The Hobart

From Intern To CEO- How AFL Has Shaped Trisha Squire’s Life

by Stephanie Williams
From Intern To CEO- How AFL Has Shaped Trisha Squire’s Life

Trisha Squires is in the hot seat as the first female CEO of AFL Tasmania. Facing adversity earlier in her life, Trisha has enjoyed a high profile career in the community and sporting sectors. She now lives in Hobart with her husband and two gorgeous girls.

What was the catalyst for moving to Hobart?

My husband Jake grew up here and we met in Melbourne. We had a pretty fast paced life there. With our first child, I went back to work full time when she was 10 weeks old in a CEO role, so it was pretty difficult. I fell pregnant with our second child Holly and we thought it would be the right time to move to Tassie. We’ve been here for three years and it feels like home now.

You lost your husband Troy in the Boxing Day tsunami and joined forces with the Reach Foundation to create the Broadbridge Fund. Are you still active in the foundation?

Yes. I started the Broadbridge Education Centre, that’s still there today in Thailand. It was for orphans of the tsunami but now they’ve all graduated, so it’s a primary school. That gave me a bit of a purpose after everything that happened and then I was lucky enough to win Australian of the Year.

It’s a big award. How did winning it affect you at the time?

It’s interesting, the year before I got nominated—before the tsunami—I had been nominated for the youth work I was doing at the time and didn’t win. I remember the letter was on the fridge because it was a really big deal that I’d been nominated. The next year I built the education centre and then tragedy had happened. Then I won at the national level. It was bittersweet because I remember feeling really proud that I’d been nominated the year before but it took such a big event then for me to win. That was hard. But I certainly feel grateful for winning because it has really helped me in my career and I got to experience things I never would have before.

It wasn’t a long time after the tragedy?

No. That made it more difficult. I think if something like that happened now, I’d probably feel more positive and proud. But at the time it was hard to feel that way. Because when the tsunami happened Troy played AFL, I became the public face of it and there were a lot of other Australians impacted by it. I always felt guilty that a lot of the attention was coming onto me because I wanted to make sure they felt supported as well.

How old were you?

23. Very young. I’d never met a widow before. How does a widow act? There’s no code of conduct. And when you’re living in the public eye, it’s hard because you’re not too sure how you’re supposed to act. There was a long, long time until I met Jake, I just thought I’d never get married again or have kids. I was really career focused. When you’ve experienced what I have you’re a bit scared to go there again. But then I met Jake and it didn’t feel scary at all. Right time, right person.

I, like all Tasmanians, believe we deserve strong national representation and I will always advocate strongly for it.

Your career has followed a few different paths. Has that been strategic?

I didn’t necessarily think when I moved to Tasmania that I was going to end up as the CEO of AFL Tasmania but I’m really grateful for the opportunity. It’s been really challenging, but at the same time it’s made our lives in Tasmania because we met a lot of people through it. It’s really made Tassie feel more like home for us.

And you’re the first female CEO?

Yes. The first female state CEO the AFL have employed. That was a really great – certainly in Tassie because we’re a heartland footy state. To have a woman running football in Tassie was a big step. That motivated me, being a mother of two daughters. I hope that when they go into their career this will be normal.

Who do you follow?

I’m a mad Melbourne supporter and was lucky enough to go to Melbourne to see them beat Hawthorn last year!

And your thoughts on a Tassie team?

Tassie’s passion for football is undeniable. We’re a heartland football state and have made a profound contribution to the game over generations. As a result, the conversation of an AFL team will always be a burning issue. I, like all Tasmanians, believe we deserve strong national representation and I will always advocate strongly for it. The focus of the AFL Tasmania team is on uniting and growing Tasmanian football – giving our talent the best opportunity, ensuring sustainable leagues and clubs statewide and investing in the future through increased junior participation.

What do you love doing outside work?

I love exercising. We’ve got a double garage at home and we’ve set up our own gym. Every morning before the girls get up we exercise together. We believe it’s really important to be fit and healthy so we can be the best parents and partners, and do our careers in the best way that we can. It is a big part of my life.

Favorite café or restaurant?

My favorite at the moment is Bear With Me in South Hobart. I think the best restaurant is probably TiAma.

Your best local tip?

I really enjoy the cricket and the women’s games, the WBBL games are free. They’re in Blundstone Arena. We brought our girls along and it was a lot of fun. And then obviously there’s four AFL games here as well! ■

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February 2024

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