For CEO and founder of FD Global Connections, Trena Blair, the flight between Sydney and New York is a path well-traveled. While Sydney is home, Trena is a former New York resident, who now splits her time between the two cities.
After two years of living in New York, Trena returned to Sydney a decade ago. She went on to establish her business, FD Global Connections in 2014, which functions as a bridge between Australian businesses and the US market, with New York City as an entry point.
With her dual knowledge of both markets, Trena carved a compelling niche for her business and has since worked with more than 50 companies across a wide range of sectors to introduce them to the US market and guide them through the entire international expansion process, from scalability assessments to market entry strategies and timelines.
While living in New York, Trena worked for American Express as the regional vice president of product and marketing for The Americas in its corporate travel division. In addition to starting her own business, she has also worked with leading Australian universities to create coursework focused on entrepreneurship in the US.
Suffice it is to say, Trena continues to draw on her international experience across many areas of work, including contributing coursework for an MBA subject at the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales Business School, and a study tour with the Sydney University Business School in New York and Washington D.C.
Reflecting on her initial re-settling process in Sydney after living in the Big Apple, she says: “It took me 18 months to adjust.” But, at the time, she still reported to her lead in New York, so there were still opportunities to travel back and forth, which assuaged the professional transition ‘home’.
In a recent article Trena wrote for the Australian Institute of Company Directors, she said: “New York and Sydney are the two cities that I have had the privilege of calling home. Both are leading business hubs because they recognise the positive economic impact of women entrepreneurs.”
Trena’s professional and personal life is still very much anchored to her connections to New York. Founding FD Global meant she could have the best of both worlds living in Australia while spending significant time each year in the US. “From a personal perspective I wanted to continue having the opportunity to return to New York, whether with another company or my own business,” says Trena. “I have a great friendship circle there and NY allows me to thrive. When I am there it is the most amazing city from every angle.”
She continues to take great pride in showcasing Australian companies in the US market and has spent a total of five years in New York collectively. “Just being an Aussie myself, and being able to show off Australian companies and what we are doing was too compelling for me to walk away from.”