Innovative multimodal solutions

Meet Dr. Trina Clayeux, CEO of Give an Hour

Meet Dr. Trina Clayeux, CEO of Give an Hour, which provides innovative multimodal solutions to accessing equitable mental health services and resources for individuals and communities in the USA. She’s been recognized by the National Association of Development Boards for innovation and received the Sailing Award for Leadership Excellence from Spokane Community College and the Nonprofit of the Year award from the Chase Foundation.

How were you as a kid?

As a child, my mother would describe me as a whirlwind, constantly in motion, not watching where I was going, either at full speed or fast asleep and not much has changed. I have a close-knit group of adventurous friends from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences and have always been fascinated by life outside the US.

Before I could read, an older neighbor read my favorite books and I was so upset that I memorized them word for word which ignited a passion for reading, something my mom and I bond over to this day. Sports have also been a consistent passion throughout my life, evolving from competitive school sports like softball and volleyball to later getting into mountain biking, hiking, and running with two decades of participating in races and every year I would challenge myself to learn a new sport. That led to triathlons, including a full Ironman and a few halves, before shifting back to volleyball and weightlifting.

While academics came naturally to me, I was ready for the adult world early although now I wonder what I was thinking it did nurture a strong work ethic, drive, and self-reliance. It also nurtured a “hint” of stubbornness—sometimes affectionately referred to as "hard ears" in my husband's Barbadian dialect meaning I don’t listen easily. That stubbornness helped me as a first-generation college student, something I pursued just before turning 20 with little knowledge of how higher education worked. I juggled full-time work, full-time school, friends, and sports and was always striving for the next thing.

“Leadership is an ongoing practice, and it is crucial to anchor yourself on a solid foundation of values and principles because you will be tested a lot”

You earned a doctorate in leadership studies from Gonzaga University, a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State University, and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Boise State University, why did you choose those courses of study?

  • To work in social impact areas, you also have to understand the impact of the policy and procedures you are creating.
  • Public sector work – You must lean in on nuance, learn what’s important, how they want to show up, and what are the goals and dreams of the people you are trying to help.
  • Cannot write policies and procedures without understanding the lives they are affecting.
  • Need to live in both spaces and have the legitimacy to do so.
  • Don’t want to weaponize policies and instead open them up to support the people you want to help.
  • I wanted to upend/disrupt policy.
“At Give an Hour, our innovative approach is individualized, responsive, and informed, enabling us to be at the forefront of customized mental health care” “At Give an Hour, our innovative approach is individualized, responsive, and informed, enabling us to be at the forefront of customized mental health care”

You were chief operations officer for social impact nonprofit organizations addressing educational, socioemotional, and affordable housing disparities across low-wealth communities, you also served as a director and assistant dean for both the K-12 and community college systems, what are the biggest lessons you have learned over these years?

Leadership is an ongoing practice, and it is crucial to anchor yourself on a solid foundation of values and principles because you will be tested a lot.

The importance of proximity to problems cannot be overstated and if you do not include those directly affected in shaping solutions, your solutions will be ineffective.

Social problems do not resolve on their own; we must be bold and challenge systems that do not equally support everyone, just as we would for a friend or family member- it has to feel personal.

You are the CEO of Give an Hour, for people who do not know, tell us about this national organization and why you decided to work in it.

  • It was an organization that was primed for disruptive convo. A unique place to do different and not replicate. Previous experience in and around people and applied to national scope.
  • Working with the team to build out our model – closer to people – better informed – better service.
  • Change the way mental health is thought about and delivered. Working alongside people instead of at them – creates a system of value.
  • Efficacy to go back and look at the system and utilize it as a tool. Re-look at the system at the end to change the approach for future initiatives.
“We can’t move people based on what we decide. We have to listen and see where they want to land based on what they want and need”

We know other associations in the USA support mental health, what does Give an Hour make unique?

At Give an Hour, our innovative approach is individualized, responsive, and informed, enabling us to be at the forefront of customized mental health care. For life. We listen to what individuals want and need, educate mental health providers to understand the community on a deeper level, and customize our services and supports to be responsive toward long-term health and wellness.

GAH’s 4-step approach:

  1. LISTEN: Journey Mapping

A customer-informed guide for navigating critical mental health touch points along a journey, offering insights and tools to improve well-being and resilience.

  1. LEAN IN: Informed Response

Tailored mental health interventions precisely aligned to promote help and healing based on customers' unique needs and preferences.

  1. LEARN: Continuous Improvement

An iterative customer engagement process to progressively improve our mental health products and services that bring about meaningful change.

  1. LEAD: Creating Resilient Communities

Customer First Measurement prioritizes customer voice and experiences that enable personalized mental health products and services.

What are the things that make you prouder to be part of Give an Hour?

  • Hands down – creating conditions for people to thrive and utilize unique talents when you aren’t trying to force them to do something in a particular way.
  • We are in the people business – and we have to be able to connect. An internal shift of approaching people with the reverence they deserve and the passion that they bring.
  • Love to learn from people.
  • Provides a genuine experience with this internal strength.
  • Human connection from the inside out.

