School of Business Administration

Empowering Others to Build their Best Life

icon of a calendarDecember 19, 2019

icon of a pencilBy Mary Gunderson-Switzer

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Empowering Others to Build their Best Life
Serena Scott posing for a picture with her parents, Samino Scott and Trina Govan-Scott
Doing the right thing is an example Serena Scott learned from her parents, Samino Scott II, MKT ’97, MBA ’01, and Trina Govan-Scott, FIN ’96. Photo by Garrett MacLean.

At seven years old, Serena Scott took it upon herself to organize a water bottle campaign during Flint’s water crisis. She made posters, collected bottles from her Farmington Hills classmates and personally delivered 30 cases of donated water to her peers at a Flint elementary school. Doing the right thing is an example Serena learned from her parents, Samino Scott II, MKT ’97, MBA ’01, and Trina Govan-Scott, FIN ’96. “I’m so proud of Serena’s compassionate heart. She moves us to do our best each and every day,” Trina humbly says. The Scotts are also dedicated to empowering others to build their best life by equipping Detroit-area youth with tools to find their niches and by being proactive problem-solvers to address economic disparity. Professionally, Trina carries out that mission as Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for Quicken Loans; for Samino, it’s as a work-based learning director for The United Way (UW) for Southeastern Michigan’s College and Career Pathways program.

Lead Up, Lift Up

At Quicken, Trina develops the strategy and infrastructure that fosters a culture of inclusion and diversity. Her team at Quicken focuses on recruiting diverse talent, engaging and developing team members through programs such as mentorship for aspiring and existing leaders, educating on the importance of diversity within the workplace, strengthening communities and supporting diverse suppliers.

“The company philosophy is one of commitment to both the organization and stimulating economic development within the urban core, and that’s a vision I fully embrace,” Trina says. Meshing Trina’s exemplary people skills with business smarts has proven to be a powerful combination to lift up others. One of her most worthwhile accomplishments was managing a nationwide Ernst & Young mentoring program that impacted more than 1,000 youth in 32 U.S. cities.

“Much of my career success is a result of my background in finance, in giving me the ability to assess, analyze and evaluate variables and develop creative solutions to complex problems,” Trina says.

“I consider it my obligation and a privilege to offer my expertise, skills and passion to organizations dedicated to worthy causes.” Trina Govan-Scott

Samino discovered his calling at UW’s College and Career Pathways program. Currently a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Studies, Samino puts his skillset to use by integrating academics with career-based learning and real-world experiences for area youth. The program includes career days, job shadowing, workplace tours, mentoring and resume reviews/mock interviews, culminating in paid internships.

“It’s gratifying to guide students through high school, on to college, and then to exciting careers in teaching, business and entrepreneurship,” Samino says. “Working as an OU admissions counselor after graduation, I met students who weren’t sure what career path to take. It ignited a passion in me that’s evolved to where I am today.”

He’s particularly proud of UW’s new partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), which helped realign the region’s largest urban school district’s dual enrollment program. By 2020, students in all 22 high schools in the DPSCD will be able to earn transferable college credits by dually enrolling in community college classes that lead to industry certifications, two-year and four-year degrees.

Listen Up, Fill Up

“We’re all shaped by our individual experiences, which impacts our perspectives,” Trina reflects. “If we want to bring about positive change, we must be respectful and really listen to where others are coming from.” That philosophy is deeply rooted in Trina’s upbringing. “During my childhood, my parents owned a hotel,” Trina explains.

“They were both so gracious. The hotel was a place for people to come and go who didn’t have the best situations. My siblings and I worked the front desk. I remember asking one day, ‘Why is that lady coming in here again?’ My father pulled me aside and said, ‘You greet everyone as if you’ve never seen them before, with a smile on your face, making them feel welcome.’ That’s the message I carry with me every day.”

Another vital message Trina lives daily is the value of teamwork, which was exemplified during her days playing for OU’s women’s basketball team. “Whether you’re readying the water bottles before the game, playing in the game or sitting on the bench supporting, everyone has a role that makes the whole thing work,” Trina says. “So as a leader, I encourage everyone’s voice and expertise, which helps me make the wisest decisions I can. It’s always a team effort.”

Trina is a valued member of many teams, often saying “yes” to give of herself to worthy causes. She serves as an advisory member of the Midnight Golf Program, a mentorship program for underserved Detroit-area youth, and was a board member of the Detroit Police Athletic League. She recently joined the Oakland University Alumni Advisory Board. “I’m involved because I really want young people in our community to have the same opportunities I’ve had,” she says.

The Scotts are sustained in their community efforts with their own village of support. “You know when the waiter comes to your table and refills your water throughout the meal?” Trina asks, “Well, we have such loving family and friends around our table daily, who fill up our glasses when we feel depleted and that’s a blessing.” Those are the blessings the Scotts are determined to pour back into their community.

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