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7 Questions on Leadership with Trudi Best

Name: Trudi Best

Title: Associate Chief Data Officer

Organisation: University of the Sunshine Coast

Trudi has over 20 years' experience in the higher education sector in technical and leadership roles and is passionate about providing leadership that enables others to reach beyond their potential and exceed their own expectations. Leading high performing teams to deliver insights and analysis that enables data informed and evidence-based decision making, Trudi builds collaborative and productive relationships and develops respect from stakeholders. Always seeking to illuminate the big picture, the purpose behind the focus and identify opportunities, Trudi readily takes on challenges and develops creative solutions to complex problems.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Trudi's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

When leading, it is your responsibility to lead. Others look to you for the solution, the change, the fix, the sense of being all things to all people - that can be exhausting. So the biggest challenge to me, and perhaps the reason I most like being a leader, is I am constantly being challenged to grow. To recognise my own limiting mindsets, face my own giants, confront my own shortfalls and be confronted by them, be humbled, then through faith and focus, overcome these challenges so that I can be a leader that I am proud of.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My first leadership opportunity was given to me by my manager at the time, they restructured the team and saw something in me, that at the time I didn't. I was leading former peers and was the junior in age to the team I was leading, so I needed to apply some approaches that fit the situation and learn fast.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Up at 5am, quiet still before others are awake, it's my quiet time that I enjoy, tea, exercise, bible reading, running. Then the busyness hits with everyone up and getting ready then off to school and work. I take the first 30 minutes of the work day to respond to emails that may have not been addressed the day before. Then meetings and meetings etc. Finish at 5 and spend time with the family, and in bed at 8.30pm! ...I never thought I'd be that 'old' to go to bed that early :)

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Relationships are the key and culture eats strategy for breakfast (lunch and dinner).

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Unhindered, The Seven Essential Practices of Overcoming Insecurity, Jaemin Frazer. I always want to show up as the best version of myself, and insecurity just gets in the way. Leading and being exposed to highly emotionally intelligent people can quickly illuminate where insecurity is getting in the way and preventing you from showing up as you want to. Taking full responsibility for the situation I'm in removes the blame game and allows me to figure out what I really need to do to improve my situation and be who I want to be.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Back yourself.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

Everyone is following someone, the meaningful stories for me are about the gratitude I have for those that have led me well. They have taught me the value of relationships, of holding space for others, not leaving others behind, setting high expectations, respect, trust and the list goes on. I think for all of us, the connections we have with our 'followers' and 'leaders' is what makes us successful and helps us to grow.

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