You have been recognized by the National Association of Development Boards for innovation and received the Sailing Award for Leadership Excellence from Spokane Community College and the Nonprofit of the Year award from the Chase Foundation. Additionally, you have presented at conferences related to human-centered design, trauma-informed practices, and a replication model serving vulnerable populations.  You are a Board member at Arise Collection and the Leadership Triangle Alumni. You were also awarded a Leadership Triangle Executive 2020 Goodmon Fellow, what´s the recipe for your success?

  • Deep appreciation for people, making people feel like they belong and connect. People can feel that they have a tremendous opportunity and autonomy.
  • Must take a calculated risk. May lack clarity however if you show up with the authentic intent – it's showing up and saying yes, more than no
  • Trust people and trust the journey with the people so that they will feel the excitement and synergy to show up 100% authentic. 
“Work to be more of yourself and take and try on things from others that you admire”

What does a normal workday look like for you?

Up early to work out, and drive kids to school. Home. Coffee all morning. Emails. Meetings back-to-back most of the day. Try to get outside midday with a podcast that usually promotes creative problem-solving or a shift in perspective for the remainder of the day.

What do you love most about your job? & what is the most difficult part?

  • Loves that there are endless possibilities when you bring the synergy of people and spirits together. Seeing the impact when people see that you’ve learned in and learned. When you’re nailing it – there's such a shift in the energy that is produced within the impact.
  • Co-creating is so, so fun and you get the most impact out of the intent. Very intoxicating to see it show up and operate. All these things we lean into and then we see it in action – the impact is moving.
  • Difficult: Right now – breaking through the noise and discourse around mental health (stigma) / getting people comfortable with the lack of certainty and unknown – a fear: the momentum can lose steam because the focus is hard within this world of noise. Must keep people mobilized and this world of mental health “feels big.” Must be granular.
  • The habit of mental health: the ongoing journey – is difficult. There is a practice that requires nuance and listening to avoid unconscious judgment.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow in your professional ladder?

Going to people – 1000%. Meet them where they are at. And find out where they want to be. We can’t move people based on what we decide. We have to listen and see where they want to land based on what they want and need.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?

Podcasts:

  • Re-Thinking
  • Shoulder to Shoulder – Unique conversations that are not happening.
  • Diary of a CEO

Do you have a particular philosophy guiding your career decisions?

Listening and learning

 What do you like to do in your spare time?

  • Nature
  • Physical Activity
  • Reading
  • Listening to podcasts
  • The learning process in cooking (but I don’t eat it),
  • Spending time with an Intimate Circle of Friends

Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, a blossoming family life, and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, you are married and have 2 kids, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?

I thank my mother for not setting those as expectations for me nor do I gauge myself against those as markers of success or fulfillment. I'd be more inclined to set realistic goals in my personal and professional life and adjust versus contorting myself to fit an arbitrary or unrealistic expectation that is set up for repeated failures and isn't adaptable to changing situations. I do push back on expectations as to how one "should" show up or perform in these roles if it isn't a fit for me or those close to me.

What are your plans for the future?

  • Continuing to iterate and get voices out there for people who are looking for this (GAH’s) model of service and value this unique model.
  • Amplify the work continue to listen to nuance and avoid the normative.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about Mental Health?

  • Myth: You have to hit rock bottom to get better
    • It's critical to promote early intervention and encourage people to seek support or services at any stage and Face the Five signs for better mental health, earlier. This myth is harmful in that it discounts preventative care and early intervention and perpetuates the idea that our struggles aren't valid unless they are at their worst.
  • Myth: Mental Health Is Separate from Physical, Nutritional, and Spiritual Health
    • Holistic health leans in on the interconnectedness of mental health that cannot be understood in isolation from physical or social contexts of wellbeing. This approach empowers us with lifestyle choices and self-care practices that may include both nonclinical and clinical interventions to improve our overall well-being.
  • Myth: Peer-to-peer support isn’t therapeutic
    • Mental health care is individualized and nonlinear and we may need different approaches and supports at different times. Clinical care and peer support have their unique strengths and can be standalone or integrated as part of a holistic approach where clinical can address medical and psychological aspects generally for time-limited durations whereas peer support can offer social and emotional needs for longer periods.

 What tips, can you give to young girls who want to be like you?

First, work to be more of yourself and take and try on things from others that you admire. Part of becoming more of yourself is intentionally surrounding yourself with diverse friends, colleagues, and acquaintances and training yourself to feel fascinated by their interests, stories, and experiences, those that are not as easily relatable to your own. And say Yes more than you say No to open yourself up to possibilities and experiences that will almost always be greater than your imagination.

Who is the woman you admire the most and why?

My mother- is 86 years old, independent, active, and feisty, and is open to new adventures all the time. Despite having many reasons not to be, she remains kind, caring, loving, and optimistic. Even though she hasn't agreed with most of my life choices, she has supported me and [almost] never has said, "I told you so."

Name: Dr. Trina Clayeux

Sector: Mental Health / Healthcare

Company:  Give an hour

Designation:  CEO

Country:  USA

Social media:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/clayeux/

https://giveanhour.org/