We are officially a month away from the ON Leadership Conference, and I could not be more excited! ON, taking place Nov. 21 in Warwick, Rhode Island, is a half-day event inviting business leaders and change champions, and engaging activists to explore how to enact powerful moments of change with greater confidence and clarity.

If you have not yet grabbed your ticket, you can do so by clicking here.

We have an amazing line-up of speakers who will share with you their personal story of resilience and experiences with change. Over the next few weeks, we are going to introduce you to our speakers in this 5 Question speaker series. First up? Trent Theroux, one of our Lighting Talk speakers.

Trent is a CFO and a graduate school professor of business strategy and develops resilient leaders. Trent is the host of the Swimming in the Flood Podcast and was recognized by Sports Illustrated for his record breaking 41-mile swim around Aquidneck Island. Following an accident which left him paralyzed, Trent created a foundation to provide durable medical goods for those with spinal cord injuries and funded the foundation by recently swimming the English Channel. Learn more about Trent in our quick catch-up below!


To begin, can you tell our readers a little bit about your career journey and how it led you to where you are today? ​

My big “break” came while I was waiting tables as a second job to help support my young family. I was working as a staff accountant Monday through Friday and I waited tables Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. I stayed late one shift and served two couples, one of whom owned a manufacturing company. He was lamenting about his Controller and some inventory issues during dinner. By the end of the service, I secured a job interview and four weeks later took on my first corporate management role.

I believe that we are surrounded by thousands of opportunities. Are we listening when they whisper in our ear?


You are passionate about developing resilient leaders. What makes a resilient leader?

Many people will accept that leadership is a learned trait. But, resiliency isn’t learned. It’s thrust upon us. The challenge is how to react when we are in tenuous circumstances. I engage people to be prepared for the intersection of leadership and resiliency. A resilient leader is one who is poised for the unexpected and learned in the craft of leadership.


You overcame a huge moment of adversity following an accident that left you paralyzed. What perspective can others take in overcoming whatever adversity they may be facing today? 

Being paralyzed set me on a different course immediately. A spinal cord injury changes your life in a second. Everything you knew is over and it takes more than you know to start again.

My transformation into the man I am today started in the hospital bed. Resiliency centers on three items; you need to accept your reality, you have a deep passion for what you want and you have an uncanny ability to improvise. I learned that those three items exist in me… and they exist in everyone.


What are some of the biggest challenges you think facing the business world today and how can we start to positively move the needle in these areas?​ 

We have a global skilled labor shortage. Pockets of the world still exist in an agrarian society, but even those are becoming digitized. Workers today need advanced skills to adapt and succeed. Employers need to identify individuals who have the capacity to transform with the evolving business climate.

My keynotes and seminars are geared toward employers who want to give their employees the soft skills of leadership to help them develop into larger roles within the corporation.


What’s one thing you are most excited about right now as it connects to your work? ​

Duh! The ON Leadership Conference. The joint is going to rock! I’ve seen the lineup and I know a couple of the speakers. The audience is going to get a great bang for their buck. Personally, my next charity event is titled Back to Africa. I plan to swim backstroke from Europe to Africa. This will be the fourth major swim for my foundation.

To see Trent live from the big stage, click here to secure your spot at ON! To learn more about our other Lightning Talk speakers, click here. To learn more about our opening keynoter, Orlando Bowen, click here.