Name: Tina Brillinger, President & CEO
Company Name: Global Food Safety Resource Centre Inc.
Avil Beckford: How do you integrate your personal and other aspects of your life?
Tina Brillinger: As a fairly new business owner, this is something I struggle with daily, often feeling pulled in so many different directions. I am trying to make changes to strike a greater balance between my work/life balance. As time passes, I am getting better at this, without feeling guilty and knowing my mental and physical health depend on it.
Avil Beckford: When you have some down time, how do you spend it?
Tina Brillinger: Time is spent with family, friends and my Sheltie Jewels. I enjoy cooking, travelling, entertaining, reading, movies, scuba diving, golfing, skiing and Nordic pole walking.
Avil Beckford: What are five life lessons that you have learned so far?
- Regardless of circumstances, your past does not have to dictate how your life will turn out. The beauty of being an adult is that we have the freedom to make our own choices; eliminating those things or people who are not good for us.
- A good education is a prerequisite to a life well lived, never to be taken for granted.
- Everyone deserves a second chance – give yourself permission to have that second chance, that is, a second marriage, new job.
- We learn more from our mistakes than the things we do correctly.
- What constitutes a family depends on who is being asked; outside regular blood-relatives, a family can be represented through non-blood relations, friends who become family of the heart; same-gender partners – in essence anyone with whom you have a strong emotional connection that cares about you deeply.
Avil Beckford: What process do you use to generate great ideas?
- Research by always reading interesting books.
- Brainstorming with others to come up with “out-of-the-box” ideas.
- Driving in my car where I’m relaxed listening to music.
- Scribbling, sketching or writing down as many ideas as possible .
Avil Beckford: What’s your favourite quotation and why?
Tina Brillinger: “Givers have to set limits because takers never do” (unknown). Generally all people fall into two categories: givers and takers. Most givers don’t know how to set limits opening themselves up to constant takers. Takers like to find givers who don’t have set limits because they will take advantage of them and their generosity sometimes leaving the giver in a compromised situation. If you are a giver, set a limit on your time, money or energy that you can reasonably afford to give, and won’t compromise your well-being or circumstances. Develop a backbone because once that limit has been reached, takers will challenge you to cross it. Make a commitment not to let others cross it, unless it’s life threatening. If you set limits, chances are takers will not see you as weak and exploitable.
“Be the change that you want to see in the world” (Gandhi). In my view, there is no room for armchair pacifists in this world – they will never make a change to improve their circumstances or the world around them. If you truly want something to change then you must not wait for others to take action; be the impetus for change, no matter how big or small it is. The one thing successful people have in common is the belief that they alone can make a difference and they don’t wait around for others to act.
Avil Beckford: How do you define success? And in your opinion what’s the formula for success?
Tina Brillinger: Courage + Determination + Hard work + Perseverance = Success!
Success comes from a feeling of satisfaction in knowing you’ve reached your goal.
Avil Beckford: What steps did you take to succeed in your field?
- Listening to what others had to say.
- Continuous learning, no matter how irrelevant or seemingly benign it may be at the time.
- Determination, strong work ethic; perseverance and courage.
- Recognizing talent; surrounding myself with people who know more than me.
- Making a business plan.
Avil Beckford: What advice do you have for someone just starting out today?
Tina Brillinger: There is room at the top for those who do things well. Keep high standards, be creative, be open to change and opportunities. If you don’t derive a certain satisfaction out of what you do then change it up. Don’t be afraid of failing….be afraid of belonging to the status quo!
Avil Beckford: If trusted friends could introduce you to five people (living or dead) that you’ve always wanted to meet, whom would you choose? And what would you say to them?
- Elton John – Your music comforts me and has touched my soul when I hear it
- Nelson Mandela – Your strength and determination to fulfill your vision has made your country and world a better place. Thank you!!
- My Great-Great Grandmother who was full-blooded Algonquin – I’d like to hear about the kind of life she lived with my Great-Great Grandfather a French-Canadian. My family dates back to circa 1642.
- Thomas Edison – I’d Ask him about his process for coming up with brilliant ideas
- Indira Gandhi – Ask whether she would change anything in the course of her life, knowing she would be assassinated.
Avil Beckford: Which one book had a profound impact on your life? What was it about this book that impacted you so deeply?
Tina Brillinger: A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah – This is a first person account of his life as a boy soldier, one of the 300,000 child soldiers living in Sierra Leone. Ishmael’s narrative voice had such clarity when describing how he became indoctrinated as a boy soldier, what he witnessed and how he survived. Riveting, yet disturbing; Ishmael’s takes the reader down his road to hell describing how the rebels use children to commit genocide against their own tribes. His determination to survive and escape, through what can only be described as hell on earth, was extremely courageous. His willingness to share his painful story with such honestly is admirable. After becoming rehabilitated, Ishmael joined the United Nations, as a Spokesperson to help end the practice of recruiting child soldiers. Surviving such hell to tell his story is inspiring.
Avil Beckford: You are one of the 10 finalists on the reality show, So, How Would You Spend Your Time? Each finalist is placed on separate deserted islands for two years. You have a basic hut on the island and all the tools for survival; you just have to be imaginative and inventive when using them. You are allowed to take five books, one movie and one music CD, and whatever else you take has to fit in one suitcase and a travel on case. What would you take with you and how would you spend the time? The prize is worth your while and at this stage in the game there really aren’t any losers among the 10 finalists, since each are guaranteed at least $2 million.
A toothbrush, hair accessories and sun hat; two deck of cards; pens and journals for writing; Movie: Fried Green Tomatoes, Elton John’s Tiny Dancer Album, my mask, snorkel and fins plus my dive knife, and hiking boots.
If you cannot view Elton John’s Tiny Dancer YouTube video, please click here.
The five books:
1. The War of the End of the World, Mario Vargas LLosa
2. Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild, Steve Brill
3. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
4. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
5. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell
What I would do for two years:
- Get lots of sleep until I was fully rested, enjoy some solitary time unfettered by a rushed world.
- Take my mask, fins and snorkel and explore the underworld around the island.
- Go hiking in search of edible and exotics plants, cook interesting dishes.
- I would read books, play backgammon and solitaire and write my memoir.
- Have many fires and sing songs, make up different instruments with whatever was available.
Avil Beckford: What excites you about life?
Tina Brillinger: Things that visually delight me, nature, travelling to new places, learning something new, pushing limits and taking risks, that is, sky-diving, scuba diving, starting my own company, reaching a goal.
Avil Beckford: How do you nurture your soul?
Tina Brillinger: Being with people who comfort me (my husband, children and friends), music, and being in water (bath, scuba)
Avil Beckford: If you had a personal genie and she gave you one wish, what would you wish for?
Tina Brillinger: Ten years of great health and the financial resources to travel and participate in greatest adventures: Europe on the Orient Express, take an underwater tour of the Titanic or orbital flight, African safari.
Avil Beckford: Complete the following, I am happy when…..
Tina Brillinger: I am underwater, scuba diving with my dive buddy and husband Randy – the serenity balances and soothes me, against an otherwise chaotic world.
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Elton John’s video uploaded by vikomak.