LISTEN: Squires' amazing journey, aspirations and advice from Stynes

THE first CEO of an AFL state, mentee of Jim Stynes, tsunami survivor. Trisha Squires has seen and done plenty.

Now working as Head of AFL Queensland, Squires continues to be driven by Stynes' teachings and remains full of aspiration.

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"One of the biggest things Jim said to me is that he couldn't take anything with him," Squires said on the League Leaders podcast.

"He was like, 'You remember that, none of this around us, the material things, you're not taking with you'. He said, 'You don't want to have regrets chasing things and not spending time with your family' and I've taken those two things into my own life."

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Nicole Livingstone is joined by Trisha Squires, Head of AFL Queensland, to discuss what role Jim Stynes played in her career, surviving tragedy and being the first woman CEO of AFL Tasmania

Squires met Stynes as a year nine student when he came to speak to her year level, before his youth organisation Reach even existed. So impressive was Squires that he asked for her parents' home phone number to get permission to get her involved in Reach's beginnings.

By age 20 she had set her sights on becoming the organisation's CEO – something Squires achieved just 12 years later.

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Those intervening years weren't straightforward, however, as Squires is a survivor of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that hit while she was holidaying on Phi Phi Islands.

Admitting that she didn't quite understand what was happening at first, taking a morning walk on the beach, but once it hit she was "actually pretty calm".

"It was all so quick, and it was loud and it just happened it feels like within moments but it was probably a bit longer than that," Squires said.

Trisha Squires, Hannah Dunn and Cameron Joyce pictured during the 2022 AFLW season launch captain's media opportunity on January 4, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

She sustained serious injuries and spent 12 days in a Bangkok hospital before returning to Australia, still unable to walk or see properly from one eye.

"I didn't think that I would physically look the same, feel the same," Squires said.

"The physical body actually heals much more than the emotional I think, it's actually quicker than you'd think."

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But the mental scarring took much longer to overcome. Wracked with survivor's guilt, she found it hard to define herself outside of that experience.

"I felt guilty that I survived and 300,000 people died, and for a long time I carried this burden that I had to do the most extraordinary things with my life to prove something. Whether it was to myself (or) to other people, I felt that and carried that for a long time," she said.

But do extraordinary things she did, opening a school in Thailand to give back to the community, becoming the CEO of AFL Tasmania and playing an instrumental role in North Melbourne's addition to the AFLW in partnership with the Apple Isle and now continuing to grow the game in Queensland.

Trisha Squires speaks to the media at the 2022 AFLW season launch captain's media opportunity. Picture: Getty Images

A key moment for Squires in her role up north was the days following Brisbane's maiden AFLW flag in 2021.

"The Brisbane Lions women winning the premiership, when they got the keys to the city from Brisbane City Council. There were people saying they won't turn up to the mall, people won't turn up in the mall and I'm like, 'People will turn up in that mall'," she said.

"And that was one of the best moments, when the Lions women brought the cup to the mall and there were people lining up everywhere to get autographs of the women's players, and for me that's when things changed."

Her aspirations don't stop there, with the goal of one day becoming a club CEO, or even taking the mantle at the AFL itself, Squires is happy to put that out into the world.

Throughout the podcast episode Squires also outlines her journey through Tasmania and up to Queensland, balancing work and family, and the importance of the recently awarded 19th club licence.