
  • The importance of continued dialogue at the CEO level, and making sure that the CEO and Board are transitioning together very effectively, over a period of time.
  • Being fearless in making recommendations that may not be the safest ones.
  • What the key drivers Boyden are looking for when recruiting CEO’s
  • Why running provides a great sense of the ability to put things into perspective.
  • Fitness keeping her well disciplined, focused and builds up extra energy reserves.
  • Riding her Harley Davidson and gaining a greater awareness of the world.
  • The importance of starting each day by centering yourself.
  • Being able to prioritise what is strategically important in the moment.



“If you are going to be relevant in the world, diversity is key.” with Trina Gordon. You can listen here

Why being nimble, earning trust, developing credibility, building relationships and being incredibly well prepared has been pivotal? Listen to Trina Gordon and gain an insight into leading by example on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Recommended Reading:

Trina Gordon Articles

Better Than Winning – Ben’s best selling book Link

Previous active CEO Podcast Episodes:

#6 – Indiran Padayachee (RentCorp) – Winning Only Matters link
#5 – Suzie Hoitink (Clear Complexions) – Enemy of a Great Life is a Good One link
#4 – Rene Zondag (PBI) – People Are Our Greatest Asset link
#3 – Anne Gripper (NSW Office of Sport) – 6 C’s of Leadership link 
#2 – active CEO Intro (NRG2Perform) Part 2 link
#1 – active CEO Intro (NRG2Perform) Part 1 link

4 Healthy Break Habits in the Workplace

In the previous article “Undisputed Benefits of Taking a Smoko Break” we looked at the benefits of taking regular, short and frequent breaks, and the importance of detachment from something we are focused on. This article bring you some useful strategies and habits you can form to improve your performance and productivity in the workplace.

Don’t tell your boss, but taking a power nap has a major impact on your alertness and cognitive function. It can alleviate sleep deficits; improve creative problem solving, verbal memory, perceptual, object and statistical learning, logical reasoning, reaction times and symbol recognition; and improve our mood, fatigue and feeling of sleepiness. They should last between 10 to 30minutes long. If you nap any longer you risk developing ‘sleep inertia’, which is the unpleasant groggy feeling that can take some time to shake off.

Quite often we get caught up in ‘the grind’ or the finer details of what we are doing. Having a break allows you to step back and taking a birds-eye-view of the task or work you are focused on. It allows to you see the big picture and stay mindful of your objectives.

Enjoyment is the number one retention tool in the world. Completing a fun activity by yourself or with your friends and colleagues produces positive emotions. These emotions reverse negative effects of work tasks and increase blood flow to the areas in the brain that we use to focus.

Daydreaming allows us to release and switch on our creative modes. Our brains have a focused mode (learning, writing, working) and a diffuse mode (relaxed, day-dreaming). Our brain activity increases when our mind wanders. We sometimes solve some of our toughest puzzles or problems while daydreaming.

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets…It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”


Productivity-Boosting Activities for your Break

Lets take a look at some more activities that you can use to boost your productivity:

  • Take a walk – 20min walk can increase blood-flow to the brain, which can boost creative thought, enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, combat age-related declines in brain function, and improve memory and cognitive performance
  • Daydreaming – leads to creativity. Creative activities teach us agency, the ability to change the world, mould it to our liking and to have a positive effect on our environment
  • Eat – replenish the brain with productivity nourishing foods
  • Read – a non-work book. Reading fiction books can lead to better understanding other people, emphasize with them and see the world from their perspective
  • Coffee – morning and afternoon break time is the perfect time for coffee
  • Aesthetically pleasing photos – photos that spark positive emotions like babies, baby animals and funny cartoons
  • Listen to music – can significantly improve our motor and reasoning skills
  • Nap it out – 10-30min naps can improve cognitive function, decreases sleepiness and fatigue, improves reaction time.
  • Exercise – makes you happier, increase energy and helps gain focus. Less than 10minutes is all you need.
  • Have a chat – with co-workers or friends
  • Meditate – your brain’s beta waves can be dramatically reduced during meditation. It lowers stress levels, improves overall health and enhances creativity
  • Make it fun – plan a future trip or vacation. The anticipation of a trip can make people happier that the actual trip itself
  • See the nature – Spending time in nature is good for your immune system, improve focus and relieve stress
  • 20min Eye Exercise Rule – 20-20-20 rule – Every 20min, take at least a 20sec break, looking at objects 20 feet away.
  • Goofing Around online – the distractive nature of checking text messages and surfing social media can assist with refreshing the brain

“To maximize gains from long-term practice,” Dr. Ericsson concluded, “individuals must avoid exhaustion and must limit practice to an amount from which they can completely recover on a daily or weekly basis.”


Break Methods

Here are a few methods that can help you implement a successful break strategy in your day.

  1. Pomodoro Method – alternate 25mins on, 5mins off. After 4 cycles take a 30min break. Helps you get rid of distractions and focus more intently. Finite beginning and end of small chunks increases urgency in finishing tasks quickly and making decisions faster
  2. 90minute work blocks – works with our body’s natural rhythm (ultradian rhythm) of 90minutes of activity and 20minutes of rest. We do this during sleep and during the day. When Professor K. Anders Ericsson studied elite performers like violinists, athletes, actors and chess players, he found that the best performers practiced in focused sessions of no more than 90 minutes.
  3. 52-17 method – split between the Pomodoro Method and 90min Blocks. Research suggests that it could be the most productive schedule. Working with purpose.
  4. 2x 15min breaks per day – a good starting point for those who have less flexibility in their work day or mentally cant get their heads around taking breaks.

“The reason the most productive 10% of our users are able to get the most done during the comparatively short periods of working time is that their working times are treated as sprints. They make the most of those 52 minutes by working with intense purpose, but then rest up to be ready for the next burst. In other words, they work with purpose.”


What are strategy are you going to choose?

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Are you looking for more insights and ideas? Then read the following inspiring and thought-provoking articles and podcasts:

active CEO Podcast #1 Introduction Part 1

Ben and Craig introduce you to the active CEO Podcast and share some powerful tips on how to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

Ben Gathercole and Craig Johns have more than 50 years combined experience working in performance coaching and leadership roles. They understand the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle, and are now sharing their insights and enlightening people how to become better leaders through a brand new concept, corporate periodisation.

Ben and Craig also speak about:

  • Why it is important to balance periods of stress and long work hours with low-stress recovery in the workplace through corporate periodisation
  • Where the ordinary don’t belong
  • What is active CEO mean?
  • How did Ben get started in his career as a high performance coach and leader?
  • What were the influences of Ben and Craig’s mentors during their careers so far?
  • The role of mentors and mentoring from a young age.
  • Life of an Olympic Coach and the pressures involved.
  • Powerful examples of balancing work, family and social life.
  • You don’t have to be ‘on’ 365 days and 7 days a week.
  • It is ok to make mistakes and fail fast
  • What inspired Ben to write the book, Better Than Winning?
  • Why Craig and Ben are so passionate about leading an active and healthy lifestyle?
  • The importance of taking one step at a time when building your career.


Ben Gathercole and Craig Johns are sharing their active CEO lifestyle. You can listen here

Why it is important to balance work and family life? Ben Gathercole and Craig Johns provide insightful tips on active CEO

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Recommended Reading:

Better Than Winning – Ben’s best selling book