As Cutco/Vector’s Training & Leadership Development Manager, Trent Booth is the tip of the spear in bringing a culture of personal growth to Vector’s leadership team. He shares some critical concepts for personal and professional success, including self-awareness, emotional intelligence, altruistic leadership, and a whole lot more. Trent experienced success as a sales rep and manager with Vector Canada before relocating to the Philadelphia area for a corporate role with Vector in 2004. Today, Trent Booth is one of the most important current leaders in the Cutco/Vector Marketing organization.


Q: Take us back to 1993 and tell us how you got started with the company.

  • I was going to go to the University of Calgary for business school.
  • For 3 months, I was bartending here and there, and saw an ad in the paper for $12. I was like so long as it doesn’t kill people, it’s me.
  • I got hired on my birthday and started working with Joe Cardillo. He ran my training seminar.

Q: Tell us of your early experiences and the lessons you learned that stand out.

  • I was pretty excited about the position and my family was really supportive. My mom was like whatever you want to do, you’ll be great at it.
  • I didn’t have a huge start. I sold like $1100 and kind of struggled that first summer.
  • I did go to a national sales conference in Toronto, and I wrote 3 things on the back of the program.
  • #1 I want to win the scholarship in the company.
  • #2 I want to be Joe Cardillo’s right hand man.
  • #3 I want to run a branch.
  • Eventually, within a few years, all these things had happened.

Q: So, you became a branch manager and a district manager?

  • I was a pilot manager.
  • I’d saved about $4,000 which was remarkable. I was only 20 years old and an opportunity in Montreal became open. That’s when I knew I wanted, to be a District Manager.
  • I had a choice between Montreal and Toronto, and I decided I was more of a Montreal type of guy. In 3 months, I saved an additional $6,000 while going to school full-time.

Q: So, tell us about your run out there in Montreal as a District Manager

  • I got off to a rocky start.
  • There were certain things I knew very well and things I didn’t know very well.
  • It was also complicated because I had recently married and within 4 weeks in Montreal, my wife wanted out. My dad came and helped me get straight and set a budget
  • The 3rd week of May which is like the “gold season” came and it was do or die. We launched a group of 11 who went on to sell $11,000 and we finished #5 internationally.

Q: Joe Grushkin was running Canada. He’s a legendary figure in Vector. What was it like working with him?

  • Around Joe, you’re going to have a good time. You’re going to celebrate life and have an amazing upbeat time.
  • I still call him my friend today.
  • He made a massive difference.

Q: How did this morph into you working in a national role at Vector back in the US?

  • I have some family in the Philadelphia area. In 1998, my cousin recruited me away.
  • He said, Trent you are working too hard. You should come do executive search with me. I was like, sounds great. I hated that job. The average executive search consultant lasts for 6 months.
  • I did it for 20 weeks. I was doing well, on track to make 6 figures, but I was not enjoying it.
  • I got this email from Dave Durand asking if I’d come back to Canada and run an office. I was so grateful to be able to come back. I had a different perspective of the Vector opportunity because I’d been out.
  • I reopened in September. I started from scratch and in 2001, everything hit. We launched 636 people, and at the time that was one of the #20 totals ever. It was just massive.
  • I made a name for myself. Got promoted to division coordinator and really got things going.
  • Then things shifted. We made decisions as a company to change parts of the approach. In Canada, we also lost the direct mailer program, which accounted for a significant portion of recruitment and sales.
  • I was just not doing well. Angie (Macdougall) was thriving (in Western Canada), but I was failing.
  • In the summer of 2003, I was fortunate to go to Vector University. I played poker for the first time hanging out with you (Dan Casetta).
  • Working with Vector University meant I got coaching time with Marty Domitrovich. I got 8 sessions with him. Just talking about me and raising awareness. Thinking through things, struggles, successes, strengths etc. I really got a lot of clarity from that program.
  • I felt I was not willing to put in the effort to rebuild my division again, and I wondered if Vector had filled a national recruiting spot which they advertised? I knew it was going to be a long shot, but I ended up being chosen for this new role.
  • In 2004, I moved the family to New Jersey right outside of Philadelphia and looked Albert Dileonardo in the eye and said, “Albert, I want to be the best decision you make this year.”
  • At that time, we had pockets of success going in recruiting, but nobody was talking of it. We didn’t then have online programs like now. It was really different than being in the field. 16 years later, I’ve had an amazing run. This is a great place to raise a family.
  • I really love the impact in influencing and making a difference in other people’s lives. That’s what I love the most about the position.
  • As a student in high school, I was good at a lot of things and I thought maybe I’ll be a lawyer, a teacher or a pastor. In reality I got to do all those things as leader in Vector.
  • Now I help other people do well. The people I coached early started having really good success. To the point in 2012, the number of people I was coaching were doing so well and the company asked if I would become a leadership development manager.
  • We had over 110 people go through programs in the first year. The company invested ¼ of a million dollars into its people. I’ve always loved being at Vector because we make human resources our most important resources.
  • I’m not aware of many companies that have a leadership development program designed solely to impact and help people grow individually.

