Alumni Profile Q&A: Tim Trinh

This year’s Berkeley Optometry Magazine features a Q&A with Berkeley Optometry alum and donor Tim Trinh (OD ’07).  Tim talks about the challenges of being a business owner, the inspiration behind his Meibox Meibographer, and the role his parents played in his success.  Here’s an exclusive sneak peek of his interview. Read the entire interview in the Fall edition of the magazine — arriving in your home soon!

Q: What do you enjoy most about owning your own practice?

A: As an employee, you need to worry about yourself and your patient. As a practice owner, your decisions in your practice not only impact yourself, but every single member of your team. There is an obligation to make the practice successful not only for personal gain, but to help create future opportunities for the team. So the growth of the practice really depends on creating a self sufficient, motivated team and creating a culture within the practice that is conducive to nurturing these characteristics. The dynamics of learning how to coach, inspire and guide our team members is what I enjoy. It is beautiful to see team members push past hurdles, overcome it and succeed! No amount of money or success can ever replace the joy you get when positively impacting another person’s life.

Q: Who were your early influencers in life? Who inspired you?

A: I’d have to say my mom and dad. We are that immigrant story of success. My family members were refugees of the Vietnam War, and were sponsored by a Mormon family in Salt Lake City. They came to this country with $20 in hand, never took welfare, worked two jobs and went to school at night. They came from nothing and ended up putting three kids through college. As a kid growing up, I remember the rare occasions we would go to McDonald’s. It was a treat and a privilege. Despite not having anything, they made it feel like we had everything. They set their expectations of us through their actions. It never crossed the minds of my brothers or myself to ever disappoint them. My mom was the glue of the family, and my dad was the humble inspiration. Despite the hardships, none of them would ever openly complain. They sacrificed everything to give their kids an opportunity at a better future, forgoing any immediate gratifications with the goal that we would have a better life.

My dad strongly believed in education; growing up, my parents never had the time to help us with our homework or even attend a school sporting event. He used to quote one of my favorite TV Chef’s, Yan Can Cook on PBS. “If Yan can cook so can you!” Well my dad turned it around to be a can-do slogan: “If someone else can do it so can you!” It was one of my dad’s dreams for me to open an office where we could work together. Needless to say, when he passed away during my 3rd year in optometry school I was crushed. I think one of the things that really drives me to work each day and excel is the hope to honor the sacrifices that he made to provide us a better life and to honor his memory.

Q What is your spirit animal and why?

A: Haha, never really thought of this. Well in high school, my teammates would call me a horse. According to google here, as a totem animal, a horse jumps through the hurdles of life. I’d say that is a fair assessment.