Planning for Answers

by Jen Mueller | Jun 12, 2018
Dave Trujillo headshot

Member Insights from Dave Trujillo

When you’re a leader you’re expected to have the answers. Whatever the question, regardless of the challenge, people look to leaders for answers.

WSCPA member Dave Trujillo has been providing answers as the Executive Director of the Washington State Gambling Commission since 2013, after first joining the agency in 1992. His leadership style draws from his experiences as a police academy graduate and time spent in the WA National Guard community.

When I read the West Point Way of Leadership it reinforced the importance of seeking responsibility from others and taking responsibility for your own actions,” Trujillo said of one of the biggest leadership lessons he’s applied in his own approach.

Trujillo isn’t afraid to borrow leadership lessons from other industries, citing the book Strategic Planning for Faith-Based Schools by Jack Peterson as a resource he’s used in developing a strategic planning process for the Gambling Commission. Plans don’t just come together without specific intent and time set aside to develop them.

“If you want to be productive, plan for time to plan,” advises Trujillo.

He also recommends giving yourself some leeway in practicing skills that don’t come easily for you. Whether it’s developing a new process, or stepping out of your comfort zone at a networking event, stick with it. If something doesn’t come naturally, practice until it’s habit.

Since becoming a licensed CPA in 1998, Trujillo has developed extensive knowledge of the profession, but still welcomes input from others because leaders have a responsibility to be intentional about their growth.

“Surround yourself with people who are smarter that you. That’s the best piece of leadership advice I’d offer,” Trujillo says.

Not only is it good advice, it’s one of the ways he’s able to keep providing the guidance, insight, and answers his colleagues have relied on for more than 25 years.

Thank you, Dave, for sharing your approach to leadership and sharing your talents with the WSCPA.

Jen Mueller headshotJen Mueller is a veteran sports broadcaster and the founder of Talk Sporty to Me. She is an expert in business communication and can be contacted at

Find more leadership lessons through the WSCPA. Read additional Member Insights in the News and Resources section or attend an upcoming CPE program on leadership.

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