Published in the August 8 – 21, 2018 issue of Gilroy Life
By Diana Wood
Trina Hineser’s name was dropped as a “must connection” on my quest to meet the South Valley’s most dynamic women leaders. During our one-hour chat at GVA Café, I found her filled with heart, class, and intelligence that enables her to live out her life story as a mental leadership ninja.
Hineser makes her home in San Martin where she lives with her daughter and her husband, Mark. She is a true renaissance woman. For the past 18 years, she has helped her husband with his medical device company, raising their daughter, as well as managing the endless and demanding work on their property. For some, this would be as much as they could handle. But her passion for her community drives Hineser to find time to take on a role that she loves: a true activist for the betterment and sustainability of San Martin.
While in college earning a degree in political science, the young Hineser felt a bit depressed when she realized there were all kinds of back-door deals going on in the political realm. She felt at the time she was not capable of handling the darker side of how politics worked, and so she changed her major to horticulture.
Fast forward 16 years. As Hineser became more involved in the community, she witnessed things started to change and San Martin started to be affected. She lives by the standard: “You either speak up and do something or be quiet. If you are not able to do something don’t complain about it.” That philosophy caused Hineser to become involved with the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance. Who would have known that years later her passion for political action would be reignited?
Hineser has submerged herself into San Martin and is devoted to protecting the community. She has been functioning as the president of the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance for the past four years. Her main focus is bridging the gap between San Martin’s rural residential town and Santa Clara County. She believes there have been years of misunderstanding from both sides. Hineser is on a mission to find a happy medium between San Martin and the county as well as to identify other like-minded individuals to step up and lead with her.
As a result of Hineser’s dedication to researching issues, educating the community, and modeling advocacy, her leadership influence has helped foster an improved relationship between the community of San Martin and county government. The county has a board called the San Martin Planning Advisory Committee. It is responsible for approving or not approving projects in the rural community of more than 7,000 people. From Hineser’s perspective, the format was to pacify the community. When Hineser looked deeper at the committee she realized San Martin could strengthen the group and make it better by starting with the need to create bylaws for the San Martin Advisory Committee. Her involvement resulted in a fully-staffed committee where the meetings are effective and information focused on value and substance is shared and passed along to both the county supervisors and planning commissioners.
Hineser has been strategic in her mission to “get a seat at the table” to carry out the protection and preservation of rural San Martin. As a result of Trina’s leadership, today the county and other influencing organizations look at San martin differently.
Hineser discovered there are so many more aspects about leadership. As she learns more about the true definition of leadership, she feels excited about empowering and uplifting other San Martin residents to rise up around her.
After a challenge in making the world a better place, if you are the only one standing at the top of a metaphorical mountain, you are not a true leader at all. You are merely a lone participant. However, if at the end of your climb you find yourself surrounded by others at the top of the mountain, you are a dynamic influential leader — just like San Martin’s Trina Hineser.
Diana Wood is a board member of the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce and owner of Wood Motivation.
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