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Trent Smyth: Empowering Chiefs of Staff from Various Industries

Trent Smyth: Empowering Chiefs of Staff from Various Industries

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Trent Smyth, the chief executive officer of The Chief of Staff Association. Let’s learn what’s happening at The Chief of Staff Association and how Trent is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Hi Trent, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through The Chief of Staff Association?

Trent: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! The Chief of Staff Association is an organization that brings together current and former chiefs of staff from various industries, including government, military, corporate, and nonprofit sectors. The association aims to provide a platform for chiefs of staff to network, share knowledge, and collaborate on best practices. The association provides a forum for members to discuss common challenges and opportunities, share insights and experiences, and learn from one another. Members can participate in events, conferences, and workshops, as well as access resources such as research, case studies, and training materials.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Trent: The Chief of Staff Association provides a variety of educational resources and opportunities for its members, designed to enhance their skills and knowledge as chiefs of staff. The association offers workshops and training sessions on a range of topics relevant to chiefs of staff, such as leadership, strategic planning, communication, and project management. The association also provides a mentoring and coaching program, which pairs experienced chiefs of staff with newer or aspiring chiefs of staff, to help them develop their skills and navigate their roles.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Trent: The association produces research, reports, and other thought leadership materials on the role of chiefs of staff and related topics. By doing so, the association contributes to the body of knowledge on this topic, helping to shape the conversation and advance the understanding of the role of chiefs of staff. Overall, the impact of the Chief of Staff Association is felt in the professional development of its members, the connections and collaborations that are facilitated through networking, the advocacy and thought leadership that the association provides, and, ultimately, in the success of the organizations represented by the chiefs of staff who are members of the association.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Trent—it’s been an honor!

Trent Smyth served as the Honorary Consul for Malawi for nine years and the secretary of the Consular Corps Melbourne between 2014-2021. He is the founder of the Sports Diplomacy Foundation and a former director of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and holds a Bachelor of Commerce and an MBA from the University of Melbourne.​ In 2021, Trent was awarded an Order of Australia for services to international relations, motorsport, and business. (Nominated by Ben Conard at Fair Trade USA. First published on the Ladderworks website on July 12, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Shikha Tandon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.