Trey Mullen

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Associate Consultant, McDermott & Bull Executive Search

The fit Practice shares their purpose and passion behind “fit.” Learn more about The fit Practice.

As a member of The fit Practice, Trey believes in enriching and inspiring the lives of everyone he serves. He manages and assists with the execution of executive-level searches in addition to cultivating new relationships in the community. He is a college graduate and former student athlete of California State University of Monterey Bay. He has a solid background in recruiting with a specialization in Information Technology and executive-level search across all business verticals. Trey is also a type 1 diabetic of 27 years and has a deep passion for philanthropy and all things related to sports, health, and nutrition. He is an active member of the Orange County Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and T1D Outreach Program. Additionally, he serves as a committee member for DifferenceMakers OC, where he partners with local non-profits to raise funds and awareness for each respective cause.

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I was born in Inglewood, CA and lived in 5 different cities before the age of 18. I spent the first part of my life in Pittsburgh, PA and became an avid Steelers fan, and then relocated to Dallas, TX where I spent the majority of my childhood. Having lived there for 11 years, I was brought up in a household using sir and ma’am. My parents instilled a strong sense of moral values and work ethic in me at a very young age. Before taking on my first job at the age of 14, I was cutting the neighbor’s grass and pulling weeds to make a profit using any resources I had. Whether cutting grass, selling candy at school, or even starting my own car wash business, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial soul. My grandfather, who was the first African American real estate broker in the state of California, taught my father, who taught me to find a way to work for yourself.

At just 18 months old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and have been monitoring my own injections since the age of 8. Taking responsibility over my life and health at a young age, I have always had a deep passion for all things related to sports, health, and nutrition. Often frustrated by the complexities of living life with what some would consider a crutch, I’ve used athletics as a healthy way to take out the frustrations of life with Type 1 Diabetes. Channeling my energy towards competition, I grew to love the game of basketball, which I have now played for more than 20 years. The beauty of the game I love is that performance on the court stems from hard work, dedication, and the work you do in preparation leading up to game day.

I once had a coach tell me that you can’t be a good basketball player without being a track star. Running, weight lifting, and dietary habits all contribute to you being the best that you can be on the court. As many have come to realize, basketball is much more than a game; it’s a lifestyle – one that has ingrained grit, collaboration, and perseverance into my DNA.

Living in 5 different cities as a child led to me attending 2 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 3 different high schools. Can you imagine trying to belong to a team with all that moving around? Although I had tremendous talent, I never really belonged to a team. I’d say the move my senior year was probably the toughest, but it is also a story that has shaped my life in the years to come.

I had just worked my way into a starting role at Hebron High School in Plano, TX when my parents made the decision to move our family to Los Angeles, CA. Making the move, I had my eyes set on attending Beverly Hills High School, where I needed to participate in a lottery to be enrolled in the school (since I didn’t live in their school district). Unfortunately, when it came time to start the school year, I realized that the basketball coach had forgotten to turn my paperwork in before he left to a trip overseas in Japan. Unable to attend the school of my choice where I had been promised a starting spot on their team, I had to attend Fairfax High School, who had won the state championship in basketball the year before.

The coach was very “honest” with me in letting me know that he already had his starting line up from the year before, but that I would be his 6th man off the bench and would get a lot of playing time. He also promised that he would take me to Hawaii for a tournament the team played in every year, in addition to enticing me with tons of basketball gear to attend his school. Feeling comfortable with that role, along with 6 potential college scholarships from coaches who had expressed interest in me from summer leagues and practice, I decided to join the Fairfax team.

The off-season at the powerhouse basketball school was an absolute hell! Looking back on it in hindsight, I probably worked out harder in high school than most college teams. In fact, one of the team’s elite Alumni who attended Duke University would come back and put us through his workouts. Unfortunately, after putting in the blood, sweat, and tears during the off-season, the coach of the team cut me the day before the team left for Hawaii. He told me he didn’t like my work ethic and that I needed to show him more of an effort if I wanted to play on his team. He also told me to work out with JV as a senior, which didn’t make much sense because I couldn’t play on their team. I remember that day like it was yesterday, and it ignited a fire within me.

While most people probably would’ve quit, I made a firm decision to not be broken and to fight for what I knew I deserved. After being demoted, a typical day started with me running two miles in the morning before class, lifting weights during lunch time, practicing with JV then Varsity, and staying after school to put up an additional 250 shots every day. I was relentless with this effort and literally did this EVERY DAY until I was back on the team. When it was all said and done, I had lost the 6 college scholarship offers I had entering the season, and I only got a minute or two of playing time at the end of each game, but I had worked my way back on the team.

I also earned a college scholarship at a Showcase Tournament my first year after graduating high school and was able to play basketball for Cal State University of Monterey Bay (CSUMB). I learned several things through my experience at Fairfax, but the one I live by is to never play the role of the victim. Being victimized doesn’t get you anywhere but standing up in the face of adversity yields results and will ultimately get you where you’re supposed to be even though your journey may be different from others.

After playing college basketball at CSUMB, helping charter the first chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi at the University, and graduating with honorable distinction, I have used similar stories as this to propel me forward to achieving my destiny.

I have also finally found a career that is equally challenging at times, but that has given me a sense of purpose, social responsibility, and value that aligns with the vision I see for myself. As I move closer towards where I want to be in life, I hold the lesson that I learned at Fairfax close and dear to my heart. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” As the great Ghandi once said, “We can’t control what happens to us in life; we can only control how we respond.”