Life at Deloitte

Trina Huelsman on positivity, mentorship, and leading through change

Deloitte is proud to introduce the next in a series profiling women in the manufacturing industry. By highlighting the stories of women in manufacturing, we hope to help facilitate meaningful conversations, create connections, and showcase the myriad of opportunities for women to enter and thrive in the manufacturing industry.

Trina Huelsman serves as the US Accounting and Internal Controls Offering Portfolio Leader for Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory, focused on the topics of trust, transformational change, and resilience for audit, finance, IT, and treasury organizations. As a partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, in Accounting & Internal Controls, she enjoys collaborating with her clients to explore emerging business and digital trends, anticipating the associated risks, and developing innovative strategies to manage risks more effectively.

Finding a passion for Deloitte and manufacturing

Trina grew up in the small town of Minster, Ohio. Upon her graduation from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Accounting and Management Information Systems, Huelsman explored a career in professional services. Ultimately it was her brother, who worked at Deloitte at the time, who influenced her to begin her career at the firm.

“I followed my big brother to Deloitte, but what I found when I got to here was that I really loved the culture, and I loved the challenge,” she says.

Starting her career at Deloitte’s Dayton office, Trina admits manufacturing was almost a default when it came to the industry she landed in. “Just by the virtue of being in the Dayton office, I started out working with a lot of manufacturing clients and ended up really enjoying that because of the people I got to work with, both on the Deloitte side, as well as on the client-side,” she says. “The people that I’ve worked with are very down to earth, very focused on how they get the job done, how they can drive continuous improvement, and how they're delivering value to their organizations.”

At Deloitte, as well as in her personal life, she lives by her mantra to be “a ray of light”. To Huelsman, this means bringing positivity to all situations. Influenced by her grandmother, whom she says “made you feel as if you were the most important person in the room”, she strives to live her life and serve her clients with this mentality.

“Sometimes, when you look at the media or social media, there's so much negativity in the world,” she says. “I think it's important to always look for the good and always look for how do we make things better, how do we take care of our people, and how do we find ways to come up with solutions to the problems that we might be facing.”

Growing with the support of mentors

Throughout her twenty-five years at Deloitte, mentors and sponsors helped Trina navigate the organization and grow in her respective roles.

“Sometimes my mentors believed in me more than I believed in myself. They pushed me to take on stretch roles, which ended up being very impactful in my overall career,” she says.

Huelsman referenced a time when she made a career move to follow one of her mentors that required relocating. While noting her concerns to uproot her family, including a husband, two kids, and a dog at the time, she decided to take the opportunity to serve a client five times the size of her largest client. The move allowed her to serve a large manufacturing client in a role that transformed her career over the next 12 years – offering her opportunities to participate in the company’s $750m supply chain and finance transformation programs, multi-billion dollar business transformation and acquisitions, and significant global investments. She enjoyed the challenge of working closely with the company’s senior leaders to advise them on the risks related to these initiatives as the company grew and changed over time.

“All the things that were going on broadly in the manufacturing industry really were happening at my clients and every year there was something big and new and fun that we were working through,” she says. “So that was a real highlight for me.”

Enjoying the challenge

Trina loves a challenge, which is why the constant change and transformation of the manufacturing industry keeps her energized and passionate about her job.

“There’s really never a dull moment,” she says.

Trina recognizes the manufacturing industry is currently in a period of rapid modernization, transforming more quickly than ever. Through her prior roles in industry sector leadership at Deloitte, she researched and engaged frequently with clients around these transformational trends. She mentions some of the challenges her manufacturing clients are facing currently include supply chain disruptions, technology advancements, cyber risks, talent gaps, and mergers and acquisitions. All these challenges drive Huelsman to continuously strive to help her clients.

We work with amazing people at Deloitte and the best clients in business. We get to work with them on some of the biggest changes that they're making in their organizations.

   - Trina Huelsman

When asked to provide advice to other women in the manufacturing industry, she emphasizes the importance of coming to a problem with a point of view and solution-based mindset.

“It’s important to be willing to say what needs to be said,” she says. “I believe that relates a lot to the manufacturing industry if you can come to the table with an informed, fact-based standpoint.”

There were many times, especially early in her career, when Trina was the only woman in the room. While she admits there is still some progress to be made around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the manufacturing industry, she also realizes there has been a lot of improvement.

“There's a better awareness of how we work together and what it means as a leader,” she says. “Having an inclusive leadership style is an integral part of being a highly effective leader.”

Trina believes it is important to encourage women in the manufacturing industry to speak up and grow in their careers. She would tell her younger self “don’t waste your energy on fear and just go for it,” and she is hopeful that the industry will continue growing with a similar mindset.

“I think having women in manufacturing is very important for having diverse perspectives,” she says. “Also, it is making sure that companies can better connect with their client base or their stakeholders, many of which may be women.”

Having recently been selected to join Deloitte’s US Board of Directors, Trina will continue to lead in the firm and with our clients. “It is an honor to have the opportunity to help influence our firm’s strategic direction and long-term health, make the right investments to support future client service needs, and support outstanding leadership development for all our people.”

Trina Huelsman
Deloitte & Touche LLP

Trina Huelsman: The lightning round

Describing herself in three words: Insightful, collaborative, and solution-oriented

Favorite food or drink: Pizza

Favorite place to travel: Anywhere with a beach to relax

One thing on her bucket list: Traveling to Hawaii

Women in Manufacturing

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