Q: You’ve had a chance to do this in different sizes of events. You have one-on-one coaching, leadership development for small groups. You’ve been able to introduce this to much larger groups too. You’ve really had a powerful impact company-wide. I want to get into what are the key, most important leadership philosophies you have been sharing with other people since you’ve being working on this.

  • One of them is altruism. It’s the idea of been radically sold out to the success of others.
  • When I shifted into service support role, it’s really much of a service-oriented position. We’re actually not in it for the glory.
  • To be radically sold out to other people’s success and not need that spotlight is really all about serving. It’s one of the things I love about this role.
  • One key thing we teach is emotional intelligence. I believe that’s one of the things we do best at Vector in terms of training, helping raise people’s awareness. When they are aware what’s going on in their emotions and the emotional state of others, they can make good choices.
  • It’s not enough to know about my emotional state and how I can self-regulate, and not enough to see how other people are doing, but to see how I can make better choices in my relationships and friendships with others. That impacts your whole life.
  • In most cases, these Vector people become better sons and daughters. They become community leaders. Helping them find their core values, they can more closely align their actions with what they believe to be true and important.
  • Once we’re aware, we’ve got a shot at aligning our actions with our core values. When we do that, success starts to get hit at a different trajectory altogether.

Q: All this stuff comes down to developing that ability to have awareness in the moment. How does one do that? How does one learn in the heat of the moment?

  • One of the exercises we do is where people make micro-journals. 3 times a day, we set an alarm and explore the simple question: What’s my current state?
  • For example, if you’re frustrated, the next question is why?
  • The key is when the alarm goes off, people start to check themselves and their emotional state. This gives a chance to self-regulate into another better emotional state.
  • This is long term work. it takes a lot of practice.

Q: As you look ahead in your life, how do you aspire to continue to change people’s lives through the things you do?

  • I believe the coaching leaders model is probably what most companies need.
  • Down the road, there isn’t a better way to build champions than one-on-one. One-on-one interactions are so essential.
  • Down the road, I’m hoping we as a company have an entire team of coaches, like an entire bank of coaches to do one-on-one work, helping raise awareness for individual managers.
  • Envisioning young leaders that become aware and teach others to do the same. I’m excited to continue doing that.
  • What really excites me is at Vector we’re already doing this, though at a small-scale.


  • I love hearing the impact of Joe Cardillo on Trent’s career, and just getting around somebody who could be the signature role model for you.
  • I’d encourage you to make sure you’re actively learning at all times to keep yourself in positions where can have those days of awakening that will come your way.
  • Also, we have a tremendous power to choose how we feel and what we’re going to do in the moment. The more you can learn to exercise that power, the more you’re putting yourself on a path towards success, having the kind of life you want.
  • Finally, before any interactions, taking control of your state is a very valuable lesson. It helps you learn a lot about yourself. It helps you learn to take control.


Show Notes for this episode provided by Brian Njenga.

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