Liz Trotter is a dynamic businesswoman and a Salvo volunteer working with women in financial distress. Liz won the Silver Stevie, a major international women in business award in New York last year.
What was your early life like?
I grew up in Maitland in the Hunter Valley, NSW. My mother was very connected to her local Anglican church, so every Sunday morning started with Sunday school and church. My mum loved running the church picnics and getting us involved.
At 17 I joined the banking and finance world as a junior teller. Later I moved to Port Macquarie and was very homesick, so I immersed myself in the community, taking every opportunity to understand and connect with the people around me. We introduced a free financial counselling program and had the banking staff trained to assist with the program as their community service.
I held many roles over my banking career and was extremely keen to taste all flavours of the banking world, from lending management to investment and corporate service management.
During this time I saw many female clients struggle financially and emotionally without the opportunity or financial means to seek professional advice to suit their circumstances, or they were too embarrassed to ask for help. Mental health, depression and domestic violence were just as bad back then, but just never spoken about.
Over my career I was blessed to meet my husband Mark and together we have two beautiful daughters, Maddie and Georgie. I decided to take some time being a full-time mum. After 12 months I found that no-one wanted to hire a new ex-banky with small children and part-time job requirements. So I placed my own advertisement—‘Over-qualified ex-banky looking for new direction for part-time work’. I received over 20 phone calls.
One financial adviser instantly understood why I wanted to help people. I started my journey in administration and then moved into an adviser role with him as my mentor. I had finally found my space working with people because it was like a counsellor and banker in one. I always dreamed of working with financial literacy for women, to ensure all women know their options in life and can build a strong foundation for their future.
What are you involved in now?
I’m a managing partner with Triple A Financial Services and a proud winner of the first women in financial planning award in 2014, which recognises the strong focus within our business and the support we offer female clients with personal and business advice.
My passion is working with women to make a difference, so I am super-excited about our new pilot to connect local business with Bramwell House, offering professional advice when needed the most, without draining funding.
What led you to do pro bono work for the Salvos?
The biggest challenge in life was losing my husband to depression when my girls were nine and 12—this changed my view of the world. The few years leading up his death were heartbreaking for us all. No-one should have a loss they don’t understand and have no-one to help rebuild their lives and the lives of their children.
So now I work with these clients and 10 per cent of our turnover in pro bono hours is to help clients in need. We want them to experience this process with dignity and understanding, and we see amazing changes in these women who have a plan and direction for their future.
What are some of the positive things you have achieved with your Salvo work?
Our clients have a better understanding of the Salvos and how they can volunteer. I believe we are a role model for business to show how they can make a positive impact within a community. I have also connected with many other likeminded people who also work within The Salvation Army.
What do you get out of your voluntary work?
Quite simply, it feeds my soul. There is nothing better than a seeing another person move forward in life because they know you understand their personal journey and you are able to guide them through a difficult time. I believe your moral compass in work, life and business is the secret to your own personal achievements.