Dynamo Roxanna Trinka works for change, even in retirement
For Roxanna Trinka, retirement means she has more time to devote to the people and the causes she cares about: politics, school board issues, organizing women, and sponsoring a Ukrainian family.
The founder and former owner of Baseline Engineering and Land Survey in Boca Raton loves being retired because with modern technology, she can stay in touch with anyone, something that wasn’t possible 20 years ago.
“I love that I can remain in contact and still make a difference from anywhere in the world,” she says. “I’m also seeing the political climate, inflation, and all the other challenges facing us today. Millions of people are, but I sense an unprecedented level of frustration and helplessness these days. It’s hard sometimes for people to be optimistic or believe that they can make a difference, but I have been a possibility-thinker all my life. Quite honestly, if you’re willing to get out there and talk to, educate, and motivate people, understand their frustration, and come at them from a place of, ‘What do you want the world to look like?’ You could build momentum to facilitate change.”
When she discovered the Independent Women’s Network through her monthly women’s lunch group, Trinka knew she had the perfect vehicle. “I like to think of it more as independent-thinking women who can, for example, attend voter registration events or job fairs, find the core group of people who don’t know what to think or do, and ask them, ‘What do you want the world to look like?’ and then educate them as to why things are a certain way.”
Although it had always been comprised of incredible, dynamic women, Trinka’s lunch group had no real direction before starting the Independent Women’s Network’s local Palm Beach County chapter. “We had fabulous speakers, including PBC Jolt’s founder Jack Furnari. We would leave the luncheons energized with a rah-rah feeling, but we had no plan from there. I wondered, ‘How do I create this?’ That’s when philanthropist Yvonne Boyce and the Palm Beach County mayor’s wife, Pam Weinroth, shared information about the Independent Women’s Network. “It was wonderful because I didn’t have to recreate anything,” Trinka says. However, she’s quick to point out that it is not a partisan platform, where you must reveal if you are a Republican or a Democrat.
“How about we’re just human beings facilitating a change?” she asks. “Right now, we’re all aware of the issues concerned parents have with our school boards. Their party affiliation does not matter; these parents are upset by what the schools teach their children. They rightfully want accountability from our school board. Why pigeon-hole any of them? It’s divisive to force them into specific categories.”
Through the Independent Women’s Network, Trinka reports that she now has a roadmap of how to guide their membership of 155 women. “I tell them, ‘Look, you don’t have to go out into the grassroots, but if you’re like-minded, like me, and you want to make a difference and get out into the community, I’ll help you. Empowerment is a huge theme within our organization. Whether it’s speaking to students and parents, or our veterans, who have been placed in a category of victimization, we can empower everyone. And I have a great group of women interested in helping me do that.”
In addition to her work with the Independent Women’s Network, Trinka and her husband Bill are trying to sponsor a family from Ukraine, inspired by a Rotary International Group Study Exchange program Trinka led in 2008. “We spent six weeks touring the entire country. My translator was a single young woman I fell in love with as if I was her mom. We have stayed in touch all these years. Today, she is married with two small children, and her family is currently living in their fifth city as they run from bombs.”
Right now, the big push for her monthly luncheon meetings is getting the right people elected to Palm Beach County School Board. “When I say the ‘right’ people, I don’t necessarily mean Republicans,” Trinka clarifies. “The people we elect must be willing to listen to the parents and uphold parental control, not allow the school to control what our kids listen and hear. To mute a parent’s microphone at a school board meeting is repugnant. Since when does the school board decide how we’re going to raise our children? If I can’t move a mountain right now, I can move a couple of shovels full of sand and get other people involved in grabbing some shovels. Let’s start educating and empowering parents. The Independent Women’s Network is a group of women who want to empower not just other women but other parents. We happen to be women.”
On a personal and professional note, Trinka shares the sweetest part of Baseline Engineering and Land Surveying’s (now Baseline Land Survey) history. “I worked for a land surveying company in Coral Gables for four or five years before I opened Baseline,” she explains. “I was driving 60 miles one way to work. Chelsea, my daughter, would be entering high school back in 1992. I was making really good money. But one day, I looked at my husband and said, ‘Bill, I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I see my daughter, but I’m not able to spend any quality time with her because I’m working ridiculous hours.’ And he said to me, ‘Roxanna, you have been working ridiculous hours. And since I didn’t need your entire paycheck to meet our family bills, I made a savings account just for you. When you decided you were done and wanted to start your own business, you already had your startup capital.’ Isn’t that the most incredible story?” she asks. “I married the most extraordinary guy. Bill’s a firefighter, which makes him a good-deed-doer. God had the right guy insight for me, no question about it. But that’s really how Baseline Engineering and Land Surveying started.”
When she’s not making a difference in her local community and the world, Trinka enjoys spending time with her husband Bill and her family, including thirteen-year-old twin grandchildren.
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Additional stories you may want to read:
- Dynamo Roxanna Trinka works for change, even in retirement - May 19, 2022
- Fiscally responsible Karen Brill fights for children and parents - May 10, 2022
- Palm Beach County Commissioner Maria Marino is the ‘Anti-Politician’ - March 30, 2022