Ryan Trainor started his first business in his early 20s – a loss prevention agency for supermarkets. Two years later, he had 300 contractors and sold the evolved business to Wilson Parking. His next foray was into workforce education, with a business named Franklyn Scholar. This was bought by the Washington Post.
And two years ago he started Republica Education with David Trewern, which has grown to be five colleges (soon six) aimed at the creative economy: Tractor Design School, Mercer Interior Design School, BSchool for entrepreneurship, CG Spectrum for digital art and animation, Beauty EDU and soon to be launched D Faculty which focused on social media and digital ecommerce.
His love of education comes from a desire to make meaningful change. He says of modern education that “it’s a system that was structured and built for 100 years ago [and] hasn’t really changed”, and he’s “trying to get people that have been there and done that within the industry to give the real stories and learnings to that next generation of people coming through, rather than trying to base it on theory and case studies that might be outdated”.
Choice is personal and what you may or may not have on your desk can say a lot about you and your style of working. So, what can one man’s desk teach us about his success?
1. His computer
"I’ve got the lightest [computer I can get] because I’m travelling so much I need something that’s really agile. Everything on my phone and my computer is absolutely synced.“I’ve also got shared lists and stuff on Wunderlist so I can share with my key team members so that we’ve got a running list of things we need to talk about. So I’m in touch with them constantly and understanding what the important issues are."
2. Virgin King, By Tim Jackson
“A previous business partner said that he was unpacking an old box and came across a book my wife had given to me… in 1995 and she wrote a little handwritten note saying how much she thought of me as a potential business person.“Rach and I have been together for nearly 22 years, and… it’s a rocky road when you’re in business and entrepreneurial. People see the outcomes, but all of the things [I’ve done] she’s been such a big contributor to it.“It just shows how important it is to have loving and supporting people around you.”
3. An inner blue
“I’m a passionate Carlton supporter and have been involved with the club for a long time now. So I’m an active supporter and sponsor of the club, and I’m also part of a club called the Inner Blue, which is an amazing and eclectic group of business people that just love the footy club.“I’m just looking forward to the days when Carlton is back on top where it should belong.”
4. His kids
“My daughters are four, six and eight, and just feel incredibly lucky to be really honest. Everybody’s going to be clichéd about this stuff but we’re a really united crew."My youngest daughter, two years ago was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor, cancer, and she’s now in remission.“When something like that happens you look at your diary and nothing in it matters. When I look at it [all] now, there’s this extra drive to make sure I keep everything in absolute perspective.“When I look at that photo it just keeps me in check to know why I actually do what I do.”
5. Green juice
“I’ve been doing that for nearly two years now and people think it’s a jar of compost. I (touch wood) rarely get sick, so every day I have a green juice.“It’s pretty hardcore, but I dunno, it’s something that has become a habit for me now. So I just bring it in and I have to go to the bathroom after because there’s green stuff stuck in your teeth and it’s pretty awkard in a meeting.”
6. His phone
“I almost used to get anxiety when I didn’t have the phone around me but now I’m getting a bit less of that. I mean the phone is really, really important for when I’m travelling.“As much as I use technology, I try and be balanced that I don’t let the technology overrule the way that I hopefully interact with my team.“I just know what I’m going to get when I’m with Telstra. It gives me safety to know that when I need to be connected, I’m connected.”
Keep up to date with the latest from Smarter.
Receive actionable advice and insights straight into your inbox, fortnightly. Sign up here.Subscribe now